With the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) firmly established, ACCA and Shanghai National Accounting Institute (SNAI) have hosted their third annual Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum, this year titled Technology Development and Accounting Infrastructure.

Speakers from government, international organisations, and leading companies involved in BRI were on stage in Shanghai to examine a wide range of issues linked to this initiative – including the links between global infrastructure and technology, including big data, cloud computing, AI, blockchain and 5G and how these are already impacting the accountancy profession.

Speaking about the event, ACCA chief executive Helen Brand said: “What was clear from this third forum is that technology brings challenges as well as opportunities for the countries along the Belt & Road, a route that is so very dependent on physical, digital and technological connections. These are already having a lasting impact on the accountancy profession, which has a powerful part to play as a super connector to help BRI and global trade succeed in the short and long-term.”

SNAI president Prof Li Kouqing added: “This third forum was insightful and ambitious, covering very relevant issues about technology, infrastructure and the profession’s future. I was impressed with the forum’s discussions and focus on accounting talent and training, as without skilled and talented finance professionals, infrastructure falters. BRI depends a great deal not just on digital connectivity, but also on the connections finance professionals forge together, sharing their expertise and wisdom.”

During the forum, ACCA and SNAI also published a third joint report on BRI – Belt and Road Central Asia accounting infrastructure. The report explores the accounting infrastructure across Central Asia. The event was held as part of ACCA’s Power of Connections project, which aims to showcase how the accounting profession can assist global connectivity.