Industry Updates

Lack of strategic approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within APJ including in Singapore and Hong Kong: Workday study


DigitalCFO Asia Newsroom | 20 December 2022

Insufficient data and difficulties in tracking progress named as key challenges to DEI efforts

three people sitting beside table
Photo by Pixabay on

A global study by Workday, a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, has found that there is a prevalent lack of a strategic approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region. For markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong, the study also revealed that there are clear opportunities for organisations to measure the business impact of DEI and leverage data to track their DEI progress more effectively.

Conducted in partnership with Sapio Research in late 2022, the study, “Global Blueprint for Belonging and Diversity” surveyed over 3,100 HR professionals and C-level business leaders with responsibilities for diversity initiatives within their organisation, to understand their motivations, activities, and progress in relation to belonging and diversity.

Lack of strategic approach to DEI most prevalent in APJ, compared to other regions

The study found that the lack of a strategic approach in DEI was most prevalent in APJ, with more than half (52%) of respondents indicating that their organisations did not have an approach or were in the initial phases of developing one. This makes it difficult for organisations to move from goal-setting to goal-getting. The figure is significantly higher when compared to Europe (39%) and North America (34%).

Challenges of driving DEI initiatives in Singapore and Hong Kong

One of the key reasons for the lack of a strategic approach was revealed to be due to insufficient data and reporting on DEI efforts. For both Singapore and Hong Kong, only 26% of respondents indicated their organisations measure the business impact and perceived value of DEI initiatives.

Close to six in 10 (58%) of respondents in Singapore also commented that tracking progress was challenging and required new systems and software, to fully support a DEI strategy and implementation. Over in Hong Kong, close to seven in 10 (66%) of respondents said the same.

In driving DEI, the main business cases in Hong Kong were the need to attract and develop talent (52%) and improve staff wellbeing (50%). In Singapore, it was the recognition of the need to develop and promote people from diverse backgrounds (46%), as well as an acknowledgement for more diverse and engaged teams that would be key to increasing business innovation (46%). 

In order to move to the next stage in relation to DEI, 44% of respondents in Singapore said their organisation needs a clear strategy – with DEI metrics included as a core part of corporate KPIs, while 42% in Hong Kong said their organisation needs engagement and buy-in from employees. 

Additional highlights of the study showed:

  • Investments in DEI by Organisations Remain Strong
    • 90% of respondents in Singapore and 80% in Hong Kong respectively have a budget for DEI initiatives.
    • In Singapore, 34% of respondents plan to increase DEI investment in the next financial year while 58% plan to maintain it. In Hong Kong, 26% of respondents plan to increase DEI investment in the next financial year while 46% plan to maintain it.
  • More Needs to be Done to Celebrate Diversity
    • Only 28% of respondents in Singapore and 30% in Hong Kong note that diversity is recognised, valued, and celebrated. 18% of respondents in both Hong Kong and Singapore note that diversity is trivialised, and stronger emphasis is placed on recognising similarities than differences. 

“Our research indicates that over the coming year, we can expect more organisations to invest in DEI initiatives, and it is important for them to be equipped with the data they need to act. At present, many organisations either do not have data, or are not effectively using available data to drive their strategies and business impact,” said Pannie Sia, General Manager, ASEAN, Workday. “A data-driven DEI vision and strategy, supported by the right technologies, led by dedicated and engaged leaders across the organisation will enhance DEI awareness and education, drive adoption and accountability, as well as create meaningful and long-lasting positive change.”

Risks And Opportunities In A Time Of Global Change And Historic Headwinds


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 25 October 2022

The report explores topics related to some of 2022’s greatest challenges.

Manulife Investment Management today released its latest Global Intelligence report, highlighting new research from the firm’s investment teams across public and private markets. Titled “Historic Headwinds”, the report explores topics related to some of 2022’s greatest challenges, from the Russia-Ukraine conflict and spiking inflation to rural banking deserts and pandemic-related structural shifts. Key themes include global food security, political instability, carbon offsets, climate solutions in the face of the global energy crisis and the broader impact on sovereign bond markets, and the role that both governments and asset managers can play to help bridge Asia’s widening gender pension income gap.

“Financial markets are facing a confluence of headwinds this year not seen in a generation,” said Paul Lorentz, CEO, Manulife Investment Management. “While we’ll continue to seek out opportunities to build resilient portfolios for our clients, we’re pleased to also share our investment research, which seeks to explore the potential longer-term impacts of today’s events.”

