AccTech Centre: Helping SMEs Innovate and Digitalise Accounting Processes
10 November is designated as the International Accounting Day. As the world moves towards digitalisation, the accounting industry must evolve to embrace technologies and innovation to keep up with rapidly evolving business practices.
A joint initiative between SIT and Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC), the Accounting Technology & Innovation Centre (AccTech Centre) is a resource centre that facilitates collaborations and catalyses technological and business innovation in the accounting sector. Through AccTech Centre, local accounting entities have the opportunity to work with SIT faculty, technology partners, and government agencies to innovate processes, service delivery, products, and business models.
Automating Bookkeeping and Manual Processes
An inaugural run of the workshop on "Data Analytics Skills for Accountants" by the AccTech Centre on 27-28 February 2020.
Since its launch in late 2019, the AccTech Centre has worked on several projects that help accounting and auditing firms digitise their manual processes. For instance, the Centre is working with a Singapore-based firm that provides professional incorporation, accounting, tax, immigration and compliance services for start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The firm is looking for a system to automate the bookkeeping and financial reporting process with minimal human intervention. To this end, the AccTech Centre has partnered with the firm to work on a customised automation software, with the help of SIT professors and students. This technological solution will shorten the time needed to prepare and process each financial statement, hence improving productivity at work. The automation prototype can also potentially be applied to the bookkeeping processes involving similar purchase-and-sale invoices in other SMEs.
Additionally, AccTech Centre is also working with two other firms to digitise their audit job scheduling process. Currently, the scheduling of the audit staff is processed manually on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. To improve this manual scheduling process, the AccTech Centre is proposing a job scheduling system which can automate and ensure a smooth transition of data and allocation of resources to jobs, based on the budgets and business requirements of each audit firm.
A/Prof Kevin Ow Yong (middle) with his team and clients from BDO, one of the audit firms that AccTech Centre is working with.
According to a survey done with charities and institutions of a public character (IPCs) in Singapore, more than half do not have a formally defined risk management (RM) policy. To plug this gap, AccTech Centre has partnered with several charity organisations to develop an Automated Knowledge Base Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) system. Working with a systems vendor, the Centre helped to develop a RM and internal control knowledge base, which is embedded in a commercially tested ERM system.
These projects exemplify SIT’s capabilities in supporting the local accounting sector, especially the SMEs, in adopting innovative technologies.
In August 2020, the AccTech Centre was a supporting partner of the Accounting Innovation Challenge (AIC) 2020, co-organised by SAC and CPA Australia. Held annually, the AIC brings together the accounting industry, technology start-ups and education institutions to collaborate and co-create innovative solutions to address common business challenges faced in the sector. The challenge was open to coders, designers, entrepreneurs, professionals and students.
Associate Professor Kevin Ow Yong, Head, AccTech Centre, gave a talk on ‘Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Accounting’ at the virtual event. “The digital journey represents a significant milestone for many SMEs, and we hope to help facilitate their progress towards data analytics and AI,” added A/Prof Ow Yong.
The AccTech Centre has plans to partner with AI Singapore to conduct an AI Clinic – an industry development programme that aims to create and sustain an AI-savvy economy for Singapore. This programme will help further accelerate the catalytic process, as well as guide companies and data science/machine learning champions to understand AI principles and applications in a programmatic manner, starting from their very first project.
Click here for more information on the AccTech Centre.