Deloitte is on the hunt for talent as it gears up to help its clients prepare for a raft of new accounting standards. After a period of little change, three International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are being introduced over a relatively short time.
IFRS15 on revenue recognition became applicable from 2018, while IFRS16 on leases will come into force from 2019, and IFRS17, governing insurance contracts, will kick in from 2022, after being postponed from a 2021 start date.
Lal Manglani, Assurance Partner at Deloitte, says: “With all these changes coming in, there is a lot of demand from companies for experienced people who understand the content of these standards and possess implementation knowledge and experience.
“Implementation of each standard takes effort. The amount of work out there is very large. Our existing teams are already being fully utilised on a lot of these projects, but there is even more demand in the market.”
While IFRS17 only impacts insurers, IFRS16 has implications for a wide range of companies including those in telecoms, banking, insurance and retail, as well as airlines and firms involved in shipping and transportation. Manglani explains that the standard affects everything from office leases to the leasing of professional equipment. It is also a complicated standard to implement.
Christine Chao Wen, Assurance Partner at Deloitte, says: “I have to communicate to our clients that while IFRS16 looks straightforward to implement, it is actually very difficult in practice.” She explains that a large amount of leasing data needs to be collected under IFRS16, and this represents a huge challenge for many companies.
The new standard is also expected to significantly impact companies’ reported earnings, assets and liabilities, while it will change the classification of expenses and cashflows.
To help clients prepare for the transition Deloitte has created two new service lines, namely a compliance accounting team and a specialist IFRS16 service team. This is because in addition to implementing new standards, clients often require assistance with existing standards – either to embed processes into business as usual, or when businesses change or evolve.
Wen says: “We want to have more talent join us to serve more clients and help them with the transition and implementation of accounting standards.”
Deloitte has also developed a range of tools using automated technology to help its clients understand the new standard, including accelerators to prepare forecasts for them on the impact the new standard will have on their future performance.
Manglani says: “Our expertise comes in terms of not only helping clients understand the requirements and how to implement them, but also evaluating the different options available within the standards and which ones will work better for them.
“Companies welcome the support from other professionals on how to solve issues and come up with more than one idea on implementing the standards. That is where clients really appreciate us being at the table with them.”
To handle the demand created by the implementation of the accounting standards, Deloitte is looking to recruit new talents for a variety of roles. Manglani says: “We are not only looking for senior people at manager or associate director level to help lead the engagements, we are also looking for people who will help us perform some of the detailed work our clients will require us to do.”
In terms of geographies, it is looking to meet demand in Hong Kong and China, particularly in the major cities, as well as across South East Asia, which Deloitte services from Singapore, and in Australia, Korea and Japan. “The nature of the issue is such that virtually all companies across Asia and the world generally are being impacted,” Manglani says.
Deloitte is not only looking for people with professional accounting qualifications from organisations such as the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, but also those with the skills to communicate the new standards to clients and understand what impact they will have on their business.
Wen adds that they should also be fast learners, so that they can get to grips with the standards quickly and help clients develop a successful blueprint for implementing them.
Manglani agrees: “If we have people who are hungry for knowledge and interested in learning, we are able to pass on our knowledge to them and have them go out and do the same to our clients.”
As one of the Big Four accountancy firms, Deloitte offers its staff a number of benefits, including global opportunities. Manglani explains: “Being a global firm we are working more and more closely with our member firms across Asia, Europe and the US. “We provide opportunities for people to leverage on the knowledge that is collectively gained within the organisation. We also give people the ability to move across different locations and broaden their experience.”
Wen points out that Deloitte is a very caring employer, with Deloitte China recently introducing free critical illness care for employees’ parents. She has also been impressed with the way Deloitte supports its talents’ career development, particularly for women.
She explains that after joining Deloitte in 2010, she had a baby. When her daughter was 6 months, her mother and father had cancer . “Deloitte gave me flexible working time to enable me to take care of my family and do my job at the same time. I did that for almost two years.
“I also had the chance to join the assurance advisory team. I am now a partner. I never thought I would be a partner one day because I was prioritizing my time between my family and work for almost 2 yearsbut Deloitte gave me the chance to develop my career. I really appreciate that.”
Manglani echoes this, pointing out that giving people the opportunity to advance their career is something that is cherished by the firm. “Learning is part of our DNA and we support our employees very strongly in terms of enhancing what they know and learning new things.”
He adds that Deloitte not only provides staff with technical training, but it also helps them improve their soft skills, as these are extremely important in terms of how they come across to clients. Employees who are working for new qualifications are also offered support through internal training and mentorships.
Manglani thinks the current raft of new standards being introduced offer a great opportunity for accountants. He says: “These are large and very interesting projects. If you are looking for something interesting to do in your career and you want to grow your knowledge, then you need to come and join us.”