More and more countries along the Belt and Road routes have committed to enhancing their overall IT infrastructure. This is in recognition of the digital economy as the new economic growth engine.
To improve the digital interconnection along the Belt and Road (B&R) routes we need to explore ways of producing quality accounting information, up-skill the digital competencies of accountants and support international moves towards tax reform.
The fast development of digitalisation in accounting is playing an important part of building the 'Digital Silk Road'. This digitalisation can improve accounting information connectivity between companies and the connectivity between a company and its stakeholders. It can also lay a solid foundation for accounting infrastructure as well as promoting cooperation along the B&R routes.
There is enormous space for economic cooperation along the B&R routes. More than 60% of the companies surveyed operate in countries along the routes. Another 20% were intending to follow suit. More than 71% of the companies had set up fewer than 10 branches in the region, and were still in the early stages of their business expansion.
Use of technologies
136 companies with operations along the B&R routes shared their opinion on the use of technology in various areas of financial accounting. These areas include management accounting, information systems, software platforms, and cloud services. More than 55% believe that connectivity and consolidation should be a priority across the accounting systems and within the financial accounting information system.
Technological support is essential for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In order to better apply digital technologies, the finance department of enterprises should master the new skills needed. That can be through retraining to improve the skill level of current employees, through the adoption of new skills to re-equip the profession, or through external recruitment to get new skilled talents.
Respondents had a general understanding of the technical domain. They were well aware of the popular office automation software (such as Word and Excel), social media and accounting information systems. However they had a limited knowledge of emerging technologies. These include big data, cloud computing; robotic process automation (RPA); Internet of Things (IoT); artificial intelligence (AI); and blockchain technology.
ACCA author, Yuki Qian
The research was sponsored and completed by the Belt and Road Accounting Research Center with the joint efforts of SNAI, ACCA and Yonyou.
US administration's tax reform and the BEPS Plan
In order to increase corporate enthusiasm and confidence in outbound investment, companies would like the countries where they invest to:
• reduce tax rates
• offer tax incentives
• enhance tax transparency
• improve stability and legalisation
• simplify tax collection and management procedures
• improve law enforcement