Rising cost of fuel, higher education top concerns for businesses, says reportKUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — According to a new report by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA (Institute of Management Accountants), respondents across the Asia-Pacific region cited the rise in energy and fuel prices as the most pressing issue facing businesses in the immediate future, with 72 per cent of senior executives identifying it as the most important factor for their future plans.
The report entitled Drivers of Change in Asia-Pacific states that Malaysian respondents were more sensitive to rises in fuel and energy costs than other respondents across the region.
It was also revealed that respondents from Malaysia highlighted the increased cost and accessibility of higher education as their second most critical driver of change in the short term. This differs to that across the Asia-Pacific region, which ranked cyber security challenges for businesses as its second change driver.
Jennifer Lopez, head of ACCA Malaysia, said: “In looking at the future challenges and opportunities facing businesses in Malaysia and the wider Asia-Pacific region, we get more than just a snapshot of the business landscape today.
While it might be predictable for finance and senior executives to both identify fuel and energy costs as an issue in the short-term, it is encouraging to see both roles looking to the same factors well into the next 10 years and beyond.”
In the medium term (i.e. 2016-2022), the factor businesses said would be top of the Asia-Pacific corporate agenda was the increased need for accountants to take on a business partner role and have a broader skillset within the company, with 82 per cent of senior executives and 72 per cent of accountants citing it as critical to their future business plans.
The report also shows the growing prominence of non-financial information reporting and integrated reporting in businesses with three-quarters of senior executives who took part in the survey rating it as a major consideration for their future plans to 2022.
Lopez adds: “It’s interesting to note that Malaysian respondents rated these two drivers higher than otherwise reported across the region. This just goes to show that the CFO and the accountancy function will play an increasingly central role in business.”
This survey was part of a wider global report, involving more than 550 accountants and business leaders from different sectors across Asia-Pacific markets, including Malaysia, China and Hong Kong, who offered their insights into future drivers for change. — Bernama