Financial & Management Accounting

Intuit Quickbooks Launches Quickbooks Online Accountant In More Than 170 Countries Around The World


9 May 2023

In a world first, the launch of the cloud-based financial management software is free to accounting professionals around the globe.

Intuit QuickBooks today announces global free access to QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA), enabling accounting professionals in 170 countries to move to the cloud faster, scale their practices and bring more value to their clients and the wider economy.  

Accounting professionals make a huge contribution to the economy at a local, regional and global level, working as trusted business partners to the SMB community, which represents 90% of businesses and  accounts for 70% of employment globally.  

But their impact could be even bigger, as QuickBooks research suggests accountants are now busier than ever. Four out of 10 (43%) report they have more than 40 clients – and 86% are looking to technology to help them be more efficient and better meet client needs. 

QBOA addresses this by enabling accountants to manage their practice workflow, client interactions and billing all in one place. Developed with a select group of accountants globally over the past 12 months, QBOA is a refined suite of benefits to help professional accountants move to the cloud faster and drive  greater efficiency and scalability of their firms.  

Access to real time insights from anywhere in the world puts professional accountants at the heart of driving informed business decisions that could positively increase small business survival rates – currently, only 51.6% of U.S. small businesses survive beyond the first five years.  

Intuit serves more than 100 million customers worldwide and is one of the biggest software companies  in the world, with Intuit QuickBooks now the first provider in the market to deliver at this scale for the accounting profession.  

Lars Leber, Vice President of Intuit QuickBooks Australia, said: “Hong Kong is regularly recognized as one of the best places globally for running a business, consistently placing in the top five ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings. Accountants in the region play a key role in helping these businesses to adapt and prosper. With the rollout of QBOA, every accountant and bookkeeper can efficiently manage their clients from one easy-to-manage platform. Any professional accountant with an internet connection will benefit from financial management innovation fit for the modern age, while businesses benefit from improved expert support.” 

Global trends and technological advancements are transforming the world of work and reshaping the future of the accountancy profession, increasingly shifting demand towards more strategic and analytical roles.  

Hong Kong is one of the world’s most competitive business centers, with the digitization of over 360,000 SMEs, constituting more than 98% of business establishments and employing about 44% of the workforce in the private sector expected to provide further boost to the economy. Accountants will be key to helping fuel local business and economic prosperity.

But unfortunately, in April, the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants said 30% of local accountants would leave the city in 2023 hinting that the country will soon face a shortage of accountants. According to the latest government figures, only 50% of micro-enterprises (>10 employees) and 60% of medium-sized enterprises (10-49 employees) survive beyond the first five years. With their local SMEs soon facing a shortage of accountants, there is an urgent need to manage bookkeeping and accounting to ensure their books are in order. With the help of QuickBooks, Intuit hopes to increase the overall survival rates of Hong Kong SMEs.

While AI and automation may lead to job displacement in certain industries, such as accounting and auditing, it’s up to SMEs to adapt and embrace these changes to stay competitive and survive in the future.

A recent QuickBooks study suggested that 93% of UK small businesses believe their business is more likely to survive with an accountant on board.

QuickBooks Online Accountant benefits professional accountants anywhere in the world – through the following set of features:  

  • Singular login and dashboard view of real-time and historic client data, current projects and deadlines; 
  • Automated transactions and specific rules classifying data, minimizing manual data entries and reducing risk of errors; 
  • Options to use workflows to send reminders to the right people at the right time and automate common tasks – invaluable for bookkeepers in busiest periods of the year; 
  • Integrated apps providing functionality that spans reporting, inventory management, expense management, payroll, eCommerce; 
  • Predictive AI-based ability to estimate income tax/VAT contributions, support self-assessment filings  with automated breakdown of earnings and tax-deductible expense. 

Assisted QuickBooks Online Accountant onboarding for accountant professionals and bookkeepers is free, via a Zoom session, and is focused on new clients who are new to QuickBooks, as well as any  existing clients that aren’t actively using QuickBooks. It’s a hands-on, “Do-It-With-Me” session. To celebrate the launch of the QBOA global edition, limited time only pricing bundles have also been  announced. To help accountants get their small business clients started on QuickBooks online, for just the next three months, the one-dollar subscription deal will be active. One dollar (or country currency equivalent), per month, per file. The deal is available in all countries, to further support digital expansion  for all accountants.

Local developers can now publish apps as part of the QuickBooks Global App Store – to include payroll,  payments, inventory and purpose-built applications for specific regions – to integrate with QuickBooks.  For more information and information on how to access the free QuickBooks Online Accountant  platform please visit here.  

ICAEW, ISCA & CQICPA Sign Tripartite MoU To Boost The Development of Accountancy And Finance Industries


21 March 2023

Amid economic globalisation, international cooperation has become an important driving force for industry development. To promote the region’s accountancy and finance industries as well as knowledge exchange and collaboration of  the accountancy profession, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and  Wales (ICAEW), the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) and the Chongqing Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CQICPA) signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 20th March 2023.  

This tripartite MoU aims to facilitate the development of the accountancy and finance  industries in Singapore, China and the United Kingdom. The three institutes will deepen  professional research and knowledge exchange, and promote the development of the accountancy industry from a global perspective. 

At the virtual signing ceremony, representatives of the three parties delivered speeches,  reviewing the achievements of their respective associations in the past year, and shared future plans and strategic priorities.