Global Intelligence topics include:

  • Food scarcity, energy insecurity: assessing sovereign ESG risks from the Russia-Ukraine conflictThis article examines the sovereign ESG risks—including second-order economic and sociopolitical events—triggered by the Russia-Ukraine situation.
  • Carbon credit use is reshaping timberland investmentsGlobal timberland specialists explain how the accelerating evolution of carbon markets and subsequent need for the incorporation of carbon values are changing the traditional calculus for timberland owners.
  • Food price inflation: 10 implications—We examine the impact of food price inflation on economies across the world. The article makes the case for why food security must be recognized as a major investment risk with far-reaching economic, social, and geopolitical implications. For example, these effects include the rising inequality of wealth and intensified geopolitical tensions between developed and emerging nations.
  • Building community: a new look at the role of U.S. regional banks—We assess the gap between the reputation of regional U.S. banks and the needs they fill and detail how the services these institutions provide improve conditions for consumers and society by facilitating small business financing, serving as an oasis in banking deserts in largely rural areas, and filling a critical need in traditionally underserved areas of banking.
  • Observing Asia’s gender pension disparities—This article explores the gender-related challenges and opportunities found within Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Malaysia that drive gender inequality at retirement, concluding that structural imbalances at every stage of women’s lives are responsible for financial challenges in later life.

More information and the full report are available here.

Infor Expands India Footprint with New Development Campus in Hyderabad


DigitalCFO Asia Newsroom | 14 October 2022

Leaders at the grand opening of Infor’s new Hyderabad development center: (from left) Ranga Pothula, Infor SVP, Global Delivery Services; John Frank, Infor president, Customer Experience Services, Professional Services; Soma Somasundaram, Infor president and CTO, Products and Technology, Development; Shri Jayesh Ranjan, principal secretary, Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT) Departments, Telangana government; Kevin Samuelson, Infor CEO; and Ben Perry, Infor chief human resources officer.

Infor, the industry cloud company, today announced the expansion of its India operations with the opening of its new development center (DC) in Hitech City, Hyderabad, one of India’s top destinations for technology and business. The new multi-storey state-of-the-art development center is spread over 350,000 sq. ft and will have the capacity for 3,500 employees. The development center was inaugurated by Shri Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary of the Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT) Departments of the Telangana government, and Kevin Samuelson, Chief Executive Officer of Infor.

Infor’s India DC is among the company’s two largest locations in the world, with over 3,700 employees in the country that drives key technology innovations to gain a competitive edge and market leadership for the global marketplace. This investment will allow Infor to continue to pioneer digital technologies such as cloud, mobility, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and IoT to deliver new industry-specific features and functions specialized for industries. With this expansion, Infor aims to leverage India’s diverse and skilled talent pool to drive digital innovation through expanded teams that span various functions, including engineering, operations, and R&D. 

“Hyderabad is fast emerging as a preferred IT hub for technology companies on the backbone of a thriving environment for the local talent pool. We welcome strategic investments by global companies to drive growth opportunities and provide a platform for talent to hone their skills,” said Shri KT Rama Rao, the Hon’ble Minister for Information Technology, Municipal Administration & Urban Development, Industries & Commerce of Telangana. “We are thrilled that several leading technology companies like Infor are deepening their investments in our people and economy. Infor’s expansion is an ideal example of fostering a collaborative approach to strengthen businesses and cement Hyderabad’s position on the global stage.” 

“We congratulate Infor on their strategic expansion of the new development campus in Hyderabad. It is truly delightful to witness some of the new age technology innovations being 

developed out of Infor’s Hyderabad Development Center with the Indian talent getting an opportunity to shape the future of industries,” said Shri Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary of the Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT) Departments of the Telangana government. “Our constant endeavor is to make Telangana an attractive destination for investment, and we will continue with our effort to collaborate with global companies like Infor to attract the best talent in spearheading breakthrough innovations.” 

“India is the strategic hub for skilled talents and global technology development for Infor. Over the past decade, we have harnessed the true potential of the immense talent pool in the region, and the expansion of our new development center in Hyderabad excites us to further strengthen our global efforts toward cloud innovation, engineering, and research,” said Kevin Samuelson, chief executive officer at Infor. “We are confident that the new center will play a pivotal role in sharpening our focus on developing breakthrough technologies that solve business challenges with industry-specific functionality to shape the future of enterprise software, and help world-class companies such as Larson and Toubro, Godrej Industries, Spykar, Plant Lipids and DB Schenkar, drive business transformations to achieve superior outcomes.” 

