October 22, 2018

Attracting close to 2,800 attendees from countries across Asia, the inaugural Accounting and Finance Show Asia 2018 showcased world-class financial solutions and a suite of cutting-edge applications that are low-cost, scalable and mobile, which not only cater to large enterprises but also SMEs.

Over 65 international exhibitors such as the Xero, Maybank, Oracle NetSuite, ZOHO Corporation and Xriba presented their latest technology with live demos, to equip attendees with insights on how to tackle the challenges in the ever-evolving marketplace.

Ms Sharon Roessen, Managing Director of Terrapinn, said: “Technology is disrupting all industries and the accounting and finance sector will not be spared. Some of the accounting personnel fear that they will lose their jobs but technology will help to speed up processes and make repetitive work redundant. This will, in fact, elevate their skills and secure their positions in the sector.”

Thought-provoking keynotes and seminar sessions from industry professionals as well as key government agencies such as Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) were fully packed across all the 6 different conference tracks.

Future Accounting

Founder of Value Adders, Matt Paff talked about the overall trends and his predictions in South East Asia and Singapore—highlighting that the most obvious trend is how the world is transitioning from desktop to Cloud accounting technologies. Adoption is happening at different paces across the globe: New Zealand and Australia are leading the way, the US is still relatively early in its journey and the UK is moving towards mass market adoption.

South East Asia is at the infancy stage, but he predicted that the rate of adoption will be rapid. He cited two examples of market segments that are emerging: SME cloud accounting systems such as Xero and Enterprise Platforms like NetSuite. Matt added that Cloud Accounting might experience a shortened hype cycle in South East Asia.

On Singapore’s future market trends, he said that government policies will affect grants, and it will be hard for international vendors to keep up as Singapore is a unique market, and may potentially face issues such as common legal & accounting frameworks that are happening in Malaysia and Hong Kong. With 220,000 SMEs, Singapore is too small for a major local vendor to emerge and remain solely local.

Money in, Money Out

Speaker Kevin Fitzgerald, Regional Director, Xero Asia, advised, “The modern accountant needs to be digitally connected and technology savvy, leveraging cloud platforms to eliminate mundane administrative tasks in order to free up their time to serve as strategic business advisors to their small business clients. If they are not on the cloud, they would miss out on the opportunity to service their clients anytime, anywhere.”

Many of the micro SMEs and start-ups still rely on manual record-keeping or Excel spreadsheets, which may impede their growth as most banks would require financial statements for their credit underwriting. As such, Maybank has been offering cloud-based accounting software to SMEs since November 2017, enabling them to access a real-time accounting dashboard for better record keeping and increased productivity. Maybank has also adopted the newly launched PayNow Corporate, enabling real-time payment between companies. Business owners can spend less time depositing cheques and cash, removing the hassle of making a physical trip to the bank.

More than just digitalisation

Speaker Brad Golchin, Managing Director & Founder of Wise Advice & XO Accounting discussed his experiences and insights on using AI and robotics to streamline your accounting. He also touched on the importance of communicating “to be more human, and to get connected with the accounting community.” Using Xero as a prime example, a big community can help one another—and although technology is not a replacement for accountants, it can certainly help to improve current processes.

Another speaker, Mr Gianluca Massini Rosati, CEO of Xriba, concluded, “After meeting so many interesting people and companies at the Accounting and Finance Show, Xriba is encouraged by the feedback and interest in our accounting and crypto solutions. We are on the right path.”