ISCA President Mr Teo Ser Luck said, “We’re delighted to deepen our relationships with  CQICPA and ICAEW via this MoU. We look forward to exploring more opportunities for  joint research, knowledge exchange and development of training programmes. The  MoU is also in line with ISCA’s plan to expand our network beyond Singapore. We look  forward to working closely with CQICPA and ICAEW to explore new opportunities for  members of the three institutes, businesses and the accountancy community.” 

In his opening speech, Mr Mark Billington, ICAEW Managing Director International, welcomed each representative and expressed his gratitude to the three associations for  their longstanding joint efforts and support. He added that the three parties will strengthen cooperation to jointly promote the development of the profession, instil trust  in the accountancy profession, champion sustainability, lead their members to master  technology and data and jointly promote the attractiveness of the accountancy  profession. 

Ms Zhang Qing, Secretary General of CQICPA, said that the signing ceremony today  marked a new starting point for cooperation among the three parties, and will bring forth fruitful cooperation. She proposed three major objectives: to strengthen exchanges and  cooperation among the three associations to achieve mutual benefit and win-win  results; to promote exchanges among members of three institutes; to enhance  professional quality as well as to seize strategic opportunities to promote the  development of the profession in the three regions.

Tips To A Faster & Simpler Financial Close

7 March 2023

A faster and simpler financial close is no longer a luxury but a necessity for modern businesses.

The financial close process can be a complicated and time-consuming task for any organization. It involves reconciling accounts, analyzing financial data, and ensuring accuracy and compliance with accounting standards. A lengthy financial close process can not only be frustrating for the finance team but can also affect the overall efficiency and productivity of the organization. With that said, let’s explore some tips that can help organizations achieve a faster and simpler financial close.

Start Early And Set A Timeline

One of the most critical factors in achieving a fast and simple financial close is to start early and set a timeline. It is essential to have a clear understanding of the various tasks involved in the financial close process and allocate sufficient time for each task. Creating a timeline with clear deadlines can help keep everyone on track and ensure that all tasks are completed on time.

Streamline Processes

A streamlined financial close process can significantly reduce the time and effort required to close the books. The finance team can identify any redundant processes, eliminate them, and streamline the entire process. This can be done by automating repetitive tasks, reducing manual data entry, and using technology to speed up processes.

Automate Where Possible

Automation can significantly reduce the time and effort required to complete tasks in the financial close process. Automating tasks such as journal entries, reconciliations, and financial reporting can free up the finance team’s time to focus on more strategic tasks. This can be achieved by using accounting software, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and other financial tools that can automate tasks and improve accuracy.

Establish A Checklist

A checklist can be a valuable tool in ensuring that all tasks are completed, and nothing is overlooked during the financial close process. A checklist can include tasks such as reconciling accounts, verifying balances, and preparing financial statements. This can help ensure that all tasks are completed in a timely and efficient manner.

Conduct Regular Reviews

Regular reviews can help identify any issues or errors in the financial close process, which can be addressed promptly. These reviews can include reviewing account reconciliations, verifying balances, and ensuring compliance with accounting standards. Regular reviews can help ensure that any errors or issues are identified and resolved before they become significant problems.

Communicate Effectively

Effective communication is critical to achieving a fast and simple financial close. The finance team must communicate effectively with all stakeholders, including the management team, auditors, and external parties. Clear and concise communication can help ensure that everyone is on the same page, and there are no misunderstandings or delays.

Train The Finance Team

Proper training can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the finance team. Training can be provided on new accounting standards, financial reporting requirements, and financial software. This can help ensure that the finance team has the necessary skills and knowledge to complete tasks efficiently and accurately.

Centralize Data

Centralizing financial data can help reduce the time and effort required to complete tasks in the financial close process. This can be achieved by using an ERP system or other financial software that can consolidate financial data from various sources. Centralized data can help ensure that data is accurate and consistent, reducing the risk of errors and delays.

Use Dashboards And Analytics

Dashboards and analytics can be used to monitor the financial close process in real-time. This can help identify any issues or bottlenecks that may be slowing down the process. Dashboards can provide a visual representation of financial data, making it easier to identify trends and anomalies.

Outsource Non-Core Tasks

Outsourcing non-core tasks can significantly reduce the time and effort required to complete the financial close process. Non-core tasks such as data entry, account reconciliations, and financial reporting can be outsourced to third-party providers, freeing up the finance team’s time to focus on value-added work. 

Importance Of Simplifying & Quickening The Financial Close Process

In today’s fast-paced business world, time is a precious commodity, and financial close can be a lengthy and challenging process. However, with the advent of new technologies and the growing emphasis on efficiency, companies are starting to look for ways to simplify and speed up their financial close processes.

Out of all the tips mentioned above, the most effective way to actually achieve a faster and simpler financial close is through automation. By automating the reconciliation and consolidation processes, companies can significantly reduce the time and effort required to close their books. Furthermore, automation can help eliminate human errors and ensure that financial statements are accurate and reliable.

For companies who have automated their financial close processes, they can look at the other best practices that companies can follow to achieve a faster and simpler financial close. These include setting clear deadlines, improving communication and collaboration between departments, and using standardized processes and procedures.

Another key factor in achieving a faster and simpler financial close is having the right tools and technologies in place. This includes using cloud-based accounting software that allows for real-time collaboration and data sharing, as well as analytics and reporting tools that can provide valuable insights into financial performance.

While implementing these changes may require some initial investment and effort, the benefits are clear. Companies that can close their books quickly and accurately are better positioned to make informed business decisions and respond quickly to changes in the market.

