The national accountancy body, the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), has announced its “AI for AI” plans by proactively tapping into the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the Accountancy Industry.
AI is gradually becoming more prevalent and impacting all facets of our lives. The accountancy profession needs to assess if AI is here as a friend who will empower their work; or is here to disrupt the status quo and worse still, displace job roles.
ISCA will set aside an initial S$2 million to spearhead the AI for AI initiative with a multi-pronged approach.
Firstly, tapping on its Research Network, ISCA will proactively identify strategic research projects. The Research Network consists of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), and Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS).
The Research Network is supported by its strategic partners – Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC, BlackLine, and Xero. Secondly, ISCA will foster a start-up ecosystem for the development of AI solutions specially catered for the accountancy profession.
Thirdly, ISCA aims to develop strategies for accelerating AI technology adoption in the accountancy profession.
The AI for AI initiative aims to bring subject matter experts from technology companies, tertiary institutions, think tanks, the public sector as well as professional services firms in the accountancy sector and the wider business community to co-create an ecosystem that proactively examines the impact of AI on the accountancy profession and how AI can be leveraged for the betterment of the profession.
ISCA President Teo Ser Luck, shared his views, “With the pace of development in AI, we should not underestimate the impact of AI. It will impact and change the role and jobs of accountants. It is an opportunity if we understand the implications early, adopt and utilise it as it evolves.
“The tools will definitely empower our industry but if we are not well prepared, it may pose some challenges. ISCA strongly believes that AI will help to alleviate the issues that the accountancy industry is currently facing, including the attractiveness of the profession and talent crunch, as the adoption of AI will innovate the way accountants deliver services and influence how finance functions can value add to businesses.
“In time to come, I am not surprised that this will lead to significant changes in the business and organisational structure of professional services firms. This is why ISCA needs to be ahead of the curve to prepare our members and the industry.
“Our profession went through the automation wave and adapted well, and we are excited about the next wave of transformation. For now, we are taking a small step to understand how we could make better use of the technology.”
Audit & Assurance Regional Managing Partner, Deloitte Southeast Asia, Shariq Barmaky said, “This is a very welcomed move. The use of advanced technology is already prevalent in the accountancy profession.
“At Deloitte, we provide our professionals with training opportunities around the latest technology and encourage them to constantly upgrade their skills. This ensures that they are well prepared to leverage new developments, for instance in AI, in their work for our clients.
“Additionally, this move by ISCA shows that accountancy is an attractive and forward-looking profession; one that can excite future generations to take it up as a career that promises a better and secure future.”
Cheng Qiang, Dean and Lee Kong Chian Chair Professor of Accounting at School of Accountancy at the Singapore Management University (SMU) said, “AI is maturing fast and is quickly changing many professions.
“In this era of AI, it is very important to conduct research on the impact of AI on the accounting profession, including both the accounting and finance functions of corporations and the audit profession.
“Such an understanding can help corporations and accounting profession to harness the benefits of AI and educational institutions to understand what skills the future professionals should have. Thus, I applaud ISCA’s ‘AI for AI’ research initiative. I believe this research initiative will better prepare accounting professionals in Singapore for the era of AI.”