Keynote Address at Chartered Institute of Management Accountants' Centenary Gala Dinner
Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo, Grand Hyatt
Mr Steve Swientozielskyj [Swen/toe/zel/ski], President of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
Mrs Alexandra McKenzie, Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission Singapore
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
- Thank you for having me here this evening.
- Last week, at the Manpower Ministry’s Workplan Seminar, I spoke about why career mobility matters to Singaporeans.
- When it comes to their careers:
- Most Singaporeans want the opportunity to learn and to grow
- Few will want to stay in the same spot forever.
- If students could have multiple pathways to advance while in education, it is equally, if not more important that working people have rewarding ways to move forward in their careers.
- After all, our adult working lives will span several multiples of the years we spend in formal education.
- Everyone has aspirations.
- It doesn’t matter how old you are
- It doesn’t matter the qualifications you hold
- At different points of our lives, our needs may change
- And so, what we want out of our careers will also change.
Walking the Tech Journey with our workers
- For one group in particular, there is a sense of uncertainty
- These are workers who are afraid that their jobs, being routine and repetitive, can also be performed by robots which will soon replace them.
- They include our PMETs, or white collar workers, who also worry
- This is even though the number of PMETs retrenched has been falling, and is the lowest since 2014
- And PMET vacancies now exceed 30,000
- What do we know about the impact of technology on jobs?
- In fact, jobs will be created and also jobs lost
- These are often the subject of intense speculation
- But that may be missing the woods for the trees
- The big story is not what jobs are created or lost, but how every job, new and existing, is being transformed by technology.
- Instead of replacing workers with technology, employers may now require workers to use technology more
- As job requirements change, worker must adapt
- As some skills become obsolete, new skills must be learnt
- In this environment, therefore, skills are the engine that propel career mobility, both upwards and laterally. In this regard, Workforce Singapore offers targeted support through the Adapt and Grow (A&G) initiative.
- Last year, A&G helped more than 30,000 jobseekers move into new jobs.
- More than half were PMETs.
- Nearly one in three were above the age of 50
- In particular, through Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs)
- Close to 5,000 people were re-skilled and employed
- Most of the PCP participants do well
- About two-thirds were recognised for their newly acquired skills, and
- Received higher wages than before
- In essence, the Adapt and Grow initiative is career mobility in action
- It helps people extend their career runways
- Through taking on new job roles
Technological Changes in the Accountancy Sector
- Transformation may make some people uncomfortable, but in fact, it is nothing new for the accounting sector.
- In the last 20 years, with the proliferation of computers, electronic worksheets were introduced.
- The demand for manual work such as bookkeeping, has been declining and will likely disappear in the near future.
- Today, the sector is undergoing another wave of transformation,
- Artificial intelligence, blockchain and cloud computing are changing how accounting firms function.
- Smart companies know they must lead in technology adoption to stay ahead of the curve.
- New jobs roles in forensic accounting, risk consulting, business valuation and tax advisory, have emerged
- There are about a hundred thousand accounting professionals in Singapore
- Taking on a wide range of job roles, from financial accounting, external and internal audits, and tax advisory services.
- These job roles will change.
Increasing strategic importance of Management Accountants
- Management Accountants, for example, performed analytics at mostly fundamental levels
- They rely on descriptive and diagnostic analytics to provide explanations on what has happened and why it has happened.
- Today, Management Accountants need to be conversant with the latest data analytics tools
- They are expected to go a step further to provide top management and other key stakeholders with more in-depth insights
- so that companies, including our SMEs,
- can make better business decisions
- Management Accountants play an essential role in the whole ecosystem and are increasingly in demand. As long as you hold a substantive role in companies, you can be assured of good careers.
Bridging manpower gaps
- At today’s event, we will launch a new PCP for Management Accountants.
- The new PCP will give mid-career switchers or displaced individuals with an accounting background
- The opportunity to be reskilled and upskilled
- To move into this in-demand role
- And achieve career mobility.
- This PCP is the third in the Accountancy Sector that WSG is launching under the A&G initiative
- WSG had previously introduced PCPs for Internal Auditors and Financial Forensic Professionals
- to fill niche and in-demand roles
- This is done in close consultation with the Singapore Accountancy Commission,
- As well as professional bodies, such as Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Internal Auditors
- The current PCPs, together with other A&G programmes, have helped Singaporeans achieve career mobility in the accounting sector. I hope the newest PCP will benefit more.
- When CIMA first formed in 1919,
- it was out of the need for the accounting profession to better serve both businesses and the public
- A century later, it is one of the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants.
- I am encouraged that CIMA continues to work closely with employers and the workforce to ensure that the profession remains relevant in a fast-changing business world
- I encourage you to embrace technology as both employers and employees can benefit from the opportunities to transform.
- Walk this tech journey together and new pathways are bound to open up. I wish you all an enjoyable evening. Thank you.