Embracing Emerging Accounting Technology


Accounting and finance professionals will need to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and improve their digital skills to maintain a competitive edge in the market.

As the world adapts to the fourth industrial revolution (IR 4.0), many now live in fear of losing their jobs to robots and artificial intelligence (AI).

Accountants are no stranger to this phenomenon, as more accounting firms continue to provide clients with apps that allow them to access their accounting data and information via their mobile devices.

Accounting has progressed far beyond bookkeeping and payroll thanks to technological advancements, increasing the demand for accountants with advanced skills.

Accounting graduates and young professionals seeking their first jobs will now face the challenge of having to re-skill themselves to maintain their roles as corporate data gatekeepers.

Even chief financial officers of the future will need to be well-versed in the latest technologies, as well as financial management, real-time audits and data extraction from business systems.

The Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) previously released the Digital Technology Blueprint in 2018, followed by a report on Emerging Technology Adoption Within Accounting Programmes by Higher Learning Institutions in Malaysia in 2021, which suggested that future accountants need to equip themselves with future skill sets by understanding and incorporating emerging technologies into accounting programmes.

Two curricula at the same time

Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) acknowledges the need for future graduates to accelerate their growth and be up-to-date with the latest developments in digital technology.

To fill the gap, APU has established a new specialisation programme called the Bachelor (Hons) in Accounting and Finance with specialism in Accounting Technology (AccTech).

The programme includes modules in AI, Blockchain, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, Data Science/Analytics and Machine Learning.

The modules will cover the uses of various tools such as R Programming/R Studio, Power BI, Tableau, SAP, SQL, AutoCount, Google Analytics, UiPath and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

The AccTech programme covers numerous topics on the emerging technologies in the accounting industry.

These modules will customise the way data is used for solving automation-based problems, as well as aid in speeding up and improving business process decision-making.

“As a premier digital tech institution, we have the ready resources in terms of tools and teaching staff. Thus, we believe that the students who take the AccTech programme will have sufficient knowledge and provide great value to the industry,” says APU School of Accounting and Finance (SoAF) Head Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chong Lee Lee.

AccTech modules also aid students in finding advanced methods for data loss prevention to avoid easy hacking, financial data loss and undesirable data breaches.

While some experts believe accounting has a bleak future in the digitalisation era, technologies such as process automation and advanced analytics are actually poised to revamp the profession in new and empowering ways.

“Technology played a big role in digital transformation. It sped up the process, and has allowed us to solve problems and build relationships with tech-driven tools,” says AccTech Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer Cheryll Lim.

“At this moment in time, no software stack can match our Accounting Technology graduates’ in terms of financial acumen, critical thinking and the trusted counsel that a human advisor offers.”

APU’s AccTech students will have sufficient knowledge and will provide great value-added to the industry.

Ready to take on the world

All of the programme’s modules will future-proof graduates, with a combination of change drivers, future skills and added value, in relation to IR 4.0 – strengthening and ensuring the profession’s relevance now, and in the future.

With these new learning methods and modules, APU graduates will become “tech savvy” accountants equipped with adept accounting and technical skills, as well as an enthusiasm for emerging technologies.

APU is one of the few universities selected to join the ACCA Accelerate Programme, which allows students to register with ACCA early, providing an opportunity to advance their careers in accounting and finance.

Students are also eligible for exemptions on Applied Knowledge and Applied Skills exam papers (F1 through F9), as well as the ability to complete their ACCA Strategic Professional papers, while completing their degree programme alongside ACCA in just three years.

The AccTech programme even offers capstone courses and projects to prepare students for their internships to properly prepare students for the job world.

APU’s purpose-built campus with an ultra-modern design is strategically located at MRANTI Park Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

APU developed the capstone with the idea that students who complete their internships will obtain professional skills that they could use to solve problems during their internships or new issues that may arise in the industry.

These in-depth projects involve the preparation of moderately complex financial reports, as well as environmental, social and governance (ESG) knowledge, to consolidate the students’ learning while providing valuable hands-on experience.

Students will work in small groups to develop creative solutions for real-life problems, all while learning about the demands and responsibilities of the workplace, and practising their leadership and management skills in a safe space.

APU offers the APU-DMU dual degree programme where students can receive two-degree certificates upon graduation – one from APU and one from De Montfort University in the UK, renowned for its 150 years of experience in higher education.

The dual degree programme enhances the employability of graduates, growing their competencies towards maintaining APU’s 100% employability track record.

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