A majority of Singapore’s finance and accounting professionals say they are not prepared for future job demands. Amidst disruptions in the economy and lack of employer’s support to develop necessary skills, many finance practitioners feel not ready for the future, according to recent survey by Ernst & Young and CPA Australia.
From 150 Singapore-based accounting and finance professionals polled in the survey, an overwhelming 79 percent said they are currently not equipped with the necessary skills to meet the demands of their job in the next 10 years. Among top factors that often prevent them from acquiring new skills include a lack of time (73 percent), financial resources (45 percent), and employer support (37 percent), Straits Times reports.
Held between August and September this year, the survey found that almost 6 in 10 of current curriculum offered by education and professional bodies are insufficient to develop and equip talents with future-ready skills. Moreover, a similar number said the organisations are not helping employees to do so. The survey respondents commented that professional bodies, educational institutions and the Government can help make it better, by infusing technology into accounting curriculum or by introducing courses on adjacent skills. Through this way, they can upskill and hone their expertise.
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Singapore country head at CPA Australia, Melvin Yong said that acquiring future skills is a life-long learning journey that individuals should possess. While organisations, educators, or professional bodies can help, individuals seek to continually invest in their future, leverage advancements in technology, as well as enhance their relevance to their organisations to ensure that they will not be left behind in today’s disruptive era.
According to the study, among top drivers of change that impacted the most on accounting profession are the spread of digital technologies and business model disruptions, increased regulation and governance, and increasing globalisation. In response to these changing, there are particular skills that every finance and accounting professionals should possess, including strategic thinking, business acumen, leadership, communication and influencing, and analysis and advisory. Other technology skills, such as information technology and digital skills, and information management skills (such as statistical analysis and data mining), are also gaining prominence.
Mr Vincent Toong, EY assurance partner said that accounting professionals are undergoing an evolving role. To stay relevant in the organisation, there needs to be calls for new skillsets. Additionally, since they are more involved in taking other function such as business advisers, it comes as no surprise that strategic thinking and business acumen and leadership skills rank high.
Interestingly, risk management skills did not come up among the top skills listed in the survey, despite being regarded highly by chief financial officers in an EY 2016 survey. Regarding to this matter, Mr Toong commented that larger organisations typically have a separate risk function while in smaller firms, the responsibility often rests with the owner-management or is outsourced to professionals. Owing to the reason, many finance and accounting professionals do not see risk management as core to their role.
The survey report was launched on Wednesday (Oct 11) at CPA Congress 2017 held at the Raffles City Convention Centre.
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