Singapore is in the midst of rapid technological developments and this has continued to make an impact on businesses and reshape various industries such as the accounting sector.
With digital disruption becoming more than a catch phrase, the old number-crunching routines that traditional accountants are familiar with are quickly rendered obsolete.
Even the Singapore government is harnessing the power of available technologies to achieve its goals – and encouraging companies to follow its lead.
Digital disruptions were described by the Prime Minister as a defining challenge that can bring about significant opportunities to companies in a globally competitive business scene – if they are quick and agile enough to continuously up-skill, re-skill and cross-skill.
And while a study conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) indicated that Singapore has emerged on top among Asian countries in terms of responding well to digital disruptions, the level of exposure varies among different companies.
The question remains the same: is your in-house accountant prepared for these 10 digital disruptions?
Big data refers to the large amount of structured and unstructured data – a set of highly influential business information with far-reaching consequences – depending on the use of business leaders and decision makers within the company.
It’s not the immensity of data that is significant – it’s what companies do with the data available.
However, the sheer volume, variety, and velocity of big data coming in is something that most accountants and finance executives are not prepared to handle well because they are traditionally used to and familiar with working on structured data only – those that can be readily explained by spread sheets and financial reports.
Advanced data analytics
Data analytics, simply put, is the process of qualitative and quantitative analyses of data that can have significant impact to the business.
The basic processes of data capturing and collection that traditional accountants are familiar about are fast becoming rendered less useful because of the existence of data analytics.
New business leaders are now becoming more interested in data analytics because it provides more robust, more valuable, and more revealing financial conclusions that can guide the business to the right path.
Automation of accounting processes requires less of human intervention and more of the use of artificial intelligence (AI) system that can collect/capture and interpret/analyse transactional data essential for your day-to-day business operations.
Not only does RPA help reduce redundancy or bureaucracy in business processes, it could also help yield higher productivity and/or greater efficiencies.
The term ‘cloud’ pertains to all information technology (IT) computing systems which can be manipulated, accessed, and shared virtually on various computing platforms.
Companies are migrating to cloud because it allows for swift and flexible access to various business platforms, provides hassle-free security, and allows for customizable scalability.
Mobile Accounting Solutions
The excellent range of accounting software available through smartphones is enabling business owners to carry out their accounting functions seamlessly. From keeping track of inventory and recording expenses to analysing balance sheets, scheduling transactions, and properly invoicing clients – all of these are threatening the conventional duties of accountants.
According to the World Economic Forum 2015 survey, mobile solutions can perform up to 30 per cent of corporate audits by 2025. Accountants must learn to adapt or get ready to be transformed if they want to stay relevant and reenergise their profession.
Blockchain, simply put, is like a ledger book that enables an authorized group of people to make a decentralized record of all business data via cloud. All individual packets of information, which are called blocks, are identified through a timestamp and a ‘fingerprint’.
Although these are public logs, they are kept securely – resistant to manual intervention or modification – making it difficult to fake a change, be accessed without permission, or be altered retroactively.
With the security that blockchain technology offers to businesses, it paved the way to the use of smart contracts – a virtual program that can automatically process all accounts, bank balances, or any type of business-related financial information with absolute accuracy and transparency.
Cognitive computing, by definition, is technology that merges artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to simulate human thought processes for a specific task – like any accounting function.
This machine-assisted tool can either transform the way accountants handle their day-to-day tasks and decisions – or be totally replaced by a highly autonomous, computer-coded program.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology allows for the extraction of text or conversion of images into machine-searchable, encoded, and editable data.
Conventional data entry that takes up most of the time of accountants can be minimised through OCR – it’s like a photocopier, scanner, and digital camera all rolled into one.
Business Intelligence (BI) Dashboards
A business intelligence dashboard (BI dashboard), in principle, is similar to how a car dashboard works: it shows all the essential data you need to have in order to keep the vehicle functioning to its optimum.
A BI dashboard, therefore, provides critical information including key performance indicators (KPIs) for the company – from the latest inventory and shipping receipts to annual sales figures, financial reports, and such.
Outsourced Accounting Services to Prepare Your Company for the Digital Disruptions
Every employer wants high-value talents but the bridging period to prepare the workforce to up-skill, re-skill and cross-skill can take considerable resources.
Needless to say, companies must take the necessary actions in order to thrive, not just survive, in this digital age.
Find out how our customized outsourced accounting services can give you access to expert financial advice and solutions so you can focus your efforts on digitizing your company while staying on top of your business.