|Ashish Verma FCPA (Aust.), head of finance, IT, and commodities for Kirby South East Asia |
“Vietnam is seeing a wave of innovation with the financial industry experimenting with automation, predictive analytics, new delivery platforms, digital-only banking, blockchain, and artificial intelligence to provide higher quality and more personalised services at lower price points,” he said.
In turn, the market is reacting positively to the adoption of fintech initiatives such as digital banking and alternative lending mechanisms that are accelerating financial inclusion and making access to financial services easy, fast, and convenient even for the unbanked, believes the business leader.
“Our own company has recently partnered with a peer-to-peer lending firm to support vendors by providing them with alternate supply chain financing solutions,” says Verma, who was recognised in Asia’s Power Leader in Finance 2021-2022 by White Page International Singapore.
Proof of a booming fintech sector can be seen in the transaction value of the digital payments segment in Vietnam reaching $14.4 billion last year, according to Statista Digital Market Outlook.
By 2025, it is estimated that this segment will reach around $23.4 billion.
CPA Australia prepares the members for critical industry leadership with finance concept knowledge and strategic business acumen that is highly relevant for fintech enterprises.
This includes a digital finance module that Verma says built his knowledge around how to solve complex problems.
“Even though I work predominantly in finance, I heavily leverage technology including Tableau for visualisation and multiple Python libraries for data analytics, effective communication, and to make sense of hidden trends and patterns,” he added.
“Because our business is often exposed to commodity and forex markets, we use machine learning models and algorithms to predict price patterns and to make data-driven decisions that curtail risk.”
An ambassador for the Global Blockchain Business Council, the FCPA says that while he adopted finance as his primary career, he has always been a tech enthusiast.
“I have also placed emphasis on learning opportunities, and I chose the CPA Program specifically as the curriculum is vast and focuses not only on traditional finance and tax aspects but also on emerging disciplines including use of technology in finance.”
With CPA Australia, accounting is more than just assessments, reports, and spreadsheets.
The knowledge Verma gained about strategy and leadership concepts through his study has enabled him to make informed decisions in the emerging fintech domain and shape the future.
However, he cautions those who want to truly change their world, “While anybody can learn technology or finance, in the end, what is going to matter is the kind of person you are – how you approach challenging situations and solve problems.
“The approach taken during the entire CPA Program curriculum is solution oriented.”
A competitive advantage
Verma moved to Vietnam in 2015 to take up the role of head of finance and IT with Kirby South East Asia, the largest engineering company in Asia.
He had previously held accounting and finance roles in India, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, where he worked as a finance consultant and analyst.
“For that role, I had to learn database management, data science, machine learning, product building, process mapping, and other relevant tools,” he says.
A lifelong learner, whose positive attitude has exposed him to multiple verticals including financial planning and analysis, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance, Verma believes the CPA Program can help everyone from professionals working in accounting or digital finance to CEOs to impact the future.
“I would recommend it to others to enhance their career prospects and develop critical skills such as problem-solving, strategy, and leadership,” he stated.
“By using these skills, it is possible to make it to more senior leadership positions or achieve entrepreneurship goals where one can have an impact.”
CPA Australia’s corporate learning solutions also provide programmes tailored to individual finance teams' needs that encompass both technical training such as tax and business partnering as well as soft skills including leadership.
Updates on technical, legislative, and regulatory matters and accessible resources on emerging technologies are other benefits of CPA Australia membership, said Verma. As are ample opportunities to build a professional network through platforms such as CPA Member Connect and general discussion forums.
There are also ongoing upskilling opportunities, industry interactions, and experience sharing, he added.
CPA Australia is one of the world’s largest professional accounting bodies, with more than 170,000 members working in 100 countries and regions across the globe.
“Being a member of CPA Australia is a competitive advantage due to continuous learning and professional development,” said the FCPA.
Future growth fuelled by impactful strategies
The business leader believes that, in a fast-changing digital world, the future belongs to companies that recognise the opportunity to fuse products and services that deliver added value to customers and are underpinned by technology that makes better business possible.
“A lack of financial inclusion and the non-availability of credit are the most pressing issues in Vietnam. However, if corrected, these two factors can fuel economic growth and help uplift the population to social prosperity.”
He feels that fintech leaders who want to be successful in the sector should continue to seek insights into its evolution, have well-developed strategies for leveraging innovation, and focus on customers’ needs first to drive solutions.
“They should also be open to learning, not only from their own experiences but from the experiences of others both inside and outside their industry.”
When there is an opportunity to learn something new, take it, advised Verma.
“Born with a curious mind, I have never missed an opportunity to acquire knowledge.”
Step forward to create impact. Start by finding out how to become a CPA at an information session now.
Join an enthusiastic network of professionals and make the impact you’d like to see.
Contact the CPA team for enquiries.
CPA Australia Hanoi representative office:
P: + 842462634320 ; E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ho Chi Minh City representative office:
P: +842835208338 ; E: email@example.com