ACCA and University of Madras Partner to Spotlight Urgent Need for Upskilling among Accountants in India

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ACCA and UniversityChennai, August 30, 2023: ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), the global body for professional accountants, in partnership with the Department of Commerce, University of Madras, deliberated on the future of the accounting profession through their recently held seminar in Chennai on “Proactive Accounting: Driving the Future of Industry Transformation”. Attended by finance industry leaders and academicians, the event stressed upon the urgent need for upskilling among accountants in India to meet the fast-evolving industry demands and technological advancements.

Among the primary objectives of the seminar were to discuss the evolving role of finance in business, the cutting-edge skill sets and mindsets required of future accountants, the profound influence that data, technology, and AI are expected to have on accountancy, and methods to improve industry-academia collaboration in the finance sector. This invite-only seminar was attended by a diverse audience, including professors and faculty from the Commerce and Business Administration departments of affiliated colleges of the University of Madras, educational partners of ACCA in Tamil Nadu, and M.Com students of the University of Madras.

Addressing the attendees, Dr. S. Elumalai, Registrar, University of Madras, said, “Technology and data sciences are reshaping the accounting profession, demanding a shift in both curriculum and mindset. As educators, we must equip students to embrace these changes and upskill for the future. Accounting systems must align with market demands. Technology is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a fundamental workplace skill. Let’s empower a new generation of accountants to thrive in this evolving landscape.

Christopher S Dhas, Head of Education Partner Relationships – South India, ACCA, added, “The accounting profession has evolved from its traditional role to become trusted advisors to management, offering strategic business insights. This evolution is due to the rise of data and technology, which have transformed the way accountants work. Accountants are now able to access and analyse large amounts of data in real-time, which allows them to provide more informed advice to their clients. Additionally, changes in organisational structure and human capital have created new opportunities for accountants to play a more strategic role in businesses. As a result, accountants are increasingly seen as partners in the decision-making process, rather than simply as record-keepers.”

Other speakers at the seminar included Dr R Rangarajan, Professor and Head of the Department of Commerce, University of Madras, Dr P Natarajan, Head, Department of Commerce, Pondicherry University, Anantha Subramanian, Assistant Vice President Finance, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Dimple Sait, Learning & Development Leader at Philips University and Kumara Vadivelan Saravanan, Director – GBS Accounting Operations, Ford Business Solutions.

Panelists also shared their early career experiences and highlighted the transforming impact of technology in making routine tasks faster and easier. The industry experts also stressed the need to encourage upskilling among faculty and students training for the latest trends and software through conferences and workshops. They also stressed the rising significance of elevating ethics in accounting education and ESG reporting with India mandating Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) for top-listed companies.