The War for Talent: The changing role of Accountants in Asia
Creative Accounting and How to Spot it

4 Key Accounting Trends That Could Impact Your Business

Trends reshape the mindsets, behaviour and expectations of consumers all over the world.

With the uncertainty in the global market, rising interest rates and a decline in domestic consumption and investment, many businesses are bracing themselves for slowing growth. Businesses continue to face increasing pressures to streamline operations, and disruptive technologies are changing the way industries function forcing them to be more agile and adaptable, and to become more efficient with fewer resources. Turning these negatives in to positive solutions can be helped by knowing and understanding key positive trends in accounting and finance and getting your business ‘on-trend’.

Here area four key trends in impacting Accountancy in Asia right now:

  1. Global Trends
    The global economy has been significantly affected by falling oil prices since 2015 impacting businesses in Asia such as the collapse of the shipping giant Hanjin, incurring job losses and stymieing capital project investment. Uncertainty in the political environment from the aftermath of Brexit and the US Presidential elections has made it difficult to anticipate possible changes in trading relations between countries. There has been a visible and significant spike in demand for M&A specialists to evaluate deals and joint-ventures for the purposes of growth or survival. In 2018, experts in post-acquisition process integration activities will be highly sought-after as businesses slow down purchases in a bid to see returns.
  2. The Evolution of Accounting Professionals
    The profession of accounting has, and will continue, to change rapidly from that of a traditional, conservative role to a more technical and complex financial role as accountants face the responsibilities of making sense of rapidly evolving business environments. More organisations are starting to take on accounting professionals to perform non-operational functions at much earlier stages in their careers compared to a few years ago. Applications for these roles still remain highly competitive with an increasing demand for candidates with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to think out-of-the-box. A good indicator of this rising trend is that recruiters are increasingly spending more time evaluating candidates’ soft skills and less time focussing on their technical proficiency. Candidates are also screened rigorously for their people skills to determine the fit of a new hire to the role and the company culture which is critical in contributing to overall productivity. Despite rumours in the job market, hiring demand remains strong and 2018 will continue to see high demand for quality accounting and finance talent. According to a recent survey by Randstad in Singapore the demand in the market for accounting is amongst the highest across the Singapore workforce.

Top accounting roles needed are:

  1. Finance and planning analyst
  2. Corporate Finance Manager
  3. Finance manager
  4. Accountant
  5. Regional Finance manager/controller

The Top Accounting skills currently in demand are:

  1. Business Partnering
  2. Reporting, budgeting and forecasting
  3. Business process improvement/setup
  4. Financial accounting
  5. Treasury/taxation

In the Financial analysis industry in Singapore currently there are 6 candidates for each role open.

Top financial analyst skills currently in demand are:

  1. SAP
  2. Financial modeling
  3. Data analytics
  4. Dashboard creating/reporting
  5. Pricing analyst

Financial analysis roles ask for a range of different certifications with the Certified Financial Analyst Certification being the most popular.

  1. New SME start-ups
    An influx of start-up companies has also brought about a significant change in hiring and talent trends. These companies are part of ‘Industry 4.0’, the next industrial revolution that will see digital interconnection of manufacturing brought on by the digital disruption of traditional business models. The finance sector is evolving towards fintech and the start-up scene has blossomed into a plethora of new business models including; E-wallets, P2P lending and crowd-funding. The Singapore Government’s strategic goal of becoming a Smart Nation involves attracting major start-ups and tech companies to establish their regional offices in Singapore. Locally, we already see prominent brands such as Grab, Lazada and Amazon operating successfully, along with a multitude of IT venture capital firms looking for opportunities. Key players such as Netflix simply buy the most suitable finance talent. Competition for high-calibre finance candidates has, and will continue, to intensify as a result, and more and more roles are being filled by accounting and finance professionals who are both IT aware as well as highly creative thinkers.
  2. Data explosion
    The world’s ability to acquire data has exploded exponentially in the last 5 years. Businesses around the world are just getting started in identifying and analysing which data points are relevant and important to gain their competitive advantage. There exists a significant gap in the knowledge and competencies required to understand and utilise this data. Staff need to be trained to understand big data and analytics to be able to benefit from digital advances effectively. SMEs may not have the luxury of setting up a department to handle data analysis; however, there is a recent trend in accounting professionals in taking on data analytics as a part of their role. The core competency of the ability of accounting professionals to raise questions prompted by their auditing experience and coupled with proficiency in Excel modeling, enables them to transition into new roles easily. An increased focus on data analysis also allows organisations to bridge the gap between business data and revenue trends.

If you want your business to flourish in a rapidly evolving digital economy then hiring accounting professionals who are ‘on-trend’ or ‘getting-on-trend’ is a good way to move with the times, providing competitive advantage for your business that will help you stay relevant with market demands.

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