In conclusion, a faster and simpler financial close is no longer a luxury but a necessity for modern businesses. By embracing automation, best practices, and the right tools, companies can streamline their financial close processes and gain a competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced business world.

Accounting Software Trends In 2023


27 February 2023

Businesses that embrace these trends and choose the right accounting software provider will definitely see improvements to their overall efficiency and productivity.

The world of accounting software is constantly evolving, with new technologies and trends emerging every year. Staffing shortages and other labor market issues that businesses are currently dealing with can be seen as catalysts for accelerating the adoption of exciting new technology-based solutions that are becoming more and more important to company. Accounting departments may want to explore automation, make changes to systems and reporting, or outsource some parts of the workflow. As we move into 2023, there are several key trends that are shaping the future of accounting software. In this article, we will explore these trends and what they mean for businesses of all sizes.

1. Cloud-based Accounting Software

One of the biggest trends in accounting software is the move towards cloud-based solutions. This means that the software is hosted on remote servers, and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. This trend has been gaining traction over the past few years, and is expected to continue into 2023 and beyond. Cloud-based accounting software offers several benefits over traditional desktop-based solutions. For one, it allows for easy collaboration between team members, as everyone can access the same data in real-time. It also eliminates the need for businesses to maintain their own servers and IT infrastructure, as everything is hosted in the cloud.

2. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Another major trend in accounting software is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These technologies are being used to automate many of the tasks traditionally performed by accountants, such as data entry and categorization. For example, AI-powered accounting software can automatically categorize expenses based on keywords or patterns, reducing the amount of time and effort required for manual data entry. ML algorithms can also be used to identify trends and patterns in financial data, allowing businesses to make more informed decisions about their finances.

3. Integration with other Business Systems

As businesses become more complex and specialized, there is a growing need for accounting software to integrate with other business systems. This includes everything from CRM software to inventory management systems. By integrating accounting software with other business systems, businesses can streamline their operations and reduce the amount of manual data entry required. This also allows for a more holistic view of the business, as all data is stored in a centralized location and can be accessed by all relevant stakeholders.

4. Mobile Access

In today’s fast-paced business world, it’s more important than ever for accounting software to be accessible on-the-go. This means that accounting software providers are increasingly offering mobile apps and mobile-friendly web interfaces. Mobile access allows business owners and managers to stay on top of their finances no matter where they are. They can view financial reports, approve expenses, and even send invoices directly from their mobile device.

5. Greater Emphasis on Security

With the increasing amount of sensitive financial data being stored in the cloud, security is more important than ever. Accounting software providers are responding to this need by placing greater emphasis on security features. This includes everything from two-factor authentication to data encryption. Many providers are also conducting regular security audits and offering training to help businesses stay up-to-date on the latest security best practices.

6. Customization and Flexibility

Finally, accounting software providers are recognizing the need for customization and flexibility. Businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and each has unique accounting needs. To meet these needs, many accounting software providers are offering customizable dashboards and reports. This allows businesses to tailor the software to their specific needs and workflows. Additionally, some providers are offering flexible pricing models, such as pay-as-you-go or subscription-based pricing. This allows businesses to choose the pricing model that works best for them, rather than being forced to pay for features they don’t need.

7. Capitalizing On Data

2023 will present possibilities for accounting departments to achieve their objectives in new and better ways, despite the obstacles that lie ahead. Data is still a big deal for organizations across all sectors, and many businesses are working hard to find ways to harness data and identify lucrative data streams. Data can be used in a variety of ways by financial reporting and accounting departments, including customer analysis, evaluating several company lines to determine which are more profitable, and cost-cutting.

Due to the numerous demands on their time, accounting professionals may become mired in the process without pausing to consider how the data they utilize can be used. Thoughtful accountants will, however, take the time to consider the possibilities, both in terms of what they may learn and how they might use data to improve system and process efficiencies.

As we move into 2023, the accounting software landscape is evolving rapidly. Cloud-based solutions, AI and ML, integration with other business systems, mobile access, security, and customization and flexibility are all major trends that are shaping the future of accounting software. Businesses that embrace these trends and choose the right accounting software provider will definitely see improvements to their overall efficiency.

Trust the Hype – How E-services such as E-invoicing Can Build Resilience and Streamline Operations for Your Business


Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific & Japan at Kofax 

When it comes to digitalization today, many businesses are caught up in the race to integrate technology into their daily operations and make sure their company will withstand these difficult times. In fact, according to the Kofax 2022 Intelligent Automation Benchmark Study, 89% of worldwide executives believe that digitally transformed businesses have a competitive edge, and 90% of global executives believe that automating activities post-COVID will ensure company continuity. 

Because of this, companies aiming to increase their resilience should consider expediting their technological development by considering e-services like e-invoicing. These services have four main benefits: automatic updates, accessibility from anywhere, speed and cost reductions, and scalability. DigitalCFO Asia spoke with Matthew Thomson, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific & Japan at Kofax to learn more about how organisations can use automation to gain resiliency in their business. 

While most Companies in Singapore and Asia are already digitising their invoicing processes, what are the major challenges amidst this shift? 

Throughout the Asia Pacific, we see a very volatile economic landscape. According to Matthew, the world is in a very unsettled space right now.  We’re seeing interest rates rise, we’re seeing the cost-of-living increase, which is impacting all of us and we’re seeing fuel prices rise. Thus, what was really intended to be conveyed was that both the problems and costs associated with conducting business are rising. Digital transactions and transformation have already occurred and are almost the new norm. When we think about E-invoicing, many financial institutions, in particular, are talking about large increases in digital transactions per year. 

