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In 2016 Malaysia's economic growth slowed due to lower oil prices, however long term the country's economic outlook looks healthy with its diverse mix of exports and opportunities linked with China's Belt and Road initiative.

Talent is most the urgent driver of change. Skill shortages and challenges in the education system underline the challenge, together with the relatively low participation of women in the workforce are recognised issues.

Skills for the future

The practice of accounting and the accountancy profession are changing with the introduction of international regulations and standards, particularly the adoption of IPSAS, which will have an effect on the professional accountant in the public sector.

Big data is also likely to have significant implications for the skills that finance professionals in the sector will have to nurture, as well as their role in helping risk management, including that of rising cybersecurity threats.