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CA Sri Lanka Vice President says ‘Accountants need to stay relevant, up-to-date, if to maintain demand & importance’

Vice President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) Mr. Lasantha Wickremasinghe, recently underscored the importance for accountants to stay relevant, and up to date if they are to maintain their demand and importance.

Delivering a speech on ‘Accounting Education & Global Business Outsourcing’ at the 2015 IDeA Night, organised by the Department of Accountancy of the University of Kelaniya, he emphasized that accountants are an integral part of an organization and in a country at large, and play a leading role in managing the sustainability of an organisation. “Today, accountants, including members of CA Sri Lanka give leadership at the highest positions for leading organizations,” he said.

Our members are not ‘just’ accountants, they are chairmen, managing directors, and CEOs, among other high profile positions,” Mr. Wickremasinghe pointed out. He however noted that with globalization and the vast strides in information technology, there has been a dramatic change in the overall business environment.

“These changes have brought new challenges not only to businesses and professionals, but also to education,” he said, adding that, having understood the importance of remaining relevant, CA Sri Lanka made IT a key pillar in the new CA Sri Lanka curriculum, which came into effect this year, to ensure that the future chartered accountants encompasses not only knowledge in accountancy, but other areas which are important in making him or her a smart professional in every sense.

“As professionals, and future professionals, when we talk of staying relevant and ensuring that we be in line with changing trends, we can’t ignore the increasing importance of global business outsourcing,” Mr. Wickremasinghe said.

He elaborated that in the current economic landscape, outsourcing has become a cost-effective way for organizations to attain and sustain operational excellence. He also said that Finance and Accounting Outsourcing, more commonly known as FAO is one of the fastest-growing areas of outsourcing, delivering significant payback to organizations.

“Global business outsourcing provides freedom and flexibility to businesses that might otherwise be limited. Businesses that utilize global outsourcing are better positioned to adapt and grow while ensuring quality in the services and products they provide,” Mr. Wickremasinghe said.

He said that with a growing labor market and a challenging economic situation, large and small firms are making the push to outsource professional services to highly skilled personnel in less expensive labour markets.

Hence, he noted that the accounting education system should be geared to cater to this requirement and by doing that, Sri Lanka can generate the required skilled accounting employees for the global outsourcing market.

“We understand the fact that accounting plays a critical role in economic development through instituting transparent quality financial reporting which facilitate mobilization of domestic and foreign investment, and creating a sound financial landscape. Therefore, it is important for both universities and professional bodies to ensure that the accounting education and the curriculum they offer are in line with present international standards and demands,” Mr. Wickremasinghe highlighted.

He added that as professional bodies and universities, there was a constantly changing and challenging role, where it was important to ensure both professional bodies and universities produce world class accountants, who will give leadership to all sectors, including the rapidly growing FAO sector.

“To meet the local and global development needs, CA Sri Lanka has initiated an important programme to offer a specialized qualification for the FAO sector. I believe that this will help to change the face of our professionals who are keen to pursue a career in the outsourcing business, and will undoubtedly help Sri Lanka to become an important FAO destination,” Mr. Wickremasinghe added.

Full text of the speech delivered by Mr. Lasantha Wickremasinghe