Every year, Kofax does an intelligent automation study, and in 2022, they found that: 

  • 85% of C-suites said that they would focus their intelligent automation on accounts payable automation 
  • 82% said invoice automation 
  • 84% said transaction processing  
  • 83% said bank statement processing  

All of this ties in again with invoicing. However, these issues affect not only the public sector but also the business sector and how we work with suppliers. One of the difficulties people are trying to solve is the amount of paperwork produced by the invoicing operations because it has historically been a very labor-intensive process. Another challenge is reducing the number of duplicate payments, which greatly impacts business, suppliers, and clients. Unfortunately, whenever we involve humans in a process, we run the risk of making mistakes. We may not all make mistakes, but someone might along the way.  

Automation and Intelligent Automation 

It can enhance productivity across a firm since you can use your resources more effectively and there is less chance of human error. First, it drives faster response times because the procedures are more water created. When you’re able to monitor control and standardising processes, you’re actually able to increase your compliance – according to Matthew. The identification of problems is another important consideration. Process and automation may enable you to spot issues and difficulties earlier. 

Photo by cottonbro studio on

Being able to automate and make these procedures seamless can actually promote greater customer engagement and faster response times, which has a flow-on impact. When you look at dealing with customers, it typically includes a lot of processes and time, and this can be time-consuming. If we’re able to get better and faster data, you can make more accurate decisions and more accurate decisions can again improve customer retention the customer focus. it also drives cross-sell and upsell opportunities. So, with this automation you can improve your customer engagement and your customers. 

Operations are key and it’s often in a very critical part of any company. However, because there are so many procedures involved in these activities, the operations team will benefit if you can look to make them smooth. They can function more efficiently. They can direct and concentrate on greater invention. 

Promoting Resiliency 

“It’s being able to cope with change and cope with unexpected change,” quoted Matthew. We all bear several scars, as the pandemic made clear. All of us had to adjust to the sudden change. And you need to be adaptable to deal with change in custom. They must recognize and automate your duties and procedures in order to respond quickly and be nimble. 90% of C-suites believed that automating workflows only during post-covid, can already ensure business continuity. 89% of C-suites also believed that digitally transformed companies have a competitive advantage. 

Accounts Payable Teams in Southeast Asia should Pioneer with Automation against Fraud


Greg Crowl | 11 November 2022

Although fraud is not a new phenomenon, organizations will need to be equipped to identify and prevent fraud.

Every organization’s primary aim is to be profitable – and no fault should be seen in that. But what they want to stray away is the dirty side of money. That would be the “F” word in the business world: fraud.  

Although fraud is not a new phenomenon, organizations will need to be equipped to identify and prevent fraud. In fact, the pendulum seems to be swinging the other way, with the scales tipping further in the favor of fraudsters. Financial criminals have been sharpening their skills and cunningly preying on unsecured companies as well as their employees, although organizations have been improving their fraud defense. 

The prolonged pandemic hasn’t helped the situation. In PwC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, 42 percent of Singapore-based organizations were have fallen victim to fraud over 24 months, of which 23 percent suffered a cumulative loss of more than US 50 million to fraud, higher than the global level at 13 percent. Singapore’s prominent positioning as the financial hub of Southeast Asia is likely a key driver of the growing reported economic crime rate.

The common type of frauds that are rising in ASEAN markets, among an array of violations, are asset misappropriations, misleading financial statements, and resume fraud. These frequent events of frauds are happening due to poor fraud awareness and minimal standards of digital literacy. Statistics from CyberSource showed that fraud cost Southeast Asia at least 1.6 percent of digital revenue, with Indonesia leading at 3.2 percent.

No company wants to be duped by fraudsters, but even trillion-dollar companies do falter. Amazon, the benchmark of running a successful business, was defrauded of US 19 million. Facebook and Google were also scammed of US 100 million by forged invoices sent through phishing email scams. 

Whether it’s a small or medium enterprise (SME) or a multinational corporation (MNC), fraudsters are targeting them, which means defenses in an organization are required to be current.  For instance, financial institutions have to comply with complex and ever-changing regulations set by the government. Add in the ongoing customer life-cycle transformation, and protecting the business from fraudulent activity seems more challenging than ever. 

Fortunately, there are steps organizations can take to fight back against fraud and meet “know your customer” (KYC) requirements. Fraud detection and prevention has, for the longest time, been based on a three-pronged approach comprised of people, processes and technology. While all three elements are still essential, the increased complexity of fraud scams demands a greater reliance on the technology portion. People still play an important role, but it’s become increasingly difficult for the human eye to spot fraud given how sophisticated scams have become. Processes aren’t going to disappear either, but their key role is to connect people and technology in a way that makes them stronger together than when used alone. 

Unlike people, technology has evolved—so it can do a better job of keeping up with the advances in fraudulent activity. New techniques are available, making it the best choice to lead the charge. But where do you start?

Accounts Payable: Your Best Defense against Fraud

Accounts Payable (AP) staff relying on old tricks are defenseless against more complex fraud schemes. Intelligent AP automation is a modern weapon financial organization can use to keep fraud at bay. AP automation transforms accounts payable, eliminating the errors associated with manual work and enabling AP staff to “better support compliance and risk management teams in enforcing policies, identifying potential red flags, and escalating issues internally.” AP automation “reduces the risk of fraud and increases compliance by employing standards for handling expectations and workflows.”

