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Invest in the right skills for your people
The advent of Industry 4.0 is having an impact across industries, forcing businesses to redefine traditional job roles, explore new business streams, mitigate against possible business disruptions as well as develop more innovative business models.
In a world of seemingly infinite data and greater connectivity between and among machines, business leaders and professionals would need to understand new technologies such as advanced data analytics, cloud computing and machine learning in order to better prepare themselves — and their businesses — for what the future may bring.
Understanding how the forces unleashed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution are affecting the way people work and live, causing upheavals to some sectors and giving rise to new products and services will enable business leaders and professionals to make better business decisions and ride the wave of disruption.
Already, software automating simple, repetitive tasks has taken over many back-office functions in finance and other sectors and looks set to displace more jobs in the coming decade. The Future of Jobs Report 2018 from the World Economic Forum has suggested that automation is not to be feared: Robots and algorithms will vastly improve the productivity of existing jobs and lead to the creation of more jobs than those displaced.
Accountancy as growth sector
In the accountancy sector, new technologies and innovations in tax software and mobile accounting have led to lower costs and increased efficiency; these changes also mean that the traditional roles of finance and accounting professionals are shifting away from business reporting and compliance to higher-level business consulting capabilities.
Yet, a survey of 150 Singapore-based accounting and finance professionals conducted by EY and CPA Australia in 2017 identified a big gap in the market: Almost eight in 10 surveyed say they are not equipped with the necessary skills to meet the demands of their jobs in 10 years. The study Future Proof Your Finance Capability also found that inhibiting factors cited by respondents include a lack of time (73 per cent), lack of financial resources (45 per cent) and lack of employer support (37 per cent).
As part of Singapore’s ambition to become a leading global accountancy hub over the next five to 10 years, the government last year unveiled a roadmap aims to create 2,000 new jobs in the sector by 2020, while helping accounting firms adopt new technologies and expand abroad. The new S$2.4 million Digital Transformation for Accountancy programme will give small and medium-sized accounting practices funding support of up to S$30,000 for adopting technology solutions.
Apart from productivity gains from the use of new technologies, the roadmap also makes training a priority for the sector.
Future-proof your team
A team equipped with the right professional skills will allow businesses to harness the potential of new technologies and stay agile in the rapidly-changing business environment.
To stand out in the increasingly competitive and potentially disruptive business landscape, every organisation needs to stay on top of the game. Investing in the latest technology or software is but one way of facilitating a company’s growth. Your employees will be the ones who are spearheading and driving that growth. When employees thrive, so do the businesses they work for.
Create value for stakeholders by becoming better at what you do. One way to becoming better at what you do is to reskill and upskill your team. Equipping your team with the right skill sets and qualifications will not only help them stay relevant in the fast changing job market, but also enables them to help your organisation identify and seize business opportunities.
According to a report in Robert Half’s Salary Guide 2019, 86 per cent of Singaporean chief financial officers (CFOs) are planning to or have already implemented artificial intelligence (AI) within their organisations. Professionals of the future need to go beyond technical accounting skills and crunching numbers. They have to take on higher-level responsibilities which involve strategic thinking. They need to make sense of data and draw insights that will support important business decisions.
Many successful business leaders have said that investing in your best talent is one of the proven ways to retain them. The Michael Page Salary and Employment Forecast 2017 revealed that one of the major reasons employees leave a job is limited career progression. Upskilling your team provides a strong return on investment by addressing the skills gap, increasing productivity, reducing turnover and boosting team morale.
CPA Australia as your training partner
CPA Australia, one of the world’s largest accounting bodies with a global membership of more than 164,000 members working in 150 countries and regions, provides access to the knowledge, ideas and resources needed for companies and their staff to be future-ready and face the challenges of Industry 4.0.
It confers a professional accounting designation with the CPA Program, training successful accounting and finance professionals, strategic thinkers and business advisors. The CPA Program curriculum combines accounting knowledge with strategic thinking taken from real business examples. Based on international standards and knowledge and accessible across the globe, the curriculum is continually updated so you can be assured of consistent and high-quality education. Being a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) with its internationally recognised qualification is a mark of professional competence.
In addition, CPA Australia also offers a suite of Professional Development courses that can be customised to suit the needs of your organisation and staff. A specialist team can provide anything from a quick refresh of your organisation’s skills to a thorough review to identify skills gaps and provide the right learning strategies to meet your goals.
This article is sponsored by CPA Australia.