Actions For Earth – Global Leaders Summit 2022: Community Leaders Want Change To Shape Our Sustainable Future


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 26 August 2022

Industrial and governmental stakeholders address the causes and impacts of climate change.   

Community Leaders from Asia and the Commonwealth Countries arrived in Singapore and presented their Innovation Sustainable Solutions to shape our Sustainable Future at Actions for Earth – Global Leaders Summit from 23rd to 25th August at the open green arena building of the National Library Building.

During the 3-day summit, they explored Singapore’s sustainable initiatives by visiting the
NEWater plants and urban farmers, as well as experiencing public transportation and
understanding the local lifestyle, food and culture. The community leaders also shared their
plans on how they aim to cope with environmental challenges in their countries.

Actions for Earth – Global Leaders Summit 2022 is hosted by Hemispheres Foundation, an
environmental-focused non-profit organisation, and supported by Singapore Tourism Board
(STB), Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau and National Environment Agency, and
venue supported by the National Library Board.

The inaugural event was launched by Guest of Honour Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Minister of
State, Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment & Ministry of Transport
, and was
attended by distinguished guests, speakers and judges from Singapore, Nepal, Bangladesh,
Vietnam, Ghana and Nigeria.

The Guest of Honour also witnessed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between
Hemispheres Foundation and Centre for Natural Resources and Environment Communication,
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam, International Youth Society Nepal and
Tripla Difesa Onlus Bangladesh Chapter.

In Search for Global Leaders of Change

The world is facing an ongoing issue of sustainable living and climate change caused by rapid
over development within the last few decades. As a result, the climate movement focused on
pressuring industrial and governmental stakeholders to address the causes and impacts of
climate change has led to the rise of young climate fight leaders around the world.

In search of global leaders of change, Global Leaders Challenge by Actions For Earth Global
Leaders Summit is a challenge that invites global community leaders to compete and showcase
their sustainable projects. It aims to identify young and calibre minds with great ideas to not only
tackle some of the biggest challenges in the discourse of climate change, but to also lead the
global communities in the fight against climate change. The summit hopes to provide a platform
for aspiring community leaders to share their innovative solutions and encourage more people
in spreading the awareness surrounding climate change.

The winning prize money worth S$10,000 was awarded to the top 3 winners selected from 30
semi-finalists from 14 countries, who were shortlisted out of 9,000 contestants who initially
signed up for the Global Leaders Challenge 2021.

Ms. Ann Phua, President and Founder, Hemispheres Foundation said, “Some of you
travelled almost 24 hours to get to Singapore. That is the determination you demonstrated to be
part of this global platform to take actions for earth, for us! Your passion to be part of this earthly movement is overwhelming and we are grateful for your determination to be part of the change
for our living condition.”

The finalists were carefully selected based on their solutions that address seven out of the 17
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – Clean Water And Sanitation (6), Affordable
And Clean Energy (7), Sustainable Cities and Communities (11), Responsible Consumption And
Production (12), Climate Action (13), Life Below Water (14), and Life On Land (15).

An International Resolve to Tackle Climate Change

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) had brought together parties to
discuss and review how the climate is managed. As a global phenomenon, no country will be
spared from the impact of climate change, contributing to the growing international resolve in
tackling this issue.

Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment &
Ministry of Transport
, said, “It feels refreshing to witness so many community leaders’ projects
that cover a wide range of topics, such as clean energy, forest preservation and waste
minimisation. Nevertheless, they are all created for the same reason of fighting the existential
threat of climate change. At current rates of global warming, climate change will threaten our
access to essential resources, exacerbate diseases and pose physical risks to communities.
Besides the government and corporations, individuals like you and me have an important role to
play in our fight against climate change.”

The initiative is also supported by Clean and Green Singapore (CGS), Xography Studio, Farmer
Nick, International Youth Society Singapore, Center for Peace Advocacy and Sustainable
Development (CEPASD), Pounce Education Singapore, Trung Tâm Truyên Thông and African
Festival Foundation. To further their endeavours with this annual summit, the Actions For Earth
Global Leaders Summit has also announced its upcoming 2023 editions which will be hosted in
Nepal in March, and also in Vietnam in November 2023.

To learn more about the Actions For Earth – Global Leaders Summit 2022 and Hemispheres
Foundation, visit

Asia businesses struggle to offset losses from increased B2B bad debt, survey reveals

Alarming 60% increase in business-to-business (B2B) write-offs expected to pose a severe threat to liquidity of companies in Asia.

