In its mission to contribute to the development of the finance and accounting professions and the economies of South-East Asian nations, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) chose Vietnam as the first destination for its regular quarterly Regional Thought Leadership Roadshow.
Ms. Kirstin Gillon is speaking at the workshop in HCMC
In Vietnam, the fourth instalment of this series took place in April, covering a number of topical issues, including artificial intelligence and the future of the accounting profession, disruptive digital technologies in business, global technological trends in business, artificial intelligence and Big Data and the intriguing topic of potential impact of technology on accounting.
The “Artificial intelligence and Digital Disruption” workshop, a key component of the International Thought Leadership Roadshow, drew the attention of public agencies, major organisations, and scholars from various universities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. To offer participants as much useful information as possible, this year’s workshop was jointly organised by the ICAEW and IBM, a global leader in artificial intelligence research and development.
Speakingat the workshop, Ms. Kirstin Gillon, Technical Manager, IT faculty, ICAEW, said: “AI will profoundly transform the role of the accountant – auditor of the future. AI will help the accountant focus on the real values of this occupation. The role of the accountant and auditor in the AI era is no longer that of just a book-keeper, but rather that of someone who makes accurate decisions and helps the organisation thrive, and guarantees the accountability of stakeholders.”
Kirstin, who is at the forefront of AI research and development in the accounting and auditing profession, and serves the organization’s associates globally, said: “At ICAEW, we are testing this technology to see how it can help us operate and stay connected with our members and students more effectively, as well as allow ICAEW staff to save time for what really matters. “While we focus on key technologies, most of these technologies are meant to increase the pace of accounting activities and cut costs rather than fundamentally transform the accounting profession. There are four technologies, however, that may bring disruptive changes to the accounting profession: AI, Blockchain (accounting ledger), Cyber risk and Data.”
As she put it, technology offers an opportunity for the accounting profession to take on a more empowered role in the organisation and help businesses make more informed, data-based judgments, which will be the way forward for the accounting profession. These technologies can do manual-intensive reporting jobs and accountants can spend more time on higher value tasks such as data analysis. To that end, the accountant in the digital age will be like an interface between the sales team and technical team, adding value to the organisation.
Kirstin also said with the changing roles, accountants also need to be more innovative than in the era of traditional accounting. “The required skills for the accountant in the digital future should be professional, technical, data, statistics skills, and ‘soft’ skills such as communication, critical thinking and the ability to adapt to changes and learn new skills,”.
Besides speaking at the two main workshops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, Kirstin also spoke at the National Economics University addressing technological trends in doing business, and with CFAB students about “New technologies and potential impacts on accounting skills”.
In addition, she also shared about the topic of AI and Big Data with accounting, finance, sales and information technology executives from the Viettel Group, Vietnam’s largest information technology and telecommunications company.
Mr. Vu Ngoc Hoang is presenting at the workshop in Hanoi
Mr. Vũ Ngọc Hoàng, IBM Vietnam’s Software solution architect, in his presentation titled “Digital workers - What will future jobs look like?” also made interesting projections for the accounting profession in a digital future. He said 66% of small and medium-sized enterprises would swap services offered by accountants with cloud services, 50% of small and medium-sized enterprises would replace their human accountants if they failed to adapt to cloud technology, simpler tasks like manual entry, book-keeping, annual financial reporting, profit and loss reporting, payroll and financial analysis would be automated and replaced with software. These numbers are worth noting by educators, students and learners so that they can adapt in time to the rapid changes in digital technology.
Ms. Kirstin Gillon talks with the Viettel Group
Against a backdrop of Vietnam actively seeking to capitalise on the opportunities thrown up by Technology 4.0 and preparing its economy for take-off, the ICAEW’s Thought Leadership Roadshow activities were especially apposite. ICAEW reaffirms its commitment to Vietnam, through its contribution to the country’s accounting and auditing industry as it catches up with new global trends.
The International Thought Leadership Roadshow goes next to other South-East Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.