Many organizations are beginning to see the benefit of investing in technologies and other resources to fight fraud, with 40 percent of respondents to PwC’s global survey stating they plan to increase their spend on fraud prevention over the next two years. The report also notes this is a smart choice since “there is a clear link between fraud prevention investments made upfront and reduced costs when a fraud strikes.” Additionally, companies using tools such as artificial intelligence are seeing value in the battle against fraud when the tools are properly implemented. For organizations considering an AP automation solution, it’s important to understand what makes this weapon valuable and how it can help fight fraud. 

Asia Pacific financial institutions are prepared to invest millions in fraud prevention according to a GBG report titled “Future-proofing Fraud Prevention in Digital Channels: APAC FI Study”. An estimated budget of US 83.3 million will be used by financial institutions to purchase the latest technology to tackle fraud till 2021. 57 percent of APAC financial institutions are claiming they’re working towards upgrading fraud prevention infrastructure while 50 percent have already made investments for digital onboarding fraud solutions, including Thailand and Indonesia with the biggest fraud budgets at US 95.4 million and US 88.9 million respectively.

AP Automation Arsenal: A WMD to Fight Fraud

A strong defense against fraudulent activity consists of multiple technologies that make an AP automation solution truly intelligent. To begin with, automated invoice processing allows time to be saved and eradicates human errors. Suppliers can send their invoices in the format of their choice through multi-channel invoice capture. Artificial intelligence technology captures and analyzes invoices coming in, determines the document layout, and extracts the required information. An electronic archive of invoices, including other financial documents, is available thanks to workflow and imaging solutions. Process orchestration automatically sends exceptions to human AP employees for review and approval. 

The technology also creates a document ownership trail, tracking the actions and handoffs between human and digital workers. Some intelligent AP automation solutions from providers have intelligence built in. They can even automatically detect items to extract from an invoice and whether pay slips have been manipulated—an important weapon for fraud detection. Intelligent automation can also be applied to onboarding suppliers, with automatic validation of key information like addresses and tax data. 

With automation technology in place, AP teams will be aware of common human errors like invoice fraud or duplicate payments. Additionally, unfamiliar vendors sending fake invoices will be identified as a red flag based on the AP staff guidelines. If an invoice states payment above the agreed amount, the automation system will trip for a review. It’s similar for invoices from new vendors or when the invoice amount doesn’t match the associated purchase order (PO). Automation can also verify whether invoices match up with the goods ordered or received. 

Advanced analytics can identify changes in vendor behaviors which may be a cause for concern, and third-party sources can be integrated to verify the validity and authenticity of new suppliers and vendors. With invoices being automated, AP staff have extra time to examine other scandalous events. Traces of possible fraud can also be detected by staff with audit trails.

The battle against fraud continues to morph as scammers become more mature. At the front lines are AP teams serving as your best defense against financial crimes. Don’t send them into combat unarmed. With intelligent AP automation technology, AP staff can work (and fight) like tomorrow, today. 

Impact Of Accounts Payable Automation In Today’s Ever-Changing Landscape


Fatihah Ramzi, DigitalCFO Asia | 24 May 2022

Marcus Rex

Managing Director at xSuite Asia Pacific

Manual AP processes created several issues long before remote working became the norm, and they will continue to do so even after employees return to the office. Change is tough for everyone, but accountants are notorious for clinging to tried-and-true procedures.

The change to remote working due to COVID-19 was not simple, but finance departments had little choice but to adjust. After making the transition to remote working, many companies appreciated the benefits of AP automation solutions. However, many businesses are still undecided about how account payable automation may help them.

To address this, DigitalCFO Asia spoke with Marcus Rex, Managing Director at xSuite Asia Pacific to gain a deeper understanding of the benefits of accounts payable automation and how the accounting department can benefit greatly from it, be it the older or the younger generation of employees. 

xSuite; What’s New And What Are They Currently Doing?

xSuite is a German headquartered software firm specializing in finance automation and they assist financial leaders to automate their financial processes, particularly their accounts payable.  During COVID-19, xSuite has seen a lot of companies that had to move to remote work and digitse their processes in order to still operate their businesses as before. Due to this, they saw a big demand in these areas and are still seeing it today. This is because companies are starting to realise that they need to push more with automation to be more competitive in today’s world. 

Impact Of High Turnover Rates On Finance Teams 

The subject of great resignation is spreading through the entire world and right now. 

“Yesterday, I spoke with someone in America and they mentioned that they are unable to hire people who live close to the office,” commented Marcus Rex, Managing Director at xSuite Asia Pacific.

 xSuite observed that people have changed their behaviours and opinions towards jobs where they want jobs to be more independent, they do not want to comply with strict rules. Marcus Rex pointed out that in Singapore, there are about 45,000 open positions right now across LinkedIn, Indeed and JobStreet posted in the country for accountants or accounting departments. 

However, he noted that there were only 1500 to 1600 of first-level positions for degree holders in accounting compared to the 45,000 open positions. From this observation, there is clearly a huge disparity between graduates and open positions which imposes very big risks for finance departments. 

What Could Have Led To The Low Number Of Accounting Graduates?

A lot of young graduates, when they start their accounting jobs, find themselves doing a lot of repetitive tasks which they do not enjoy.

“Many young accountants spend their day keying in invoice data and they have to follow up with their colleagues over and over again just to get approval and to pay out the invoice.”

Marcus Rex, Managing Director at xSuite Asia Pacific

So, these repetitive tasks are clearly something that people do not really like and this is where xSuite comes in and helps finance leaders to take some of these repetitive tasks away from the accountants so the accountants can concentrate more of their time and energy on really value-added work. 