Chasing down unpaid B2B trade debt has become a major headache for Asian companies trading on domestic and export markets. They are facing sharply increased costs to manage customer credit risk in-house and thus protect cash flow from disruption caused by the current challenging economic and trading environment.

The problem becomes even more serious with long-term unpaid B2B trade debt (more than 90 days) that is written off as uncollectable despite several attempts to receive payment. In this situation businesses struggle to find additional sales, a measure that could help to offset their losses and thus avoid putting liquidity under pressure and a company’s entire future at risk.

Severe warning signs of a mounting strain on business liquidity are evident in the staggering 60% increase in business-to-business (B2B) bad debts that could not be collected, compared to our survey in 2021. This is the major concern spelled out by businesses polled in seven markets in Asia (China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam) and in the United Arab Emirates for the 2022 edition of the Atradius Payment Practices Barometer Survey for Asia.

Taiwan sounded the highest alarm, with a bad debt write-offs figure nearly three times higher than found in our past survey of the market — now at 8% of the total value of B2B invoices. Businesses in Hong Kong and Singapore also said they were taking a serious hit from increased write-offs, both seeing an average 50% increase. Another country suffering was Indonesia, with a reported 40% increase in write-offs. Vietnam was included in the survey for the first time and companies there said liquidity was being dented both by write-offs (at 6% of the total value of B2B invoices) and unpaid B2B trade debt, which was affecting around half of the B2B trade value.

A further worry for companies in the current challenging economic and trading circumstances is the difficulty of recovering profits when they are experiencing a high impact from write offs. The Atradius survey in Asia reveals that 20% more companies than in the previous year reported an increased willingness to extend credit to B2B customers. This is a signal that current market conditions are very competitive and that businesses struggle to get the additional sales revenue that would make good the losses from write-offs. The survey also found that a serious concern for companies in the months ahead is the ability to keep pace with demand (33%) as well as resilience of demand from B2B customers (25%).

All this has sparked increased awareness among most businesses polled about the importance of strategic credit risk management in B2B trade, with one in two companies across the markets polled expressing interest in insuring B2B trade receivables to mitigate the impact of customer credit risk on the business.

Andreas Tesch, Chief Market Officer of Atradius commented “The outlook for growth in Asia remains relatively robust at around 5% in both this year and 2023. But many of the region’s businesses operate across the world in the current deeply unsettled period, where the ongoing impact of the pandemic and geopolitical upheaval has meant a downward revision of the outlook for global growth to just above 3%. Companies in Asia are feeling the pinch from this widespread disruption in the global trading arena. Facing the increase in bad debt write-offs can be a warning sign of a business environment under financial stress. This certainly explains why the need for strong strategic credit management was seen to be a crucial theme throughout our survey across the region’s major economies”.

Roeland Punt, Atradius Regional Sales Director for Asia added: “Given the ongoing uncertainty in the market, we don’t expect the bad debts trend to recover quickly. The anxiety about the longer time it takes business to collect overdue payments from B2B customers remains acute. The credit management processes of companies will be put to the test, and those businesses which have a flexible and holistic approach to the issue will be better well placed to navigate the troubled waters that may lie ahead”.

The Atradius Payment Practices Barometer for Asia Pacific – June 2022 edition can be downloaded from the Atradius website at Atradius Hong Kong website (Publications section). It further provides in depth analysis of how businesses in key markets in Asia Pacific manage payment default risks related to selling on credit to B2B customers. Topics covered include: payment terms, the time it takes to collect invoices, managing payment delays, the impact of payment delays on business, and expected business trends.

ICAEW: Uneven Recovery Across South-East Asia, But Growth Expected Despite External Headwinds


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 14 June 2022

The economic recovery path chartered across the South-East Asian region has been uneven and must now contend with rising external headwinds from outside the region.

The economic recovery path chartered across the South-East Asian region has been uneven and must now contend with rising external headwinds from outside the region. Despite that, average growth of about 5.8% is expected for the region, according to the latest forecast presented at ICAEW Economic Insight Forum Q2.

Even though recovery across the South-East Asian region has been uneven with the Delta variant, most countries’ GDP including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have risen back up to pre-pandemic levels – with the exception of Thailand, which is still at 2% below pre-pandemic levels as its tourism industry struggled with travel and mobility restrictions.

It was noted that Vietnam was not particularly affected by the Delta variant wave, and hence did not experience large lockdowns that impacted its economy as much as Malaysia and the Philippines did. Singapore, on the other hand, was able to take advantage of the increase in demand for consumer electronics globally to increase its GDP growth by 7.6% last year.

