- About Us
- Contact Us
Author: Sarjit Singh, Executive Chairman at Kreston member firm, Ardent Associates LLP.
The future of work is not just about learning a new skill or activating technology, it is about learning to learn and the ability to create purpose and meaning in what we do.
Every generation expresses themselves differently. But the same values define us. People do business with people they know, like and trust.
Relationships make us what we are. So, our professional values of trust, responsiveness, quality, integrity and collaboration underpin everything we do.
We are living in an age of change, which is unprecedented in scale and impact. We see changes in how business is being done, how old models are being upended (think artificial intelligence, blockchain, robo-advisory) and how technology is going to revolutionise pretty much everything.
How is this going to play out? How is the professional accountant going to remain relevant in this changing world? How are we going to secure our future in the face of imminent change? These are questions that should preoccupy every professional accountant today!
With no crystal ball to foretell the future, we must believe that the narrative for the future of the accounting profession is one we can determine and shape.
Meeting the Challenge
The good news is that there is plenty of opportunities for growth. The real question is how an accounting professional or business can access these opportunities to do better.
We have several things going for us. We are where the growth is. We are right smack in the middle of the biggest upcoming demand for professional services. Asia is the world’s fastest-growing economy and Asean is the world’s seventh-largest economy. Asean is expected to rank as the fourth-largest economy by 2050.
The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the global accountancy market is forecast to grow at a rate of 3.7% from 2016 to 2021. Similarly, the Asia-Pacific accountancy services market is expected to grow at a higher CAGR of 6.5% in the same period.
All these figures add up to one thing — huge potential opportunities for the accounting professionals in the Asean.
It’s more a question of how the accounting professional can best leverage those opportunities to secure a piece of the pie.
Hunting in a Pack
“Collaboration”. This was the one word I heard at every meeting and focus session of Singapore’s Committee on the Future Economy — Legal and Accounting Services Working Group where I had the humble privilege to serve as a member. Professional firms will need to expand their networks to source complementary partners with skills and knowledge to better serve their clients jointly in this region as clients expand their footprints.
The future will require professionals to be able to lead and work with multidisciplinary project teams to come together to solve the problems that clients grapple with.
Beyond that, we may see more professional firms with multiple disciplines to complement the breadth and depth of services that can be provided to clients through multidisciplinary teams to break down some of the silos across industries.
Today, accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is the 10th-largest legal practice in the world. PwC has legal presence in more than 85 jurisdictions in the world. As a comparison, the largest law firm in the world, Baker McKenzie, has legal presence in about 76 jurisdictions in the world.
Technology will not replace the professionals, but it will change how accountants, lawyers, engineers, doctors, and educators work; clients’ expectations of their professional advisors; and what clients are willing to pay for. More importantly, it will differentiate the professionals. Those who do not embrace technology will be left behind.
Technology platforms will emerge to allow networks to develop across professional industries. Professionals, however, must not lose sight of the importance of truly understanding their client’s business and future plans. Professionals need to help their clients think about their business and anticipate future needs or issues that the client may not have thought about.
There is an opportunity to provide highly customised advisory to clients that technology cannot easily replicate.
It will be important for professionals in the service firms to have industry experience at some point in their career to truly understand their clients’ business and their challenges.
This will allow the professionals to further deepen their expertise.
Although technology can benefit many, there are weaknesses associated with it — for example, cyber security and privacy. The Achilles’ heel of technology can create opportunities for the professionals in the governance, risk management and compliance realms. Although commoditisation may bring some lower cost options to clients, there still has to be accountability if something were to go wrong.
Beyond adopting baseline technology, there is a need to foster a culture of innovation. We can identify two areas to develop a culture of pervasive and collaborative innovation — technology innovation and business model innovation.
Technology is changing the process and delivery of professional services.
Leveraging technology enables firms to not only enhance productivity — such as automating repetitive tasks — but also provide additional value to clients. Professional firms who fail to take advantage of technology and do not adapt to new realities risk losing market share to more forward-thinking practices or may even be replaced by technology solution providers altogether.
Business model innovation presents opportunities to traditional accounting firms to meet their clients’ need for fuller services in a variety of disciplines.
The top accounting firms have diversified their businesses and have expanded beyond statutory audit services by providing higher value services — eg consulting and risk management services. They have also partnered companies from other industries, eg technology companies, to leverage each partner’s strengths to enhance its services to clients.
Accounting professionals should strive towards becoming holistic, trusted business advisors to their clients. This would entail the ability to “see around the corner” to guide clients in making strategic business decisions.
There is thus a need for accounting professionals to build on their core strengths and skillsets, and become professionals who can bring value (eg anticipate and advise clients on new trends) and help clients shape business strategies.
The accounting professionals will need to be open to any technology disruptions and be prepared to look for opportunities that technology brings to either upskill or leverage the efficiencies of the technology.
As technology replaces routine tasks, accounting professionals need to acquire deeper skills to create value, and more importantly, ensure that they can utilise their skills effectively on the job.
Learning throughout life needs to be our way of life, so we can quickly and easily adapt to new job demands, or even switch jobs or industries as the economy transforms.
