Experts discuss the evolving role of finance
December 15 2016 10:22 PM
Manil Jayasinghe, Head of Financial Advisory Services in Earnst&Young (EY) Sri Lanka, was the keynot
Manil Jayasinghe, Head of Financial Advisory Services in Earnst&Young (EY) Sri Lanka, was the keynote speaker.

By Umer Nangiana

With fast changing business dynamics and economic environments, the skills required for financial analysis are constantly evolving too. The local chapter of Sri Lankan chartered accountants recently held a conference for its members on finding ways to meet future challenges in the finance design sector.
Hosted by Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, Qatar Chapter at Radisson Blu, the conference included a presentation by a finance industry expert, followed by a roundtable discussion on the subject of “Designing a Finance Function to Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges.”
Besides members of the Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, Qatar Chapter, the conference was attended by a large number of professionals from CA India-Qatar Chapter and IIA-Qatar Chapter, along with professionals invited from the corporate sector.
“With the new challenges, the role of a finance functionary itself is expected to change and evolve in future. The finance function has taken a new dimension. From a person who used to analyse past data, the role is going to change into a person who forecasts the future shape of an organisation,” Manil Jayasinghe, Head of Financial Advisory Services in Earnst&Young (EY) Sri Lanka, told the audience at the conference.
Having more than 28 years of experience in financial audit, advisory and reporting, Jayasinghe was the keynote speaker at the conference. In his presentation to the audience, he stressed that the historical transaction processing by the finance personnel will be totally changed in future – more precisely the digital future.
“The role is expected to require accountants, finance managers and controllers to acquire new sets of skills to meet the demands of the digital future,” he said.
The role of the finance function in organisations has emerged into a new dimension, alongside their traditional mandate to provide financial insights and analysis. Finance functions in the modern era describe a greater involvement in supporting and developing strategy besides guiding key business initiatives, he explained.
The conference was aimed at enabling those in attendance understand the new dynamics of the changing role of finance professionals in future and push them to grow further into acquiring new skills to meet the demands.
The presentation was followed by a panel discussion, which included industry specialists as panellists including Gary Symmons, CFO at Qatar Fertilizer Company, and Sundaresan Rajeshwar, Chief Internal Auditor at Teyseer Group.
Rizwan Yaseen, Director at KPMG Qatar, was the host of the panel discussion. The panellists provided the audience with useful insights from their local experience and shared valuable inputs on the nature of the role that the finance professionals might be expected to fulfil in the near future.
The Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, Qatar Chapter was established in November 2008 under the patronage of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Qatar. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the state of Qatar is the patron of the chapter.
“The group provides continuous opportunities to the local chartered accountants from Sri Lanka to learn new skills and acquire knowledge on the changing trends in their field. We invite experts to give talks at conferences that we organise throughout the year,” Mohamed Lafir, the President of the Chartered Accountant of Sri Lanka, Qatar Chapter told Community.
The local chapter of the institute has over a hundred members who are all chartered accountants from Sri Lanka.
“We are required to have at least 20 hours of professional training each year. Our institute facilitates for around 10-12 hours of those trainings, and the rest they have to manage from elsewhere,” he adds.
The chapter consists of Sri Lankan Chartered Accountants working in prestigious and professionally managed public and private sector organisations in Qatar. They work in various fields like finance, auditing and taxation along with other professionals for the continuous development of the state of Qatar.
The group organises one big conference or event for professionals every year, besides other smaller gatherings. It also organises family and social gatherings for its members.

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