Technology is helping all of us balance our professional and personal life when Covid-19 is interfering with our social life. Those who are courageously dealing with this situation are real winners.
"Balance means equilibrium which is a combination of all the elements in a particular activity. We are now living in the era of the fourth industrial revolution(4IR). Technology will play the most important role in this era. Technology and human life will merge," said Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at a virtual webinar on Thursday.
The "Work-Life Balance Embracing Tech" webinar was organised by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) and the Women's Leadership Committee of the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA).
How much control the state, society and the individual will have on technology is a topic to be discussed. When everyone is doing office work sitting at home, we all know how to use technology to keep a balance between work, family and workplace, the minister added.
ICAB President Mahmudul Hasan Khusru said smart technologies have made our life easier amid huge work pressure. Robotic process automation (RPA) can take on repetitive tasks, enabling humans to focus on more important work. Cloud services can help us to focus on our organisation's core activities, minimise costs, and reduce operational risks.
He added that technology encourages a positive work-life balance within the organisation. Artificial intelligence like RPA tools, and other AI applications can automate manual and low-skilled work, freeing people up to work more efficiently. Using data-driven dashboards, predictive analytics can make informed decisions, anticipate challenges, and make the most use of new opportunities.
ICAB Vice President and SAFA Women's Leadership Committee Chairperson, Maria Hawlader, conducted the event, highlighting the issue that technology is affecting the workplace, the balance between work, family and workplace, and how technology will impact the future of the profession.
She said the issue of working women's balance between workplace, family, and work, is currently being widely discussed. The challenges for women in the workplace are many.
Anoji De Silva, Council Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), Partner, E&Y, Sri Lanka, presented the Keynote Paper where she underscored the changes in the workplace environment, the market challenges during Covid-19, and the technology adoption strategies.
She said the audit style of CA firms has now changed. Firms are providing their services with the help of technology. However, there are some complications in such an audit process. There are also specific reasons to be concerned about cybersecurity and data security.
She suggested that auditors are involved in institutional risk, document verification, and information. Regulatory policies are needed during the Covid-19 situation for data security and compliance. As organisations become more technology-dependent, auditors also need to assimilate technology.
Using technology enables women professionals to maintain a balance in their careers and have the opportunity to do office work at home as well as take care of the family.
As a panel speaker, Chairperson, Underprivileged Children's Educational Programmes (UCEP) Bangladesh and Past President of ICAB, Parveen Mahmud, said women need to maintain a balance between the workplace, work, and family. There are many challenges. However, it is possible to overcome these challenges through time management.
"Covid-19 is forcing us to take on technology at work. As employees or professionals, we must learn to make maximum use of technology to provide services," she added.
She suggested that backward women professionals should be taken forward with training.
Noting some steps taken in the use of technology in the CA profession in India, Kemisha Soni CA, Member, SAFA Women's Leadership Committee, said, "People's expectations of CA professionals are increasing day by day".
There are some disadvantages as well as advantages for working women during Covid-19. As a female professional, you always have to be involved in audit services and family services, she added.
Technology is helping detect irregularities in audit services, organisational functions, and financial management. Adaptation of technology enhances efficiency in the workplace, she said, adding that CAs need to have knowledge and skills about blockchain, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, bitcoin, and only then will it be possible to survive in the future.
Mariam Khawar, member, SAFA Women's Leadership Committee, ICMA Pakistan, said, thorough knowledge and skills in the type of work women are doing, time management, and the use of technology are helping them in the workplace to maintain a balance between office, personal, and family causes.
Although less time is spent on personal life as the CEO of an organisation, the opportunity to work from home through the use of technology has enabled us to give family time during this transition, she added.
AKM Delwer Hussain, president of South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA), delivered the opening remarks in the webinar.
Chamila Cooray, council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), ICAB Vice President Md Abdul Kader Joaddar, and CEO Shubhashish Bose also spoke at the webinar.