Academy of Accounting and Financial Studies Journal (Print ISSN: 1096-3685; Online ISSN: 1528-2635)


The Evolving Role of Accountant and the Future of Accounting Profession

Author(s): Amy Lim Swee Geok, Reynold Tom Fernandez

The Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) which was part of Malaysia’s National Transformation Programme was launched in 2010 and its goal is to elevate the country to a developed nation status and a high income economy by the year 2020. To meet its goal, it is estimated that by the year 2020, Malaysia will need 60,000 professional accountants to serve the need of a developed economy and to ensure Malaysian enterprises remain competitive and resilient. The Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA), as a national accountancy body is working with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that there is adequate supply of qualified accountants in Malaysia. Professional accountancy bodies have to commit to producing the required number of professional accountants and that includes the signing of a number of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The strength of the accountancy profession correlates with economic growth as well on the adoption of the International Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the implementation of Malaysian Private Entities Reporting Standards (MPERS) which require accountants to be competent in preparing the financial statements. The demand by large investors for disclosing risks and opportunities in relation to biodiversity loss for investment products requires accountants to understand the measurement and disclosure of new assets in financial markets. There will be an increasing involvement of internal auditors and external auditors in using Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards in preparing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reports which encompass the ESG goals in Sustainable reporting as a measurement of a company’s performance against ESG’s risks, opportunities and related strategies which investors require. As a result of advancements in technology and automation, accountants are moving away from performing mundane and repetitive tasks and assuming advisory roles by providing strategic recommendations and comprehensive reports to management as well as having better and frequent communication with its various stakeholders. Industry Advisory Board (IAB) of educational institutions can play a pivotal role in reviewing the relevance of the syllabus to meet the current demands of the industries so that graduates can be future ready and the industries can have available human capital to cater to their business operation, human capital and expertise. With the existing membership of accountants at 35,630 as of the year of 2019 compared with the target of 60,000 required by Malaysia, it is clear that the accounting profession in Malaysia needs to be further strengthened as there is an acute shortage presently to meet the demand in the public and private sectors as well as in other ASEAN countries.

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