Across the region, there is a marked lag in the recovery of the services sector in terms of accommodation, food and retail, but that is expected to increase with the reopening of borders and easing of travel restrictions. However, China’s zero Covid policy and rolling lockdowns had an impact on Thailand, whose tourists are mostly Chinese.

Other external headwinds include supply chain disruptions and weaker demand from China due to its lockdowns, as well as impacts on inflation and commodity prices resulting from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Despite that, the view ahead is fairly optimistic, with the region being forecast to grow by about 5.8% which is 3.7% up from last year. This can be attributed to the boost across the economies’ tourism sector from the opening of borders and loosening of measures.

A Broader Recovery for Singapore is Expected Despite a Slower Growth

Singapore’s growth of 7.6% last year was largely driven by the manufacturing and export sector, but that growth has since been moderated with a significant downward trend over the past few months. Its food and beverage service index has not returned to pre-Covid levels and is also still around 20% lower than it used to be.

However, a big uptick in retail sales and accommodation services in March was observed and with the easing of restrictions and containment measures, signs of a broader recovery for the services sector are expected to appear. It might still be a long way to catch up, but a couple of factors such as increase in earnings and the stemming of inflation will help to support this recovery.

Earnings have increased above 6% year on year in Q1, along with a fairly high personal savings ratio. Tight labour market conditions have resulted in the unemployment rate falling back to below pre-pandemic levels. These can help to strengthen household spending and domestic demand on the back of easing restrictions.

Despite inflation being historically high, it is expected to peak and start to drop off, as tightening measures are to be expected in Singapore from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Notwithstanding the slowdown in industrial production and weaker export volume due to the lockdowns in China, Singapore’s expected growth at 2.9% will be largely driven by the services sector. Even though it is down on last year’s very strong growth of 7.6%, this growth will be a lot more even among the sectors and result in a more broad-based recovery.

Mark Billington, ICAEW Managing Director International, said: “Even though the direct exposure of the Russia-Ukraine war on South-East Asia is limited, the region is impacted through inflation and monetary policy response on a global level. China’s zero Covid policy has also triggered a domino effect in terms of negative impact to the region’s manufacturing, industrial and tourism sectors. Without a doubt, these external headwinds will dampen growth but will not derail it, as we expect to see recovery in the services sector as we learn to live with Covid.”

Key findings from the Economic Forecast were presented by Sian Fenner, Lead Asia Economist at Oxford Economics at the ICAEW Economic Insight Forum Q2 2022 on 2 June 2022. She was joined by other panellists Julia Leong (FCA), Partner of PwC Singapore; Rafizi Ramli (FCA), Founder of Invoke Solutions; and Van Anh Huynh, Customer Success Account Manager of Microsoft in an insightful discussion on the prospects of an economic recovery for the region as it gradually pivots from pandemic to endemic, including factors such as tight labour market conditions and capacity of manufacturing experts.

Other findings from the Economic Insight Forum Q2 include:

Vietnam’s Growth To Rise By More Than 6.5% In 2022

Vietnam was able to bounce back quite quickly in 2021 as compared to the rest of the region. With the easing of restrictions from last year’s Q4 that carried over to this year’s Q1, there has been a significant recovery in its services sector driven by domestic tourism. There should be a boost on the international tourism front with the current endemic phase, as travellers return to Vietnam. Realised foreign direct investments inflow this year should also provide support for construction performance and labour, and also achieve export capacity which still remains healthy.

Negative Impact of Higher Commodity Prices On Malaysia

Malaysia is cushioned from the rising oil prices resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war, as it is a net oil exporter along with LNG, which means higher export revenues for Malaysia. The fuel subsidies implemented by the government also helps to keep consumer petrol prices in check. On top of its food protectionist measures, the impact of higher commodity and oil prices on Malaysia is negative. However, due to its lockdown measures last year from the Delta variant and high dependency on exports to China, it is expected to have a GDP growth of between 1 – 1.5% lower this year than otherwise.

View the on-demand recording of the ICAEW Economic Insight Forum Q2 2022 here.

Lioner Accelerates its Growth with Establishment of Singapore Business

Lioner establishes new entity in Singapore to further service and solidify its commitment to high-net-worth clients in Asia

Lioner International Group Ltd. (Lioner), a financial services pioneer, today announces that it has made a strategic move in expanding its holistic servicing network to Singapore through the establishment of a new entity in Singapore, which aims to service high net-worth (HNW) clients in the region. The development is a tremendous milestone, fulfilling the Group’s objective to expand its footprint in Asia, following a hugely successful launch in Hong Kong less than a year ago. This move compliments what Lioner has always embraced that is to become one of the finest yet full-service brokers in Asia.

