A risk generally refers to a threat or setback that stands in the way of achieving a goal. For a members-based Institute like us, the ability to fulfil our mission as the national accountancy body ultimately depends on the support of our members.
Members join the Institute to advance their professional goals, taking advantage of our training, accreditation and networking programmes. We risk losing our relevance if we are unable to offer the value that members seek.
A decrease in membership numbers will result in fewer resources and revenue for us, especially as membership fees are one of the main sources of our revenue stream. A smaller base will reduce our capacity to offer existing programmes, and hinder the roll-out of new initiatives to benefit members.
Our ability to effectively represent the views of our members as a professional accountancy body also depends to a large extent on the strength of our membership. A shrinking base will weaken our voice when engaging the government and other stakeholders, and affect our standing in the global accountancy arena. All these contribute to make the Institute less appealing to prospective members.
We work hard to engender the support of our members, thus furthering our sustainability. We will continue to adapt and respond quickly to a dynamic external environment where financial regulations, accounting and auditing practices are constantly evolving.
Although the slowing economic environment has cast a pall on business, the accountancy profession will remain an integral part of every business organisation.
As the nature of business transforms and more cross-border transactions take place, we will help members to meet the changing demands on, and additional expectations of, accounting professionals.
Accountants are increasingly being required to take on new, higher-order roles. Our responsibility is to equip members with the latest skills and knowhow to help them step up to these new challenges, and attain a competitive edge. To do this, we must keep in touch with the latest developments, and also be able to transfer the knowledge to our members in the most effective ways.
Keeping ourselves in the know about current issues and trends in international accounting, auditing and tax standards will bolster our ability to carry out our role as a partner to the government and stakeholders in transforming Singapore into a leading global accountancy hub.
Tapping on talents
The collective expertise and capability of our staff, and our organisational efficiency, are critical to our ability to implement the strategies set forth by the Council. The staff provide support to the various committees, organise events and activities for members, and deliver programmes under ISCA’s centres of excellence. Thus, it is important that we are able to recruit and retain the best people for these responsibilities. Without them, our ability to carry out our role as the national accountancy body will be severely impacted. This is especially pertinent in a tight labour market where the competition for talent is intense.
We must maintain an exemplary human resource policy that meets an individual’s aspirations for fulfilment and development. Otherwise, we risk losing our ability to recruit and retain talents, which will adversely affect our ability to implement programmes that can attract more members to join the Institute.
Rapid advances in technology pose both risks and opportunities to us, and the broader accountancy sector we serve.
Disruptive technologies have spawned innovative business models, and in particular, financial technologies are making the impossible possible – for example, data analytics can provide meaning to a mass of information, and accounting software can substantially improve productivity. But the advent of technology also brings with it attendant dangers linked to cyber security and money laundering and the financing of terrorism resources. Responding to these trends, we will ensure that our programmes can adequately equip members with the skills to reap the benefits of existing and emerging technologies, and also the competencies to avoid the problems.
Technology has led to a rise in web-based academic and professional education in recent years. Massive open online courses has emerged as a credible model for delivering course content online to anyone who wants to take a course, with little limitation on attendance.
This emerging form of learning could potentially threaten the more traditional classroom-based model offered by institutions such as ISCA. Leveraging the advantage of technology, we have launched an e-learning library with over 400 courses that members can easily access at their own time and convenience.
A fast-revolving business environment means that knowledge and skills have a shorter shelf life, and the Internet has become an essential platform for learners to pick up new knowledge and stay relevant over the course of their careers. As such, we will continue to capitalise on web-based learning to further our mission.