Change is imminent
In an online survey of around 500 finance and business professionals, conducted for this report, 79% of them expressed the view that businesses will adapt to the changes engendered by CPEC and such adaptations will be made in the business plans of organisations in Pakistan within one to five years.
The skills needed for finance professionals to deal with change
In order to deal with the imminent changes, finance professionals need to equip themselves with the key skills of effective communication, better use of business analytics, knowledge of the relevant taxation structure and strong leadership.
Around 86% of survey respondents agreed that they should attend short courses on business, Chinese language and culture.
Following the increase in Chinese investments in Pakistan, professionals in accountancy can explore providing a one-stop-shop solution to investors, from registration of a company to accountancy and tax advisory services.
Over 54% of respondents agreed that the board of directors will be the appropriate forum for discussing and deciding upon the opportunities that CPEC will bring, while 32% agreed that organisations’ risk management committees should be engaged in evaluating such opportunities.
Around 54% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that there is a need for risk-management mechanisms in organisations for reviewing and assessing the challenges and risks that will arise from CPEC-related business changes. Not everyone had firm opinions on this, with 34.2% remaining neutral.
Only 26% of respondents agreed that their organisations are taking steps to address the environmental issues that will arise from the impact of business growth due to CPEC, while around 50% remained neutral on the key question about the steps that their entities will initiate to protect the environment from these changes.
The key strengths cited by the business and finance professionals include availability of human resource in the country, the potential for tourism, the quality of infrastructure in the form of roads, etc.
Despite the availability of human resource, however, one common weakness cited was a lack of skills, so there is a need for adequate capacity building and increasing the literacy rate, enabling Pakistan’s people to benefit from the CPEC developments.
Lack of awareness about CPEC was also cited as one of the country’s key weaknesses: more workshops, seminars and publications are required to educate people to equip themselves for the future changes.
Possible failure to maintain law and order is one of the key threats cited, along with the mismanagement of resources and governance-related issues, while the opportunities commonly cited include the generation of employment opportunities, increased trade and improvements in infrastructure.