Effects Of Accounts Payable Automation On Senior Staff 

xSuite has observed that over the last couple of years, when a finance leader decides to bring in automation, they see that in senior generations of accountants, there is a lot of hesitation and fear of how these automations could affect their job. The senior staff have this belief that once the automation goes live, they will lose their jobs as they have become redundant to the company. 

But in many of these cases, xSuite will advise financial leaders to bring everyone in the finance team on board including the accountants when making decisions to bring automation to the company. This is because, it will help them, especially the older staff, to see that it will make their work life easier than before as they no longer have to do these repetitive tasks and in most cases, they should not be afraid of losing their jobs. 

Whereas for the younger workforce, automation will definitely be more enticing to them as they are much more tech-savvy. It will be much better for them as they can come in to work and immediately concentrate on the more value-added tasks and not sit there typing data into invoices which is rather boring. 

How Senior Accountants And The Younger Accountants Can Complement One Another? 

The older generation has vast experience when it comes down to how to conduct certain procedures and how to work particular invoices whereas the younger generation is more tech-savvy and can quickly adapt to any technology but may not be as experienced. 

With both having their strengths and weaknesses, they complement one another greatly by covering where the other lacks and this can be a very healthy environment for any company. Having different generations in an accounting team will greatly benefit the company. 

Remaining Forward-Thinking And Agile In This Ever-Changing Landscape

Seeing it from the finance perspective, finance leaders and CFOs have to look very much into what kind of technologies are available to help them improve their internal processes because companies really have to focus on their core business in delivering goods and services to their customers. 

As there is an existing challenge in the digital supply chain, having a finance department that is flexible and quick in their operations is critical. Businesses must make sure that they pay all their invoices on time even when they have reduced staff and accounts payable. 

“Having all your invoices paid on time will help businesses to secure their relationships with their vendors which is very critical right now,” states Marcus Rex, Managing Director at xSuite Asia Pacific.

So from this perspective, automation, technology and finance departments must be looked at as a whole by finance leaders instead of concentrating on just the finance department if they seek to remain forward-thinking and agile. 

[Video Interview] Impact of Accounts Payable Automation in today’s ever-changing landscape


Manual AP processes created several issues long before remote working became the norm, and they will continue to do so even after employees return to the office. Change is tough for everyone, but accountants are notorious for clinging to tried-and-true procedures.

The change to remote working due to COVID-19 was not simple, but finance departments had little choice but to adjust. After making the transition to remote working, many companies appreciated the benefits of AP automation solutions. However, many businesses are still undecided about how account payable automation may help them.

To address this, DigitalCFO Asia spoke with Marcus Rex, Managing Director at xSuite Asia Pacific to gain a deeper understanding of the benefits of accounts payable automation and how the accounting department can benefit greatly from it, be it the older or the younger generation of employees. 

BlackLine Wins TrustRadius Top Rated 2022 Awards for Accounting, Financial Close and AR Automation


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 12 May 2022

Accounting automation software leader recognized for convenience of centralized platform and outstanding customer support, as rated by its customers at leading software peer review platform.

BlackLine, Inc. (Nasdaq: BL) has been recognized as a leader once again, earning ‘Top Rated 2022’ awards in the Accounting, Financial Close and Accounts Receivable (AR) categories from TrustRadius, a leading software peer review platform that has become a B2B industry standard, providing unbiased recognition of technology products based entirely on customer feedback.

Accounting automation software leader BlackLine has been recognized as a leader once again, earning ‘Top Rated 2022’ awards in the Accounting, Financial Close and Accounts Receivable categories from TrustRadius, a leading software peer review platform.

“Earning multiple Top Rated awards is testament to BlackLine’s leadership position in both financial close and accounts receivable automation,” said Megan Headley, VP of Research at TrustRadius. “Reviewers on TrustRadius consistently highlight the convenience of having a centralized platform for financial automation, along with BlackLine’s stellar customer support.”

Each month, over a million B2B technology buyers, more than 50 percent from large enterprises, use verified reviews and ratings on to make informed purchasing decisions. Here’s what users across multiple industries and from various company sizes are saying about BlackLine at

  • “Easy to use, huge time saver – BlackLine is used internationally by all of our finance teams. This helps us track and document our review of journal entries and account reconciliations…and is helpful in documenting everything we need for SOX compliance.” Senior Accountant (Telecommunications; 501-1,000 employees)
  • “Automation, transparency, accuracy and controllable – [BlackLine] saves us tremendous time during the closing period, more accuracy, transparency and control. The experience I have had with BlackLine implementation consultants and the BlackLine support team is remarkable. ” Principal Accountant (Computer Hardware; 1,001-5,000 employees)
  • “BlackLine always has my back, so we can trust our balances! – BlackLine has many functionalities that can take data and prepare and format data that a preparer would have to do manually in Excel. This frees up time for preparers to perform value add activity/tasks/analysis. Automation at its best with BL!” Analyst (Gaming and Casinos; 1,001-5,000 employees)
  • “Blackline adds efficiencies and process flow to general ledger accounting team – “BlackLine works very well for general ledger accounting teams to stay organized and meet all deadlines. It helps with visibility and a real-time understanding of where everyone’s work status is. It has been instrumental in process flow efficiency for our multi-national team working in different time zones.” Analyst in Finance and Accounting (Accounting Company; 5,001-10,000 employees)
  • “Automating and transforming the future of accounting processes – BlackLine is well suited for organizations that have finance transformation on their road maps. It’s great to automate day to day accounting processes.” Accounting Manager (Leisure, Travel & Tourism; 5,001 to 10,000 employees)
  • “BlackLine delivers on its promises and provides the pathway to integrated modern accounting – Our company has many subsidiaries globally on numerous ERPs. BlackLine was able to consolidate balance sheet accounting into a single source.” Administrator (Electronics; 5,001 to 10,000 employees)
  • “Driving accounting into the future – [BlackLine] improves communication, allows for greater traceability, creates awareness and visibility for users, provides dynamic dashboards and reports to all levels of the organization that can be adapted to individual needs.” Accounting Manager (Automotive; 10,001+ employees)
  • “Integrated with our ERP system – BlackLine makes it possible to have a continuous close because it is integrated with our ERP system and the balances automatically update. It has made it possible to collaborate from all over the world and reduces the audit burden as auditors are able to go in directly and obtain the support needed. BlackLine is well suited for any company looking to make their close process more efficient and scalable.” Manager in Finance and Accounting (Biotechnology Company; 10,001+ employees)

