Moving forward with Cipag

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Part Three

Innovation (the “I” in this Cipag series of articles) should be in the DNA of my fellow professional accountants. I have long been invoking it since 2015, and we should already be adapting to the many innovations brought about by various developments in our digital and learning community.

 In my various talks as then-chairman of the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy, I have been referring to the catchy phrase “Future is now” to bring the message that the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Age of Technology are now in our midst. I have been citing the many developments that have emerged, such as the Internet of Things, robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, cloud hosting and computing, technology tools and applications, data analytics, cyber security, sustainability and integrated reporting, blockchain, XBRL reporting and others.

The message is clear: As accountants, we should be updating our learning and competencies to be able to keep up with the fast pace of innovation and advancement. Though the knowledge and skills that we currently have are still workable for our purpose, we should be aware that it is only a matter of time that these may become obsolete and inadequate. We have been hearing that robots may soon replace accountants in the workplace, but I personally believe that the human accountant will continue to be relied upon in the years to come. However, we should now start embracing the DNA of innovation. Let us initially be aware of the technological developments affecting our profession. We can simply browse the Internet to read up on what is happening in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Thereafter, we can start upgrading our skills based on what we are able to discover—the essential competencies that we must have. Knowing new skills should not be difficult since we have been used to the habit of continuing professional development and life long learning.

Another area where innovation can present opportunities to the practicing accountant is in the area of providing more value-added services to clients. Many practicing Certified Public Accountants often limit their engagements to providing auditing services. There is a field of opportunity awaiting the innovative CPA who would venture in value-added consulting services. The services can cover the various requirements of businesses, including data analytics, cyber security, digital transformation, data privacy, internal audit, systems and process review, appraisal, due diligence, agreed upon procedures, integrated and sustainability reporting and even compilation. The CPA, of course, should first get the needed expertise to be able to expand his or her service offerings. The expertise can be derived from training, or by collaborating with experts who are already engaged on these services. Having a spirit of innovation means a brighter future for an accountant.

To my fellow accountants, you should start your journey ofinnovation now.

To be continued

Joel L. Tan-Torres is a Certified Public Accountant who placed No. 1 in the May 1979 CPA Board Examinations. He was the former commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue from 2009 to 2010 and the chairman of the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy from 2014 to August 2018. He is a partner of Reyes Tacandong & Co.

This column accepts contributions from accountants, especially articles that are of interest to the accountancy profession, in particular, and to the business community, in general. These can be e-mailed to [email protected]