Lioner International Group is a pioneer in three-in-one solution, covering insurance, trust and family office advisory services. Leveraging the advantages of its flexible partnership model and talent pools in Hong Kong and Singapore, Lioner’s Singapore business will in due course allow the Group to broaden its coverage to the Southeast Asia market on insurance solutions and the needs of HNW clients.

“We are looking forward into working on this Singapore project less than a year after our Hong Kong launch. Our rapid development is the result of our commitment and ability to holistically serve the Asian HNW community,” said Andrew Chan, Partner of Lioner, who is tasked with the role of developing, leading and managing the business in the region.

He added, “Many HNW families are facing significant business succession needs and challenges. In today’s rapidly changing economic environment and with the impacts of Covid-19 still being felt, Lioner and our team of experts are able to provide bespoke solutions and value-added strategies for our bank partners, family offices and clients in the region, helping them to navigate the complexities relating to their personal and family wealth, including family members or wealth relocations, and offer them integrated, tailored and all-in-one services to address their evolving needs.”

Singapore possesses many advantages for family offices and wealth management companies, including favorable government policies and a world-class legal and governance environment. Last year, Singapore’s Wealth Management Institute (WMI) launched the Global-Asia Family Office Circle (“GFO Circle”), designed to further support the sector’s growth. The expansion plan, together with the advantages of Singapore’s financial infrastructure, have allowed Lioner’s Singapore office to offer more effective cross-border support to Asian communities, more efficient consultancy services and bring a wide spectrum of global solutions to clients.

Esker Partners HitPay to Offer Businesses More Payment Options


Singapore — 24 May 2022 — Esker, a global cloud platform and leader in AI-driven process automation solutions for finance and customer service functions, today announced a strategic partnership with HitPay Payment Solutions Pte Ltd in Singapore. HitPay is a full-stack payment provider offering a full range of payment methods that include credit cards, BNPL, and local e-wallets in Asia.

With HitPay, Esker customers in Asia can now offer additional payment options to their customers, such as Paynow, Grabpay, and Alipay. HitPay’s payment solution is fully integrated with Esker’s Accounts Receivable solution, offering a wide range of flexible and easy-to-use options to get paid faster by providing additional payment methods that are available throughout Asia.

Learn more:

Airwallex And Onlineone’s New NetSuite Bank Feed Integration Simplifies Reconciliation Of Business Expenses


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 12 May 2022

Airwallex announces a new bank feed integration with leading accounting software NetSuite, developed in partnership with Onlineone, a NetSuite Solution Partner.

Building on its growing suite of accounting integrations, global fintech Airwallex announces a new bank feed integration with leading accounting software NetSuite, developed in partnership with Onlineone, a NetSuite Solution Partner.

From today, Airwallex’s customers in Australia, Hong Kong, EMEA and the US will be able to automatically synchronise transactions in their NetSuite accounts for the latest view of their financial position in a single platform. By eliminating the need for manual data entry, customers can enjoy easier, faster and more accurate reconciliation of business expenses.

“We’re excited to extend our integration partnerships to include NetSuite. By offering our customers the added convenience of automatically synchronising their Airwallex transactions to NetSuite, they stand to benefit from time savings and reduced risks associated with manual errors, allowing businesses to manage their finances more efficiently.” said Gajia Parsons, VP, Head of Product Partnerships at Airwallex.

“Being customers of Airwallex ourselves, and using Airwallex’s APIs, we saw the perfect opportunity to build innovative solutions on top of NetSuite,” said Craig Traub, Chief Operating Officer at Onlineone.

Earlier this year, Airwallex successfully trialled the integration with a group of businesses before today’s launch. Matthew Jie, a financial controller at Devcos International, an Australian brand development firm and one of the businesses that took part in the trial, said that the integration has helped them overcome challenges with manual payment reconciliation.

“We have been using the Airwallex bank feed in our NetSuite account for the past few months. It has saved us a significant amount of time on the daily manual uploads, and allows the team to perform bank reconciliation at any time in NetSuite without the worry of whether the transactions match up with our bank statements. This is absolutely a great feature for improving efficiency,” said Matthew.

