“Speak out, don’t be afraid”, British envoy tells chartered accountants

Speak out and play a part in encouraging and fostering a climate favourable for wealth creation and entrepreneurial activity, British High Commissioner James Dauris has told Sri Lanka’s chartered accountants.

In more words of advice, he said: “Holding government to account and representing the interest of the business community are critical functions of business leaders in any country. Speak out against things that are not good enough or makes them (accountants) fed up. Speak out about the things that improperly get in the way of your business ambition.”

He was speaking as chief guest last week at the 39th National Conference of Chartered Accountants held at the BMICH, Colombo.

Prof. Lalith Gamage, Vice Chancellor/CEO, Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) making his presentation as the Guest of Honour spoke on the theme ‘Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Business, Industry and Society’.

Some of the texts of the presentations made at the conference suggested whether the ‘Artificial Intelligence’ would replace human activity.

Prof. Gamage, at the tail end of his presentation, showed a video clip where a robot lifts a box places it on the ground and on a rack somewhat identical to a human being doing. It showed a person, pushing the robot with a stick little away, when the robot was trying to lift another box on the ground. But the robot returns and tries to lift the box again.

He said that if one looked at 2005 robots and compare with the robot today, in 2018, there is a great difference. “It is all about the intelligence that they have put into the robotic system,” he said.

The conference held for two days is considered as the biggest business summit in Sri Lanka that included locally and internationally acclaimed visionaries, decision makers, business leaders and entrepreneurs. This year’s conference set a new record with over 2,000 participants.

Jagath Perera, President, CA Sri Lanka said that there has been a considerable impact on the role of the accountancy profession with the influence of disruptive technologies. He said that this has renewed the call for them as professional accountants to comprehend the need to adapt with time, while understanding that technology is here to stay.

He stressed that they have to work with it and not against it. He indicated that in that way it has become increasingly important for professionals including chartered accountants to take bold strides and leap forward to evolve in their professional role.

Tony Weerasinghe, Chairman/ CEO, Usstocktrade and founder Millennium IT as keynote speaker highlighted the ever changing times and the changing roles of professionals including the accountants. He said that the world is changing so fast that the future goes as fast as the present, indicating, “The only thing constant is change, so you have to hyper leap”.

With regard to the future role of accountants, he said that amidst reports that by 2030 some two billion jobs will disappear, he explained that the accountants, including chartered accountants will not fall into the redundant category. He said that accountants are more important than ever, because they are the number crunching people and only they understand numbers well.

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