Based entirely on customer feedback, TrustRadius Top Rated Awards are not influenced by analyst opinion or status as a TrustRadius customer. A detailed criteria breakdown of the methodology and scoring that TrustRadius uses to determine Top Rated winners can be found here.

“We appreciate all the great feedback from our user community, which is now over 335,000 strong,” said BlackLine CEO Marc Huffman. “It’s especially gratifying to see so many happy users telling the world how BlackLine has helped automate, manage and optimize their companies’ finance and accounting operations – and made their lives easier in the process.”

The three Top Rated awards come on the heels of BlackLine earning ‘2022 Best of Finance Software’ awards from TrustRadius earlier this year for ‘Best Relationship’ and ‘Best Feature Set’. To read reviews from additional BlackLine users at, go here.

Accountants are the driving force to transform Singapore into a leading global accountancy hub


DigitalCFO Asia Newsroom | 26 April 2022

According to the Jobs Transformation Maps launched in January 2022, the demand for accounting and other professionals will continue to grow at a projected demand of 6,000 to 7,000 new accounting jobs by 2025. With climate action risen to the top of the agenda for governments and organisations, the core responsibilities of accounting professionals are revaluated. They now play a salient role in helping organisations adapt to the sustainable practices required to prevent resource depletion, facilitate long term success, and construct a more sustainable future.

Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and National Development, addressed participants at a fireside chat held during the ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Virtual Conference 2022. She said that accountants are well-positioned to accelerate sustainability practices and ensure the quality of sustainable reporting. She also shared that they can assess environmental considerations and risks that affect organisations’ finances in the long run, with their experience and expertise. She also added that accountants guide companies on the right growth path and help business leaders identify ways to pivot their business models to become more sustainable. Watch the full video of the fireside chat here.

Building on the imperatives for the profession to upskill and deliver the sustainability initiatives, a recent study by ACCA and Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) titled, “Market demand for professional accountancy services in Singapore – FY 2021-2024” highlights that sustainability and CSR reporting has been ranked in the top five for future services demanded from the big four and smaller and medium practices (SMPs) in Singapore. 

The findings indicate that the demand for professional services has rocketed as organisations depend on external advice to supplement their internal expertise when tackling technological disruptions, pressures to expand overseas, rising costs, and intensifying competition.

Professional services providers diversify from providing traditional services such as audit, tax and other largely regulated or compliance-based services to mainly non-regulated services, such as IT Advisory and Risk Management and Governance (including Internal Audit). 

Another recent report by ACCA titled, “Accounting for a better world: priorities for a transforming profession”, outlines the prominence of the profession in establishing a more prosperous global economy and business environment. 

ADVANCE.AI partners with FinScore to boost alternative credit scoring and fraud prevention in the Philippines and SEA


Digital CFO Newsroom | 21 March 2022

The partnership will strengthen the robustness of ADVANCE.AI’s credit profiling and risk management capabilities through FinScore’s digital solutions, namely Telco Data Credit Scoring and Fraud Prevention Solutions

ADVANCE.AI, a leading AI company specialising in digital identity verification, risk management and process automation, has signed a strategic data partnership with FinScore to help boost financial inclusion and access to the unbanked and underbanked customers in the Philippines and wider Southeast Asia (SEA). The partnership will strengthen the robustness of ADVANCE.AI’s credit profiling and risk management capabilities through FinScore’s digital solutions, namely Telco Data Credit Scoring and Fraud Prevention Solutions.

FinScore is a financial technology company in the Philippines that offers a powerful credit scoring platform and fraud detection tool based on alternative data, including telco-based data. It is the first company to determine the creditworthiness of 100% of the mobile subscribers in the country, the highest market reach in the Philippine alternative credit scoring market. The company’s mission is to fill the financial gap by providing inclusive credit scoring and improving access to financial services for consumers in the country.

FinScore has been awarded by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) as the 2nd prize winner – Global Category for its ‘Alternative Credit Evaluation (A.C.E) Portal’ solution in the SFF Global FinTech Awards 2021, the highest accolade for FinTech innovation. FinScore is the only Philippines-based company to be awarded in the Global Category.

A leader in artificial intelligence, risk management and digital lending solutions, ADVANCE.AI partners over 1,000+ enterprise clients across banking, financial services, payment, remittance and web3.0. Key clients include CIBI Philippines, Standard Chartered and Shopee. ADVANCE.AI’s One-Stop Platform powers real-time operational response and fraud detection with 100+ data points covering credit bureau, telco, social networks, utility, IP and geolocation. The end result is accurate risk decisions, quickly and easily, on one single platform.

