Harnessing the Best of Technology, Key for the Accountancy Profession to Ensuring Their Relevance - IAI-AFA-IAESB International Conference

(Nusa Dua, Bali - April 11, 2019) – Professional accountants from more than 20 countries in the world, gathered in Bali to find solutions to the global economy that were affected by disruption in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. They participated in IAI AFA in the IAI-AFA-IAESB International Conference 2019 (#iaiintconf2019) which take place on 11-12 April 2019 in Nusa Dua, Bali. Focusing on the theme of Competencies for the Future: Professionalism of Accountants in the Disruption Era, the Conference looks at key issues such as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills and opportunities and challenges for professional accountants in the digital era, the need for professional accountants to become better sceptics, and how professional accountants need to be responsible with their development as a way of enhancing their capacity and accounting competencies. The Conference provides opportunity for participants to hear the latest trends affecting the profession from key contributors such as Prof Mardiasmo (President, IAI), In-Ki Joo (President, International Federation of Accountants), Kon Yin Tong (President, ASEAN Federation of Accountants), Anne Marie Vitale (Chair, IAESB), CFO/COO from various industry, global accountancy professionals, and more.

Technology continues to reshape the business and economic model into the level of goods and services transactions. This change also affects the interaction of economic players, from the interaction of producers and consumers, to the interaction of shareholders and management. Accounting profession as the main stakeholder of financial reporting is expected to adapt to stay relevant. Technology can be a gift for professional development, but it can also be a serious threat to accountants. Therefore, the accounting profession needs to understand the opportunities and challenges that come in the digital age as a whole, while increasing adaptability capabilities to various shifts in relevant competencies.

President of IFAC, In-Ki Joo, in his remarks said that accountants must embrace with the latest technology development. On that occasion, he appreciated the IAI and Chartered Accountant (CA) which had been launched as an effort to improve the competence of Indonesian professional accountants. In order to deal with changes due to disruption, IFAC has pushed for 3 new standards covered by the International Education Standards (IES), continuous professional development, ICT, and professional skepticism. He urged accountants throughout the world to comprehensively implement the standards so that their contribution in business remain relevant.

President of the IAI, Prof. Mardiasmo said that the changes in the business environment significantly caused disruption in various fields. Big data, blockchain and bitcoin, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and drone technology are some of the advancements that have brought many challenges and opportunities to the accounting profession. Therefore, accountants in the future need to be equipped with the right skills in order to always meet the expectations of stakeholders. Changes proposed in the IES to develop accountant competencies related to ICT mastery, are one of the right steps by IFAC's International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB) to answer stakeholder requests.

On the other hand, Prof. Mardiasmo emphasized the need for better professional skepticism to minimize fraud in the business world. Corporate financial scandals such as Enron, Lehman Brothers, up to the latest, Nissan, were triggered by the poor corporate governance of their financial reporting. Learning from that case, it takes the role of accountants who are increasingly substantial in maintaining the integrity and accountability of financial reporting in business. Accountants are expected to act on the basis of professional skepticism, in making their professional judgments and maintaining the trust mandated to them.

Another thing that is not less important is the need for continuous learning that enables the competence of professional accountants to stay relevant in the midst of changing business models. Accountants are expected to be able to build a level of public trust based on their professional assessment of the corporate financial performance of the period. Therefore, the assumptions used in making judgments must be based on a mindset that always questions everything that is relevant before arriving at a decision. Continuous professional education can facilitate the development of a professional mindset that includes skepticism as a fundamental part of future professional accountants.