What You Need to Know About Singapore’s Accountancy Industry Digital Plan

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Accountancy Industry Digital Plan is part of Singapore ongoing efforts to aid small and medium enterprises, which constitute up to ninety-eight per cent of the accountancy sector, as well as adopt more technologies and support digital transformation. This plan also gives the SMEs better competitiveness and productivity.

Here is what you need to know about Singapore’s Accountancy Industry Digital Plan or IDP.

Digitalisation for SMPs

The following are the digitisation initiatives for small to medium-sized practices or SMPs:

  • Professional Services ITM or the Professional Services Industry Transformation Map: This initiative was launched back in January 2018. It charts the industry’s development into a global market leader in top-quality, specialist services which are driven by partnerships and innovation over a five to ten years limit. Its main initiatives aimed to propel innovation in the sector and provide the workforce with specialised skill-sets in fast-growing areas, including analytics, data science and AI.
  • The Accountancy Sector Roadmap: This roadmap was launched back in June 2018. It charts the industry’s direction for the next five to ten years to mould Singapore into a top-rated global accountancy centre.

What is Accountancy Industry Digital Plan

The IDP was launched back in August 2019 in light of the multiple efforts in aiding the industries transition toward becoming digitally ready. The plan is a part of the SMEs Go Digital programmed, aiming to make going digital easy for the small to medium-sized enterprises.

It was developed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority, Singapore Accountancy Commission and the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants. It will be constantly updated over time as the industry develops and brand-new, more relevant technologies emerge.

Three Focus Areas of IDP

The three focus areas of the Industry Digital Plan include the following:

  • Enhancing digital skills and knowledge
  • Promoting technology adoption
  • Developing accountancy technology and innovation

Benefits of Accountancy IDP

The IDP makes going digital more simple for local accounting entities, particularly the SMEs or SMPs. It offers a step-by-step guide on the digital solutions that local SMPs or SMEs can adopt at every stage of their growth. For a start, they can utilise the IDP’s Digital Roadmap as a guide to evaluate their digital readiness and determine opportunities for digital transformation and training to enhance the personnel’s digital skills. 

Accountancy IDP Digital Roadmap

Every IDP comprises of a Digital Roadmap which offers a three-stage guide on digital solutions fo the SMEs, which include the following:

  • Stage 1: Getting the digital economy ready. This stage aims to aid the SMEs in the accountancy sector to prepare for the digital economy. Some outlined digital solutions to streamline operations, boost productivity and optimise resources include audit management, audits’ data analytics, practice management and tax management solutions.
  • Stage 2: Developing the digital economy. This stage offers digital solutions which help to connect companies for seamless transactions and allow the data consolidation from SMEs, thereby forming business insights. Some outlined digital solutions include e-payment and advisory’s data analytics.
  • Stage 3: Leaping ahead with advanced digital technologies. This stage emphasis on advanced digital technologies SMEs can utilise to establish innovative and more intelligent services and businesses while improving operations and accountancy services delivery at the same time. It centres around the utilisation of AI-enabled digital solutions for business activities and provision of audit and accounting services. Some examples include enabling digital trails for audits which can help emphasize high-risk areas according to industry and data patterns and utilising AI-enabled chatbots for routine client management.

Digital Roadmap for Training and Skills

As Singapore accounting industry grows, digital skills need to follow suit. Job responsibilities will likely need upskilling to keep up with the digitalisation. It would be best to get ready early by offering relevant training. 

The IDPs laid out two kinds of courses for both basic and advanced users. Every user is required to take the basic courses as they incorporate essential foundations to enhance digital awareness and literacy. Examples of these courses for the accountancy sector are Introduction to Cybersecurity and Machine Learning in Finance.

On the other hand, advanced courses are recommended for users who want to achieve high-proficiency in digital skills. Examples of these courses for the accountancy sector include the AI’s with Python’s Practical Foundations and the Cybersecurity and Cyber Forensics for Decision Makers.

Additional Support for SMEs

SMEs can also get additional assistance through basic advisory, specialist consultancy and digital project management services by engaging with the SME Centre, SME Digital Tech Hub and Digital Project Management Services, respectively. They can obtain resources like digital readiness’ self-assessment checklists and consultation for information on project management or digital advisory.

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