Sunday, 23 October 2016

Should We Take Digital Economy Seriously?

I was invited by CPA Australia to share my views on how Small and Medium Practices (referring to accounting firms) could revamp themselves by leveraging on economic crisis. I was given the final slot at the ASEAN Regional Small & Medium Practices Conference 2016 held back to back with the ASEAN Federation of Accountants' Council meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.


The thrust of my presentation was for the accountants to reframe their mindsets. Instead of worrying about the sizes of the firm they should be planning to be Meaningful and Significant to their clients. So, moving forward, SMPs should be referring to accounting firms which are providing meaningful services to their clients and making the firms significant in the minds  of the clients with respect to business.

My slides can be downloaded from this site.

I was then told that the Federation of Accounting Professions (Thailand) would be organising an international conference on digital economy. I managed to get myself invited as I am really keen to understand how the Thais in particular and ASEAN generally are dealing with this ever-changing landscape. Coincidently, technology was one of the topics discussed at the SME Conference.


Two presenters from Thailand kick started the conference. The representative from the Ministry of Commerce recaptured the progress of digitising the economy, which was mainly driven by the government. This incorporates various online submissions replacing papers which were the norm in the past. The Director of Payment Systems from the Thai Central Bank shared the progress and future of the usage of digital technology in the Thai economy. 

Then, the elders of the accounting profession (read: presidents of accounting bodies from Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore) took the centre stage and shared the progress of the digitisation of their various economies. What surprised me was the depth of knowledge and technical jargons used. I was not expecting that given what is commonly perceived of accountants. Their collective messages to the accountants in the audience were simple, the world is changing rapidly and accountants mush have their agenda in the digital game. 

Trust was mentioned as the edge that accountants have and that should be leveraged over even when problems are solves in nano seconds digitally. I suppose many accountants would have to reflect on this point. Are they being trusted now and how could they maintain trust in the domain naturally not associated with them?

I am scheduled to discuss about discuss about changes in technology with directors of capital market institutions next week. So, technology and digitisations seem to be the common theme in three events which I attended and would be attending in a week. What does this mean?

So, the digital economy is here and we have to embrace the challenge ourselves. There is no point to pray for the world to stand still. We would be missing the boat is we try that path.

In any case, the fact that you are reading this posting means you are already connected to me either through this blog, Facebook or Twitter.

The digital economy is real and it influences you and me similarly.

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