This latest integration follows a string of other major partnerships that Airwallex has inked with some of the biggest brands in the world. Earlier this year, the company announced that it has been selected by Qantas Loyalty to power its new and upcoming financial services offering, Qantas Business Money. More recently, Airwallex partnered with UK-based investment app Plum to support the launch of its new US investing product.

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’ Confidence Edges Higher in Q1 2022, but Cost Concerns Reach a Record High


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 7 April 2022

Finance professionals identify the biggest risks ahead as supply chains volatility and renewed Covid restrictions

The latest edition of the Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) reveals worries about operating costs, with warnings of future economic shocks and increased risks.

The full report is available at

Conducted just before and at the onset of the war in Ukraine between February 14 and March 1, 2022, the results understandably point to economic turbulence in the coming months.

GECS’s index of concern about operating costs jumped again in the latest survey by nine percentage points and is now at its highest level on record at 62%.

This dramatic rise has played out over the last year and tracks the effects of rising energy and transport costs caused by supply chain shortages and disruption.

In the Q1 survey, global confidence and global orders were little changed, up by four points to +9 for confidence and by two points to -3 for orders. Other economic activity indicators, such as employment and capital spending improved. Overall, the Q1 survey continues the trend of modest overall growth through to the middle of the year, following the strong post-pandemic recovery of 2021.

In Q1, the Middle East was the best performing region with jumps in confidence and orders, likely a reflection of the increase in the oil price. Confidence and orders fell back in North America, influenced by the effects of the spread of the Omicron COVID variant.   

The level of orders in advanced regions remains above that in emerging regions, as it has throughout the post-pandemic recovery.

GECS’s two “fear” indices – measured by concern that customers and suppliers may go out of business – were little changed in the Q1 survey, down by two points and one point respectively. Both indices have fallen back from extreme levels seen in 2020 but are still above pre-pandemic levels.

Economic conditions are expected to continue to shift as the full impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is felt this spring.

“Given the fast-moving and unpredictable nature of the war in Ukraine, it’s important to note that the survey may not fully capture the likely effects of the invasion,” said ACCA’s chief economist Michael Taylor. “But we have a picture of the immediate economic costs of the war in Ukraine and the main conclusion is that the rise in commodity prices, especially for oil, natural gas, and wheat will push inflation even higher in most economies, further squeezing real incomes and slowing economic growth.”

Compared with previous forecasts, global growth may be reduced by as much as one percentage point this year, to around 3.25%.

“We again asked respondents to name their two biggest economic risks – 51% said supply chain disruption and 50% said renewed COVID restrictions,” said Loreal Jiles, vice president of research and thought leadership at IMA. “Compared with the Q4 survey, there was an increase in rising interest rates as a risk, up to 40% from 26%. We expect U.S. interest rates to rise steadily this year, and this may result in a tightening of global financial conditions.”

Both ACCA and IMA warn of the risk of policy mistakes.

“Removing the exceptional policy ease introduced to mitigate the effects of the pandemic was always going to be tricky,” Jiles continued. “Over the last year, supply shortages and now the Russia-Ukraine war have resulted in a stagflation scenario reminiscent of the 1970s which was a time of weak economic growth combined with high rates of inflation.”

“The economic consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are yet to fully emerge,” concluded Taylor. “Central banks in advanced economies face a difficult judgement call that could result either in over-tight policy causing recession or too easy policy embedding inflation and inflation expectations. Policies need to be thought through and stress tested very carefully in the days, weeks, and months ahead.”

ICAEW webinar identifies critical next steps in global sustainability transition


DigitalCFO Asia Newsroom | 7 April 2022

Hosted by ICAEW, the webinar, Beyond Green and Climate: Achieving the Global Sustainability Transition, brought business and thought leaders from around South-East Asia – including representatives from the UK Department for International Trade, the United Nations Environment Programme and World Bank – to contribute and collaborate on the sustainability agenda, discussing what more is needed in the global transition to net zero. 

Michael Izza, ICAEW Chief Executive Officer, kicked off the webinar by proposing a call to action to those in attendance, to lead by example by helping organisations adapt successfully, and transition to more sustainable business models in driving systemic change that is needed.

Datuk Tengku Muhammad Taufik, President and Group Chief Executive Officer at Petronas highlighted the perils that climate change has already caused to our world – more than 3.3 billion people living in a highly vulnerable climate context, and most recently in Malaysia, with floods having caused an estimated $1.5 billion in damages. He acknowledged the harsh reality that business as usual is no longer viable, and how Petronas is shifting from being a commodities player to becoming a more customer-centric solutions provider in helping customers decarbonise their energy systems. He concluded his speech calling for rapid collective action and coordinated collaboration to address the climate issue.

