2019 - April
Address by Mr Kon Yin Tong, President, Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants at the SAA Global Education Graduation Ceremony on Sunday, 28 April 2019, at Concorde Hotel
28 Apr 2019 Category: Speeches
Mr Sithawalla, Deputy Chairman of Malvern International Plc
Ladies and Gentlemen
A very good morning to all of you.
It is my pleasure to join you on this happy occasion. Congratulations to each and every one of the graduands. I’m sure it has taken a lot of hard work, commitment and discipline to reach this educational milestone. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge those who have steadfastly supported you in this journey – your family, lecturers and friends.
As a longstanding education provider of accounting and finance programmes, SAA Global Education plays an important role in developing the accountancy talent pipeline. SAA-GE is ISCA‘s tuition provider for the ISCA-Accredited Accounting Technician programme, which provides a pathway to the ISCA Affiliate membership. SAA-GE is also the tuition provider for the Association of Taxation Technicians Singapore (or ATTS) Specialist Tax Certificate, which is a pathway to the Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals’ Accredited Tax Practitioner membership.
SAA-GE is also an education provider for the preparatory course for the Singapore CA Qualification’s Foundation and Professional programmes. Completion of the Singapore CA Qualification Professional programme leads to the Chartered Accountant of Singapore designation, which is conferred by ISCA.
Institutions such as SAA-GE play a role in preparing aspiring accountants and professionals like yourselves for the future. I am sure many of you here today have heard the term Industry 4.0. Also known as the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 is permeated by Artificial Intelligence, digitalisation, robotics, Internet of Things, computerisation and data analytics. With Industry 4.0, we can expect the change of pace to accelerate even faster.
Now, what do all these developments mean for you? I would like to share a quote by futurist Alvin Toffler, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
The ability to adapt and re-skill is a critical skill as the world continues to transform. We need to adapt not just to changes in technology, but also fundamentally the way we think and work.
ISCA has been preparing the accountancy profession for the future amid the changing business landscape. We recognise the importance of lifelong learning and continuous professional development for accountancy professionals to stay ahead of the curve.
Many of you here today will be receiving a degree in finance or accountancy. Some of you may have completed other equivalent qualifications. I encourage those who are interested in pursuing a career in accountancy to join ISCA as an Associate member. As an ISCA member, you will be recognised as a skilled accountancy professional backed by the national accountancy body.
But the journey does not stop there. You can go on to take the Singapore CA Qualification programme, and attain the prestigious Chartered Accountant of Singapore professional designation upon completing the programme.
Many of our members continue to deepen their expertise and embark on specialisation pathways that offer professional recognition and specialised skills in sought-after areas, such as financial forensics, data analytics. ISCA is also working on specialisation pathways in infrastructure finance and cybersecurity.
As an accountancy professional, you must be committed to continuous learning. At ISCA, we have a plethora of resources in the form of conferences and seminars, courses and guidance materials to keep you one step ahead of the changes to come. To enable our members to take charge of their professional development, we have produced learning roadmaps to guide our members in mapping their professional development journeys.
The Professional Accountants in Business (or PAIB) Framework and corresponding PAIB Learning Roadmap guide financial and management accountants on key competencies and skills required at different proficiency levels, while the Small and Medium Practice Learning Roadmap details the skill sets and related learning needs for local accountancy SMEs.
I have shared quite a lot about the importance of acquiring knowledge and new skills. No doubt this is important, but what really determines your success in life is your mindset, values and attitude.
At the fundamental level, you must always live your life with integrity. In life, there will be times when you will be faced with difficult choices. It is important at these junctures to choose the right path, which may not necessarily be the easiest path. But I can assure you that those who walk the straight and narrow path of ethics and integrity will never be led astray.
Another quality that is vital is having respect for others. In the working world, you will have the privilege to encounter people from all walks of life. Be respectful of individual differences and show empathy instead of judgment. Listen to understand, not to respond. That is one way you can show respect. By treating others with respect, you will also be able to gain their respect. This will enable you to build fruitful, happy relationships, which is important to your success in not only your professional but also your personal lives.
As I look across the room, I see many young faces whose lives are full of potential. I hope my sharing has been useful to you. Life is full of infinite possibilities for you, and I hope you will make full use of all the opportunities presented to you, to grow, to develop and to be the best version of yourself.
Many of you may be at the start of your journey as an accountancy professional. As an accountant myself, I can tell you that I have found it fulfilling and rewarding, and I continue to enjoy myself every day even though I have been in the profession for close to 30 years.
Congratulations once again on your well-deserved achievements, and I wish each of you a fulfilling and inspiring professional journey ahead.