Christo Georgiev, FinScore Country Manager and Chief Operations Officer said: “We are pleased to work with ADVANCE.AI in unlocking the financial empowerment of the unbanked customers in Southeast Asia. We are very much happy in extending our alternative data credit scoring expertise with ADVANCE.AI, so that they can uplift their client’s acceptance rates while managing risk, especially financial institutions focused on buy now, pay later (BNPL) and digital lending services. We look forward to a progressive cooperation in increasing our respective presence in the Southeast Asian market.”

Michael Calma, ADVANCE.AI’s Philippines Country Manager said: “We’re excited to have FinScore as one of our data partners in the Philippines, to accelerate a digitally empowered and financially inclusive Philippines, as well as broader Southeast Asia. This is even more important post-Covid, when the banking and financial services industry needs to digitally onboard and manage the risk profile of their customers quickly, easily and accurately. The end result is better resource efficiency, faster time to market and lower costs.”

A joint media kit is available here.

The Secret Sauce to Improving Your DSO & DPO


Written by Justin Cunningham, Esker | 2 March 2022

2020 was the year of supplier shortages, drastic demand fluctuations, increased operating costs and liquidity pinches. No matter which end of the spectrum your business was on, supply chain leaders were forced to take a fresh look at their business model to ensure they can weather the next storm and come out on top. For many innovative leaders, this means new ways of thinking and capitalising on digital transformation to realise real results on their balance sheet.

After a year chock full of uncertainties, businesses are finding that the time in which they collect and make payments is having an even bigger impact on their ability to maintain a healthy cashflow. Luckily, there’s a way to speed up both collection and payment through a single, AI-driven platform.

DSO and DPO: What they are and why they matter.

Before diving in too deep, let’s lay some groundwork.

Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) is the measurement of how long it takes for a company to collect payment on an invoice. The “why it matters” part is pretty straightforward here: the better (or lower) your DSO, the faster your business is getting paid. A high DSO has a tremendous impact on cashflow and revenue and can prevent you from investing in your company’s growth. Reducing DSO, even slightly, can go a long way toward improving financial health.

When it comes to gauging “good” and “bad” DSO, the Credit Research Foundation’s National Summary of Domestic Trade Receivables found that the average DSO in Q2 of 2020 was 41.56 days. As a general benchmark, you can consider anything below 45 days to be a low DSO. Not sure if your DSO is competitive in your industry? Take a look at competitors — they’ll let you know if you’re falling short or not.

Days Payable Outstanding (DPO), on the flipside, is the efficiency ratio for how long it takes for a company to pay its suppliers. And like DSO, it can pack a major punch when it comes to cashflow performance. DPO can also be the determining factor between suppliers considering your company a “good client” or a “bad client”. There’s currently no benchmark for a “healthy” DPO due to the variability of industry, competitive positioning and bargaining power of organisations. That’s why keeping a close eye on your DPO and your competitors’ DPO is important for gauging your payables performance.

This is where you say, “Cool beans, now how exactly do I improve DSO and DPO?”

And that’s when I say, “Shhh, keep reading.”

The “secret sauce” for improving your DSO and DPO.

Let’s not overcomplicate it. Improving any process usually comes down to efficiency, and DSO and DPO are no different. By creating a faster, transparent and streamlined process for collecting payment on invoices and paying suppliers, DSO and DPO will automatically improve. Speaking of automatic …

There’s one thing that forward-thinking business and supply chain leaders have found to be monumental when it comes to all-around efficiency and cashflow performance, and that’s AI-driven automation.

You can’t improve DSO and DPO without optimising the core procure-to-pay (P2P) and order-to-cash (O2C) processes that determine them. These cycles are inextricably intertwined, therefore automating one and not the other can create departmental silos that can result in new inefficiencies, and can be an overall disservice to your ability to optimise working capital.

The secret sauce to a better DSO and DPO isn’t just automating P2P and O2C processes, but automating them through a single, integrated platform that simplifies and standardises your organisation’s finance function as a whole.

Digitally transforming P2P and O2C processes through a single platform leads to better DSO and DPO ratios by:

  • Automating invoices, collections, payments and cash application to make it easy to be paid and pay others in a timely manner
  • Eliminating the costs of resources once needed for manual P2P and O2C processes
  • Providing end-to-end transparency across all workflows and cashflow activities via customisable dashboards
  • Drastically reducing the risk associated with manual cashflow management
  • Improving relationships with suppliers by ensuring timely payment and providing an online self-service portal that makes it easy to communicate, ask questions and access invoices
  • Offering supply chain financing, which allows supplier to bolster their working capital by opting for faster payment in exchange for a discount of finance fee
  • Best-in-class AI-driven data capture that continuously improves the more it’s used
  • Providing a customer self-service portal that allows for easy communication and management of customer information, which ultimately leads to stronger customer relationships

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of automation. For more information and a deeper dive into financial transformation, check out this ebook!


The ideal DSO and DPO, is at any organisation’s discretion. Some want the DSO to be as short as possible while extending DPO as much as they can, so they can keep cash on hand for a longer period of time. Others chose to pay vendor invoices quickly to leverage discounts granted for early payers. However, one thing is for sure: to achieve the desired equilibrium and performance for your P2P and O2C value streams, you have to overcome silos in your finance organisation. You must encourage a cross-department team spirit and understand how the actions of one team will affect the other.

By managing both O2C and P2P on one platform, you’re able to instantly see everything from one view. Giving you a complete and real-time view of your financial health.

1 2 3 4