The Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) continues to advocate intensively for the profession to adopt and embrace technology at the second MIA AccTech Conference 2019 – Advancing Tech for Next Generation.
MIA CEO Dr. Nurmazilah Dato’ Mahzan, a passionate evangelist for technology transformation and enablement for accountants, sets the tone with – PLENARY 1: MOVING THE NEEDLE ON TECH-ENABLED ACCOUNTING.
Explaining MIA’s digital milestones, she explains “Our purpose or strategic agenda with digital is to enable the profession, make it more relevant and create higher value by integrating technology across all our stakeholders – both internal and external. By using technology as an enabler, this helps MIA to be more efficient and effective in achieving our overall holistic purpose, which is to regulate and develop the accountancy profession to support nation building.”
Dr. Nurmazilah touches on the fluid technology landscape and impacts on the profession, focusing in particular on how accountants should respond to disruption and threats of job obsolescence. The solution lies in reskilling and acquiring digital wisdom to navigate the digital economy.
Future Skillsets for Tech Accountants – Soft Skills and Data Science Skills
She advises accountants to “take the initiative to change and acquire the skills that enable you to carry out high-value and high-level cognitive non-routine roles.” Most important to enable technology transformation is for accountants to embrace the right mindset and culture, to be curious, resilient and adaptable. “The future skillsets that MIA has identified go beyond numeracy, which is the domain of the profession, to encompass complex problem solving; critical thinking; creativity; people management; coordination, communications and collaboration; emotional intelligence; judgement and decision-making; negotiation; service orientation; and cognitive flexibility,” explains Dr. Nurmazilah.
MIA is embedding these cultural changes and new skillsets in its development programmes and continuing professional education and training to benefit members and the profession at large. Going forward, MIA also proposes a framework of useful data science skills for accountants that aligns with its competency frameworks; this is currently at the exposure draft stage. Specific areas of data expertise and competency for accountants might cover skills such as data exploration; data creation, storage and cleaning; data transformation; data modelling; data governance and strategy; and algorithmic decision making.
Digital Wisdom and Digital Governance
On top of acquiring new skills, accountants need to pivot to digital wisdom (a term first coined by education reformist Marc Prensky) and digital governance. “Digital wisdom is a new wisdom that requires finding the best combination of mind and technology; the wisdom received through a creative use of digital technologies. In other words, digital tools can make us truly wiser and digital wisdom comes from thoughtful use of digital technologies,” she explained. Digital governance here refers to upholding professional ethics and digital ethics to protect the public interest and support overall good governance in the fabric of business and society. By integrating digital wisdom and good governance in its development offerings, MIA hopes to deliver a new paradigm of learning that creates highly competent and ethical tech accountants.