Most Malaysian businesses are planning to accelerate their use of technology over the next year, to drive efficiency and tap into bigger profit opportunities, according to CPA Australia‘s Business Technology Survey 2022.

The firm said in a statement on Wednesday the vast majority of the 108 Malaysian respondents (94 percent) expect their business to increase technology use over the next 12 months, as its findings show a positive link between technology use and higher profit margins.

CPA Australia’s Malaysian Digital Transformation Committee Chairman Bryan Chung FCPA said it is apparent that most Malaysian businesses are taking action to improve technology adoption.

“Over the next 12 months, a higher percentage of Malaysian businesses compared to the survey average are planning to improve technology adoption by increasing technology training for employees, increasing investment or upgrading technology and implementing a digital transformation strategy.

“One key finding from this year’s survey is that big data has become a focus point when making business decisions. Not only are businesses hiring staff with this expertise, they are also investing in software that will help them in the area of data analytics for the future,” he said.

According to Chung, operational efficiency is a leading reason for the take-up of new technology among respondents (62 percent).

This corresponds with findings of an expected increase in use of data analytics and visualisation software, robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence.

“The uptake of RPA in Malaysia is particularly exciting. Thirty-nine per cent of Malaysian respondents said their business plans to increase use of this technology to drive operational efficiency in the next 12 months. This is 15 percentage points higher than the survey average,” he said.

The findings from this survey coincide with the findings of the CPA Australia’s Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey 2021-2022, which found business owners are motivated to pursue technological innovations for long-term growth as opposed to short-term survival.

Chung said it is important that businesses develop and implement a long-term digital transformation strategy to ensure business longevity.

“There are quite a few national initiatives that empower businesses with an injection of capital to increase technology adoption and digitalisation. This aligns with the national aspiration of achieving a ‘high technology nation’ status by 2030.

“Professionals can also look at upskilling themselves to be more data proficient to meet the changing focus of the business sector. There are many incentives or programs available to facilitate this change. Respondents also are investing in human capital, which is promising,” he said.

The Business Technology Survey 2022 was conducted from May 28 to July 12. The findings came from 820 accounting and finance professionals working in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.

In Malaysia, the 108 respondents came from a wide variety of industries, with consulting (15 percent), education and training (13 percent) and public practice/CPA firm (11 percent) having the largest representation.

Forty-seven percent of the Malaysian respondents (51 people) worked in a company with 500 or more employees and 53 percent (57 people) worked in a company with fewer than 500 employees.

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