FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong accounting firms digitise faster than Singapore counterparts

Around 81% of local firms use automation apps compared to 34.5% in Singapore.

Accounting firms in Hong Kong are quicker to embrace automation tools than their counterparts in Singapore, according to the newly released annual industry report from technology platform Xero.

So-called “pacesetting” companies that comprise the top 15% of the market and possess high growth and revenue rates are the leading the digitisation drive, with 81% of such firms in Hong Kong using automation apps compared to only 34.5% in Singapore.

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Practices that provide complex advisory services are the biggest users of automation tools (42.9%), trailed by simple advisory services (33.3%) and basic compliance services (24%).

With the Xero report also finding that total advisory revenue among Hong Kong-based companies averaged at $2,739,000, roughly double that among Singapore-based counterparts at $1,384,268 (S$242,600), the higher adoption rate of automation tools suggests a positive impact by enabling accounting firms to allocate more time to higher-valued advisory services.

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However, Singapore-based companies are expected to pick up the digitisation pace in 2019, with more than half saying they are considering using data automation tools in comparison to just 32.1% of Hong Kong-based firms.

“We see automation tools being an integral part of the workflow of accounting firms in Hong Kong and Singapore, and we expect this trend to continue in the next 24 months," Kevin Fitzgerald, regional director for Asia at Xero said in a statement. "By automating administrative jobs, accounting firms are getting into position to extend their capabilities beyond basic compliance services, to providing advisory services which is currently growing in demand.”

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