The COVID-19 health crisis has moved the needle when it comes to Malaysia’s digital transformation journey, causing all businesses and organisations to bring their digitalisation efforts into full gear.
There have been various reports on brands in Malaysia being impacted by this digitalisation, contributing heavily to growth of the country’s digital economy. Reports have also shown that digitalisation resonates closely with Malaysians with the rising demand for e-commerce, e-wallets and cloud storage to improve our quality of lives.
To further support the growth of the digital economy, Bank Negara, was seen launching a digital banking framework as well as five digital banking licenses last year. This just goes to show that digitalisation and its impact on various business aspects will only continue to be an upward trend.
This rapid acceleration in digitisation is further validated through MyDigital, Malaysia’s Digital Economy Blueprint that charts the growth trajectory of digital economy in Malaysia. The initiative was also established to expedite the nation’s efforts in progressing as a technology advanced economy.
With all sectors incorporating technology and embracing the digital revolution with open arms, the question that now arises is how has the accounting sector shifted to keep up with this innovation in technology?
As the nation speeds forward in its digital transformation journey, the accounting sector is no stranger to the influence of technology by replacing analog tools with digital equivalents.
The financial sector is no longer restricted to 9 to 5 jobs or regular bookkeeping as fintech services like mobile payments, e-wallets and insurtech have already disrupted the financial services industry in Malaysia.
According to Fintech Malaysia, the pandemic increased digital banking adoption by resulting in 3 million mobile banking subscribers in the past year as the push for e-wallets and digital adoption continued to increase.
The introduction of tools like blockchain are set to elevate the accounting profession by being able to offer strong protection of client’s information. Thus, making fraud and the lack of trust a thing in a past. Although technologies like this may still be new to some, it is crucial to note that accountants can rely greatly on blockchain, to keep up with the demands of clients and offer a wider range of services.
Matching the intensity of this rapid acceleration with the nation’s mission towards international competitiveness, the accounting sector will need to adopt emerging technologies like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, data analytics and cognitive technology.
As part on the MyDigital initiative, the government aims to instill the digital-first mindset to ensure Malaysia has a competitive edge and advantage for them to make better informed decisions in the industry.
Everyone is moving forward, and the accounting sector has to be up-to date as not only will these technologies improve efficiency, but they will also enable the processing of vast volumes of data.
The future of the accounting sector will greatly be dependent on those who are technology and finance savvy as they will be able to provide valuable insight and assist senior leaders in making informed decisions that are based on data, analysis and insights across auditing, taxation and other units parked under the accounting sector.
It is no longer an option but a requirement that the accountants of tomorrow are of impact in their workplace. It is important to ensure they have sufficient knowledge of information technology as the Asia-Pacific region is home to more than 6,000 fintech start-ups.
Future accounting graduates need to be able to be prepared for this disruptive transformation in the accounting sector as the global fintech space will not be slowing down any time soon and they need to be provided with the right infrastructure to be onboard with this shift.
The accountant can no longer think that their role is limited to accounting ledgers or tedious tasks. Manual payments and invoices will be brought to pass as cloud-based accounting, blockchain and accounting software solutions will be here to stay due to these being able to manage risks better and improve efficiency.
It is safe to say that fintech will continue to impact the accountancy practice through the opportunity of better insights on forecasting and analysis from powerful tools and data access.
Through fintech, accountants of today can greatly impact the business and lives of clients while also ensuring the business is profitable. Fintech allows accountants to be able to stay relevant, transparent and provide cost effective services to their clients. Truly, fintech is the future of the accounting sector. Are we ready?
Written by: Associate Professor Dr Nor Shaipah Abdul Wahab
Associate Professor Dr Nor Shaipah Abdul Wahab is the Acting Head of School for the School of Accounting & Finance, Taylor’s Business School, at the Faculty of Business & Law, Taylor’s University. Taylor’s Business School is the leading private business school in Malaysia, based on the QS Subject Ranking 2021 edition.