As disruption becomes part and parcel in today’s continuously evolving world, the increasing need for Chartered Accountants to boldly leap forward, if they are to thrive in the professional realm was highlighted at the recently concluded 39th National Conference of Chartered Accountants organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka).
Delivering the keynote address at the inauguration, Sri Lankan IT visionary and pioneer, Mr. Tony Weeresinghe, Chairman/CEO of Ustocktrade, LLC, who is also the Founder of MillenniumIT elaborated on the continuously changing times and the changing roles of professionals including accountants. Kicking off his presentation, Mr. Weeresinghe said that the world is changing so fast that the future goes as fast as the present. “The only thing constant is change, so you have to hyper leap,” he said, while adding that big will no longer beat small, instead the fast will beat the slow.
Highlighting the future role of accountants amidst reports that by 2030 some 2 billion jobs will disappear, Mr. Weeresinghe explained that accountants including Chartered Accountants will not fall into the redundant category. “According to me, you are more important than ever, because you are the number crunching people, and only you understand numbers well,” he said.
Speaking further, Mr. Weeresinghe added that instead of serving a single company as they are known to do traditionally, accountants may in the future work for multiple organisations under new job roles, while moving away from the conventional Finance Director or CFO designations.
Elaborating on his point further, Mr. Weeresinghe said that his company, Ustocktrade trades over US $ 2 billion and is regulated by the world’s strictest regulators with connections to all major banks. “But, I don’t have a full time accountant,” he said.
Mr. Weeresinghe further noted that due to the nature of his company, he has to give the regulators an audited report every month. “I have a part time accountant who comes every month for four hours to check the books and then I have a Fin Op, who is similar to a CFO or Finance Director, who comes once a month to look at the report and sign off. This is the reality,” he said.
British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Mr. James Dauris who was the Chief Guest at the event said that it pays to think bold and it pays to look beyond what shackles one’s ambitions. “Success lies in not ignoring the barriers and constraints, but recognizing them for what they are and getting past them and leaping over them,” he said.
Mr. Dauris also urged the Chartered Accountants to play their part in encouraging and fostering a climate favourable for wealth creation, and entrepreneurial activity. He said that holding government to account and representing the interest of the business community are critical functions of business leaders in any country. “Speak out against things that are not good enough or makes you fed up. Speak out about the things that improperly get in the way of your business ambition. Your voices as captains of the business industry, as Chartered Accountants matter. You need to promote professionalism and enhance the levels of integrity and ethical business conduct and push for the same from the government,” Mr. Dauris said.
He added that if acted united, then the Chartered Accountants will have the power to be a formidable force.
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) Prof. Lalith Gamage, who was the Guest of Honour shed light on several projects he was currently handling with the assistance of robotics. Among the projects, Prof. Gamage said he was working on was a stock market index predictor as well as two devices, one to detect sleep apnea, and the other to detect cancer early.