We must continue to build capabilities and competencies to meet the demands of a changing landscape to stay relevant. We must always be ready to improvise, experiment and innovate.
As a profession, we need to go beyond the pursuit of the highest possible academic qualifications early in life to focus on acquiring and using knowledge and skills throughout our lives.
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. How much of your business is taken by the Big 4? Losing out on business
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. “We all want to grow to the level of the Big 4, but it’s difficult
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. Benjamin Franklin supposedly once said: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” But
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. Last week I received an email from the chair of a large Kreston firm, telling
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. “I was very attached emotionally to my firm, and it was difficult to let go.”
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. ‘I should have started sooner’… We’ve all felt that regret. When you assess risk for
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. Last week I left you with a question . When all your competitors claim that
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. “We provide high-quality accounting and taxation services.” “Our mission is to provide top-quality financial advice.”
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. Recently, a Kreston firm in Asia was looking to help a business they work with
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. What’s the connection between muesli…. taxi cabs…. And Kreston? In theory, nothing! But in 2014,
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about what accountancy firms have to do
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. For the past three years, the average annual growth rate of Kreston GCG in the
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. Petra Uylen’s client had a problem. They needed a tax advisor, an accountant and a
By Kreston CEO, Liza Robbins. Since I became CEO last year, I have been visiting Kreston firms across the world.
Kreston member Duncan & Toplis is now an accredited centre for the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) and will
Irish accountancy firm BFCD recently moved from its existing accountancy association to join Kreston International. We spoke to partners Margaret
Kreston Iberaudit has updated its Spanish regional fiscal guides for 2019. You can access all the guides here: Fiscal Guide
By Elena Bargados Varela, Tax Manager at Kreston Iberaudit S.L. Due to the recent surge in the number of software
From 1 April most VAT registered businesses with turnover above £85,000 will have to file VAT returns through new Making
Author: Sarjit Singh, Executive Chairman at Kreston member firm, Ardent Associates LLP. The future of work is not just about learning a
By Andrew Griggs, Kreston Board Director and Senior Partner of UK member firm Kreston Reeves. In February, the Institute of
“The China One Belt, One Road is going to be the new W.T.O – like it or not.” These are
“A crushing, horrible, unfair disaster”. That’s how President Trump described inheritance tax; he aims to abolish it by 2025. Other
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been garnering a lot of media attention of late. And for good reason – its potential
Earlier this month, the Senate voted in Donald Trump’s controversial $1.4 trillion tax reform bill by the narrow margin of
To say that there’s been a backlash against globalisation in recent years would be an understatement. From demonstrations in France
“May you live in interesting times” goes the Chinese expression. In fact, it’s actually more of a subtle barb to
Earlier this month, the Slovenian Prime Minister, Miro Cerar, stated that he “want[s] to position Slovenia as the most recognised
In the UK, they’re known as Generation Y, in Germany Generation Maybe, and China has labelled them as the generation
Rodney Sutton, head of manufacturing at Kreston Reeves, recently shared his thoughts on the UK manufacturing industry following the referendum
The adoption of international accounting standards has brought many benefits to the private and public sectors. This being said, there
Remote working is becoming a way of life for many professionals and the ability to work in a variety of
A common global language for business affairs, IFRS Standards are required by more than 120 jurisdictions in the world. Recently,
Automated technologies and artificial intelligence in our society will challenge many professions in the future. Some of them may be
Crowdfunding is still relatively new but should still be considered as a viable source of equity. Nowadays, it is providing
A legal amendment to the Finance Bill recently accepted by the UK government may pave the way for big changes
In the business world, there are bumps on the road and financial setbacks. In this situation, it is easy to
Day by day, technology is becoming an essential part of our lives, as the way we manage our financial life,
A new generation is coming to challenge the market. The Millennials make up a quarter of the US population and
Managing change is one of the biggest challenges for businesses as it requires a huge effort from managers and organisations
Sustainability reports are released by companies and organisations of all types, sizes, and sectors, from all over the world. A
Accounting is an indispensable tool for entrepreneurs to manage their business. The data provided by competent
Thinking about the risks involved in business has become an essential part of an enterprise’s strategy. Risk management enables organisations
When a business does not achieve its expected results, it may be time to think about implementing change. In these
The Financial Times recently reported the dispute in the courts between the UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s and MasterCard. The Competition
For many, the accounting profession may not seem the most attractive in the world. But with technology and innovation at our hands, this is about to change.
By following these five steps, communication has everything it needs to flow better, regardless of where your business is located and where the people you
The need to go global is something that has emerged over the past decade and promises to challenge business for the next coming years.
Recently a considerable change in the SME market was announced through business news on the internet. The Big Four have
There are five topics that we must remember when dealing with working personal relationships in international business…
Slowly, one of the last socialist countries in the world is preparing to make changes to its economy, but how will this be done?
Developing countries attract the attention of investors by offering good opportunities and new markets, making them attractive for anyone thinking of expanding their
Through a mobile app, a small business can promote its brand, products, and services, expand its sales channels, interact with the target audience and get
Last month, experts at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles looked at certain megatrends and predicted several economic scenarios for 2040 to
Your browser (Internet Explorer) is out of date.
It is no longer supported by Microsoft and therefore may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser here