The findings are published in a new report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Machine learning: more science than fiction which highlights how new tech developments have a massive potential for the accountancy profession. The report focuses on machine learning, which is the ability of computers to “learn“ and make decisions or predictions based on analysis of large sets of data.
Narayanan Vaidyanathan, the report’s author and head of business insights at ACCA says: “Machine learning is a critical area of development for accountants. Looking ahead it will be crucial to understand its value and benefits, as well as the ethical challenges it presents. In all this, the starting point has to be a legitimate business need with a clear understanding of what it can bring to the organisation.
“AI and machine learning can add value to the work accountants do — from generating valuable insights for business decision-making, to fraud detection, risk assessment, understanding complexities in taxation and also with more effective non-financial reporting. So the accountancy profession needs to understand how AI and machine learning works, especially given its role in influencing the trust we have in the decisions of these systems.”
Reuter Chua, head of ACCA Singapore adds: “Singapore prides itself on its tech capabilities, and is a thriving global tech hub. But when it comes to AI, accountants are trying to see through the hype to understand the realities. As with all technology, with power comes responsibility and in the case of machine learning ethical considerations are never far away. Accountants need to consider and manage potential ethical compromise from decision-making by algorithm, such as the risk of bias in the data set that feeds them and the issue of accountability for decisions made.“
The results for Singapore show that 27 per cent are having initial discussions or exploring concepts of machine learning, compared to 24 per cent globally. Six per cent, one of the highest percentages compared to other markets, are at advanced testing stage, with “go live“ in three to six months, and six percent are at full production mode dealing with live data.
The report also found that 35 per cent of those surveyed in Singapore have no plans to adopt machine learning in their organisation, while 13 per cent are undecided about it.
Locally, the main barriers to adopting machine learning are lack of skilled staff at 57 per cent, with 48 per cent citing cost as a barrier. Nearly a fifth admits they see no clear benefit from using machine learning.
The report emphasises that at a minimum all finance professionals should know how AI is evolving and be alert to how the developing capabilities could overlap with their impact on their roles. To prepare for the digital future, ACCA already examines a range of digital topics within its Masters level ACCA Qualification. It has also enhanced the digital content across many of the exams for students, while also ensuring digital is weaved into members’ continuous professional development.
Reuter Chua concludes: “Machine learning’s entrance into the accountancy mainstream is a huge opportunity here in Singapore, but also globally. This is an area where professional accountants have the chance to develop a core understanding of emerging technologies, building their digital skills alongside their communication skills so they can explain the results really well. They can then truly benefit from the ability of technologies like machine learning to support them with intelligent analysis of vast amounts of data.”
Experienced Industry Veteran Tony Mingo Joins O’Neil Digital Solutions
O’Neil Digital Solutions (ODS), a leader in data-driven publishing and plan sponsor/participant communication services, recently announced that long-time financial technology (fintech) veteran Tony Mingo has joined the organization as its Managing Director, Professional Services in the financial vertical.
Mingo’s role is “to assist cutting-edge companies in their data-transformation strategies.”
Before joining ODS, Mingo founded vWise, Inc., a retirement plan participant digital thought-leader, in 2006, with a vision of creating interactive solutions that engage employees with their benefits. His experience as a leader in the financial services industry spans over 28 years, with additional experience in executive management leadership within the technology industry in Silicon Valley.
“With Tony’s experience and relationships in the financial industry, we are excited to have him build and lead our Professional Service in the Financial division at ODS,” said Terry Chan, President and COO of ODS.
Mingo will focus on growing the software and professional services offerings for the firm’s financial and insurance lines of business.
“It’s about delivering a proven digital transformation strategy, from traditional output to Omni-channel conversion, as well as process improvement, change management, and SAAS platforms that serve six different verticals (retirement, banking, brokerage, property/casualty, wealth management and life insurance/annuity),” Mingo said. “It has never been more imperative that organizations provide world-class customer experiences to plan participants to strengthen their reputations and brand loyalty. Meeting these expectations requires a deeper understanding of an individual customer’s needs across the entire customer journey.”
In early 2019, O’Neil launched its Plan Health Dashboard. The Plan Health Dashboard uses a client’s plan analytics to assign a plan health score based on underlying metrics such as participation rates, income replacement ratios, and asset diversification. The metrics can be weighted to define the scoring methodology.
ODS’ Omni-channel solution, called ONEsuite, provides clients with a flexible platform to create, manage and deliver highly-personalized marketing, sales and business documents in any media and format requested by an audience.
SOURCE O’Neil Digital Solutions
Konnect -Volkswagen Group Innovation Hub TLV, Chose Seebo as the Winner of Its Startups Challenge
Seebo, a pioneer in process-based Artificial Intelligence, announced today it has won the Konnect- VW Group Innovation hub TLV Startups Challenge. Seebo was chosen following a tough judging process, by a jury of experts from the Volkswagen Group leading car brands such as Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Porsche, VW Commercial Vehicles and more.
“The goal of the challenge was to find technologies that present clear business potential, cost reduction, and address real challenges.” Says Stephanie Vox, Managing Director, Konnect. “Seebo’s solution is market-ready and can rapidly impact production efficiency and costs. It was chosen based on the Volkswagen Group high standards and commitment to deliver to our customers top quality cars today and in the future.”
Seebo was selected out of dozens of start-ups that participated in the challenge. The prize recognizes Seebo’s ground-breaking technology and ensures a deep collaboration with the VW Group, for which a sum of up to 25K Euros is granted.
“We are honored to have been chosen as winners of the Smart Startups Challenge for 2019, by the leading VW Group brands, which are known for quality and innovation.” Says Lior Akavia, Seebo co-founder and CEO. “We look forward to this collaboration and to being part of the VW Group on-going pursuit for improvement in production efficiency and excellence.”
Seebo enables automotive manufacturers to reduce processes-driven quality losses and failures in production and assembly processes. Collecting and analyzing data from production lines and automated inspection systems, Seebo leverages predictive analytics and automated root-cause analysis, to ensure production efficiency is kept at its highest level.
Innovative Healthcare Startup Kermit Leverages Mendix-built Analytics Platform to Expand Services Nationwide
Mendix, a Siemens business and the global leader in low-code and no-code application development for the enterprise, today announced that Kermit, the first spend-management platform for hospitals in the area of implantable medical devices, is announcing plans to expand their services nationwide. Kermit’s innovative analytics platform, enabling hospitals to track and manage contracts, billings, and vendor compliance, was built with a single Mendix developer in less than a year. Today’s announcement underscores the fact that low code technology from Mendix is ripe for implementation within the healthcare industry.
As knee, hip, and cardio implants move from package to patient, the Mendix-built platform captures data and provides end-to-end visibility into a supplier category known for its notoriously opaque pricing and batch invoicing. With Kermit, the accurate cost and use of each medical device is captured on handheld devices as the medical item moves from point-of-service in the operating room, accurate patient billing and vendor invoice payment, and finally aggregated for contract negotiations by healthcare executives. The data-driven analytics platform transforms a hospital’s previously siloed, paper- and spreadsheet-based data collection system into a cost-savings tool that flags supplier trends, optimizes workflows and spending, and provides quick dashboard reporting that has been proven to save hospitals millions of dollars.
“We are thrilled to announce our plans to expand the Kermit services nationwide,” says Richard Palarea, CEO and co-founder of Kermit, whose company now manages 40% of the total implant spend transacting in Maryland. “Our goal is not only to provide better data and save money for resource-strapped hospitals. We also want to shine a light on fraud and abuse within the medical device marketing industry and align value and spend management initiatives for the people that dedicate their lives to saving others. Our customers are now seeing significant savings in their medical device spending category. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve all this had it not been for Mendix. We built our platform using Mendix, and I attribute a large portion of our success to the ease of using Mendix’s low-code platform.”
Providing transparency and control
Fraud and abuse often run rampant in the sales and marketing of drugs and medical devices and is difficult to track across the healthcare industry’s siloed or proprietary data warehouse systems. Kermit provides a transparent analytics platform for surgeons, supply chain managers, and healthcare executives that connects medical device data to robust visualization and analysis, empowering the full team to make quality decisions on behalf of the patient. For surgeons, the platform provides an easy and transparent way to review the costs of implantable medical devices while discussing options with patients. Kermit also ensures fair and accurate billing by keeping cases, contracts, and devices updated and organized for supply chain managers. Additionally, Kermit pulls in external business intelligence such as supplier spending trends, contract compliance, and FDA recalls of medical devices. Such items, flagged for healthcare executives and procurement managers, provide knowledge and insight on device-related inefficiencies, equipping hospital to better navigate the ever-changing reimbursement environment.
Saving hospitals millions
Hospitals are working under immense pressure to manage costs and increase savings, with many operating on profit margins of 3 percent or less. Kermit’s founding principle is to return the balance of power back to the hospital by exposing ways to eliminate millions of dollars per year in the category of medical device spending and improving patient care. The University of Maryland Medical System, which has used the Kermit analytics platform over the course of two years, has achieved upwards of $30 million in savings, with greater visibility to vendor activity and collaboration between supply chain and surgeons. Hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region that have adopted Kermit report saving 30% on average of their total implant spend per year.
Built in nine months
Palarea cites Mendix’s flexible approach to rapid application development as a key competitive differentiator. “Without Mendix, it would have taken us nearly twice as long to develop our product and required us to hire five to ten developers instead of one,” he says. “We would have lost the window of being first to market this innovative approach.”
Mendix’s cloud-native capability enables Kermit to bypass hospital firewalls for additional time and efficiency gains. “Hospital IT departments can be bottlenecks,” Palarea admits. “Enterprise solutions can take between one to three years to implement. However, our customers access our Mendix-built platform via web browsers and connectivity. This lets Kermit bypass IT involvement and deploy our solution in less than seven days.”
The healthcare industry’s digital transformation depends on healthy data. “To leverage the inherent promise of big data analytics in the healthcare supply chain of medical devices is only achieved with a deep understanding of what customers and end users truly need and use on a daily basis,” says Jon Scolamiero, Mendix manager, architecture and governance. “Mendix’s application development tools are designed to foster collaboration between business experts and professional developers. Working together, they can build and deploy responsive, mission-critical applications that quickly make an impact.”
Palarea agrees. “Mendix has allowed us to be extremely nimble and flexible,” he says. “We are literally innovating in the midst of our hospital customers who are unaccustomed to seeing value delivered so rapidly and well below the expected budget numbers.”
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