Following Datuk Tengku Taufik’s call for leaders to collaborate and work together on addressing the climate crisis. The event’s guest of honour, H.M. Deputy Trade Commissioner for APAC, Sam Myers, took the virtual stage to reiterate the United Kingdom government’s strong financial support to ASEAN nations to enable low carbon energy and sustainable economic development programmes. However, while the UK government continues to be ready to support ASEAN’s climate-centric initiatives, he also stated that the private sector has a key role to play, especially in plugging financing gaps that may exist as economies continue to pursue sustainability. 

Sam went on to discuss how the digital economy, and more specifically, digital trade, can help lower carbon-intensiveness of global trade routes which are a major contributor to global emissions.  He then called for leaders to combine their ambitions, commitments, and partnerships to tackle these issues together in his closing statement before handing the webinar over to the panel discussion.

The webinar convened a panel of key opinion leaders in the sustainability space, who represent some of the world’s leading organisations in championing sustainability: 

  • Datuk Tengku Muhammad Taufik, President and Group Chief Executive Officer, PETRONAS
  • Tatiana Didier, Senior Economist, World Bank
  • Trista Chen, Partner, APAC Regional M&A Services, Financial Sector and ESG/Sustainable finance Lead, ERM
  • Yuki Yasui ACA, Asia Pacific Co-ordination Manager, UNEP Finance Initiative, UN Environment

The panel discussed what truly is needed to achieve the global sustainability transition, with Datuk Tengku Taufik speaking at length on Petronas’ own experience in shifting from being an oil and gas business to one that’s seen as an energy and solutions provider as an imperative in dealing with the climate issue. However, a major issue for the global business community in transitioning to sustainability, is financing, which the panel delves into next. 

Tatiana Didier led the discussion on sustainability financing and, brought up the issue of transition risk – such as risk that arise from potential policy change, the incorporation of new technologies, shift in consumer preference, and even changes to investor expectations – that businesses need to pay mind to as they pivot towards more sustainable policy. She raised a point that while there are enormous investment opportunities that come with this stage of transition, the financial sector plays a crucial role in mobilising finance during this transition. However, in doing so she emphasises that companies need to grow aware of the associated risk that comes with these new investments companies are making, prioritising resilience as an enabler to growth towards their sustainability goals.

Trista Chen, then added on, sharing her knowledge of financing mechanisms to progress investments into the sustainability space. She clarified that the role of financing does not just fall squarely on the shoulders of the public sector, but requires a joint effort by both the public and private sectors. She implored the C-suite in corporate companies to be proactive in being the catalysts for the transition, tapping on the broad range of financial instruments available in funding these new investments – especially in Asia, where a synchronised definition for sustainable finance is yet to exist.

The final question posed by the audience, queried panelists on what advice they have for young ACA members who wish to explore their career options in the ESG industry, given that a universal sustainability framework does not yet exist. Datuk Tengku Muhammad Taufik opined that much of what these members do in their work is to understand business models, and build around the controls, assurances and transparency around how a company creates values, and from there recommend areas that can incorporate more sustainable practices. 

Trista encouraged young ACA members to understand the industry at large, examining their own personal interests, finding out what excites them as a means of finding a role that excites them – especially since there are many roles to play in the industry and the transition that it’s on, its important in working out which part or role one wishes to play.

In concluding the webinar, Yuki Yasui reminded everyone present that we have a part to play in sustainability, and that if one is truly passionate about the cause, then there will always be a role that he or she can play, and in turn, also contribute back to the growing profession of accountancy.

“The world now accepts that climate change is the biggest single challenge we face, and that we all have a responsibility to address it.” said Michael Izza, ICAEW Chief Executive Officer. “We’re at a critical point in history, and that we should all understand that the way we do business will have profound implications for our health, the natural world, and ultimately, the long-term sustainability of our planet.” 

ICAEW is committed to being at the forefront of dialogue and driving actions that contribute towards sustainability. The Institute continues to provide support to its members by offering a wide range of products, services, events, information and resources. It has strengthened its partnerships with leading professional firms to develop guidance on sustainability reporting and climate action for businesses such as the ICAEW Climate Hub and ICAEW Global Goals Hub, which host relevant resources that promotes sustainable business practices and offers inspiration and tools to contribute towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

To watch the recording on demand, please click here.

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