SINGAPORE (Oct 11): CPA Australia has partnered Singapore’s NTUC and Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) to launch a new training programme for accounting and finance professionals.

Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) will be eligible for training subsidies of over 40% of the course fees.

Called Finance for the Future, the new suite of 20 courses will offer training in the key areas of Finance Operations, Advanced Finance Operations, Business Operations, and Advanced Business Operations.

In a press release on Wednesday, CPA Australia says the programmes to expand professionals’ technical skills in areas like key accounting standards, financial risk management and taxation; as well as business competencies such as data analytics, design thinking and business ethics.

The pathways offered by Finance for the Future also support upward mobility to cater to the needs of professionals progressing from junior-mid level positions to management roles, adds the accounting body.

Citing results from a study commissioned in partnership with EY, CPA Australia highlights that eight in 10 finance leaders surveyed have been found to lack the skills to meet their job requirements in the next decade. Some six in 10 survey participants said they found the new curriculum offered by education and professional bodies inadequate to develop “future-ready skills”.

At the same time, the accounting body notes how emerging greenfield technologies are presently creating new roles in the accountancy sector to give rise to occupations such as data specialists, change managers and business advisors.

“[The survey’s] findings are a wake-up call for all stakeholders in future-skilling our accounting and finance professionals because the profession is facing unprecedented change, with disruptive technology making low-value roles redundant,” says Melvin Yong, Singapore Country Head at CPA Australia and Executive Chairman of PwC Singapore.

“Collaboration between organisations, professional bodies and the government is important to help equip the workforce with future-ready tools and knowledge,” he adds.

The new initiative was announced to 480 businesses, finance and accounting professionals at the CPA Congress 2017, which was organised by CPA Australia and took place today at Raffles City Convention Centre.

This year’s CPA Congress was based on the theme “Connecting the biggest minds”, and discussed the latest pertinent issues faced by businesses including digital innovation strategy, futureproofing finance capabilities, leveraging the gig economy, data privacy, and design thinking.

The event was attended by guest of honour Heng Chee How, Deputy Secretary-General, NTUC and Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office.

“The Finance for the Future programme has been designed to cater to current trends and future needs of the finance function. We hope the flexibility of bite-size learning will encourage a discipline of continuous learning among accounting and finance professionals amidst their busy schedules to keep their knowledge ahead of the curve,” says Yong.