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AAT Sri Lanka Conference concludes on high note PDF Print E-mail

 

The 14th Annual Conference of the Association of Accounting Technicians of Sri Lanka (AAT Sri Lanka) was concluded under the patronage of Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe, Prime Minister as Chief Guest at Hotel Galadari recently under the theme “Digitalization – Accountants’ Role”. The inauguration ceremony was attended by high profile government and corporate leaders. Hon. Harin Fernando Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, graced the occasion as keynote speaker highlighting the importance of digitalization in the context of the country’s development effort.

 

In the course of his address Honorable Prime Minister revealed some significant objectives to be achieved which are important to the financial accounting education industry of the country. The main objective would be to stabilize the economy and reduce the debt burden within the next 5 years, while simultaneously increasing the phase of economic growth. He highlighted the necessity of modernizing the education system to be suitable to produce professionals with unique skills and capabilities. He added that 13 years of compulsory education would be implemented so that each person in the younger generation would be equipped with at least one skill or professional qualification that will pave the way to a knowledge-based economy. Hon. Prime Minister responded to a request made by the president of AAT Sri Lanka, Mr. J.M.U.B. Jayasekera and ensured Incorporation of the Association by an Act of Parliament in consideration of the useful work performed by the Association.

 

Hon. PM agreed to assist AAT by providing funds to provide training to its students and members. He also requested that AAT should identify accounting technicians in public sector, provide educational support to them to upgrade them. For the purpose, Hon. PM requested that AAT Sri Lanka and CA Sri Lanka should submit a joint proposal to the government to allocate requested funds.

 

Hon. Harin Fernando, Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure simplified and explained the meaning of Digitalization as “bringing life into ones finger tips”. Considered in a broader sense, Digitalization of Accountants’ role is “to change the way” in which accounting standards are being implemented. “From the perspective of digitalization, we will provide the infrastructure needed for Digital Commerce” he added. He also mentioned that a system will be implemented to issue a Digital National Identity Card and the Digital Transaction Card to every citizen of the country. The Minister highlighted the importance of effecting a cultural change to ensure that Sri Lanka is also moving forward in the pace in which the rest of the world is moving.

 

Addressing the inaugural session, the President of AAT Sri Lanka, Mr. J.M.U.B. Jayasekera said, “From the inception we were able to survive as a Self-funded organization. We offer scholarships to needy students, conduct National Schools Best Annual Report and Accounts Award as a CSR initiative, and many other social events. We serve the entire SME sector, who can’t afford to hire costly professional accountants. Our members serve all around the country.” He requested the Hon. Prime Minister to consider the social service AAT Sri Lanka has rendered to the nation and grant 5 humble requests. One was the Incorporation of AAT Sri Lanka by an Act of Parliament enabling AAT members to celebrate its’ 30th Anniversary in 2017 with a Parliamentary Approved AAT Sri Lanka. Next he requested to create a Public Sector Accounting Technicians Service and to provide financial assistance to Art Undergraduates in State Universities to follow AAT programs. Also he requested the Hon. Prime Minister to consider nominating an Accounting Technician to serve in “School Management Boards” which is suggested in the education policy and to introduce an Act compelling to maintain proper accounting records in the SME sector.

 

Stimulating Technical Sessions followed on the next day (2nd November 2016) to coincide with the substance and the significance of the conference theme presented by eminent resource personnel. The following topics were discussed by eminent resource personnel. “Digitalization-A Game Changer”, “Revolutionized Finance in a Digital Era”, “How to Reimagine HR in today’s Context” & “How Safe is Your Data”. The conference facilitated exchange of profound expertise of 16 resource personnel in chosen fields.

 

Session one titled “Digitalization-A Game Changer” was presented by Mr. Fariq Cader. The panel discussion was chaired by Mr. Rohan Jayaweera while Mr. Dulith Herath and Mr. Sujith Subasinghe served as panelists. During the session, it was explained that Digitalization is a beginning of a new era which transforms the lives of people and the way the businesses are being conducted. The importance of maintaining the necessary pace with global modernization was highlighted in order to accelerate consumer power alongside the competition. It was stated that organizations that possess the digital capability have become more powerful than their competitors. On the other hand, digital transformation is a remarkable opportunity of which the reward could be enormous.

 

“Revolutionized Finance in a Digital Era” the session 2 was presented by Mr. Dushan Soza. Mr. Reyaz Mihular chaired the session while Mr. Jehan Perinpanayagam and Ms. B.A.D.D. Herath contributed as the two panelists. This session highlighted that whilst the role of Accountants are being digitalized, new threats are being immerged by way of Cyber Security such as hackers’ penetration to the servers and financial information. Therefore, accountants will have to keep abreast and ahead of the curve to become the preferred employees, lead new tasks such as leading the particular organization toward international security standards to secure company’s assets and financial data and mitigate and safe guard company’s confidential information.

 

Session 3 was about “How to Reimagine HR in today’s Context” which was presented by Prof. Ajantha Dharmasiri and chaired by Prof. M. Thilakasiri. Mr. Dilan Gooneratne and Mr. Samantha Rathnayake contributed as the panelists. The presentation explored the prospects of going digital while being diligent in treating the most important asset of the organization, the human capital. It was noted that managing a multi-cultural, multi-generational and multi-skilled employee base is identified as a key challenge the modern day HR professionals have to face. In order to be green, lean and seen HR professionals have to put their acts together in strengthening the needed critical competencies.

 

Both Dr. Kasun De Zoysa and Mr. Sujit Christy made 2 valuable presentations on “How Safe is Your Data” and the session was chaired by Mr. Thilak Pathirage. Mr. Jayantha Fernando was also in the panel as a panelist. This session gave an overview of technologies that enforce data confidentiality in storage especially in cloud computing scenarios. It was concluded that the present technologies are insufficient to process confidential data due to non-providence of confidentiality and integrity security services in storage. It was noted that digital security is the next evolution in cyber security to protect the pervasive digital presence. Although the impact of digitalization is not new, the digital economy is entering a new age that presents unprecedented challenges for all organizations.

 

The Annual Conference of AAT Sri Lanka is recognized as one of the most anticipated events especially among SME sector key personnel which enable them to build repute as a thought provoking summit spurring insights on broad economic and business issues apart from its core emphasis on finance related topics. Participating in the conference was believed to add value to knowledge and shape up skills on many aspects demanded by both the profession and the personality of the participants. The Conference also served as a platform to network among the AAT Sri Lanka fraternity.

 

 

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