22 Jun 2018

New platform leverages artificial intelligence, blockchain and machine learning tools to transform traditional audit function


Singapore, 22 June 2018 – Manual vouching, a long-established process of the audit industry, could soon be a thing of the past if a new automated solution proposed by a group of first-year university students goes commercial.
2.            The students from the Nanyang Technological University developed Vulture, a solution that utilises machine learning to digitally analyse business documents to support the mandatory audit process.
3.          Vulture   works by extracting data from traditional hardcopy documents, such as invoices and bills common in all companies, and digitising them into a standard format that can be easily analysed by artificial intelligence.
4.         This would relieve accountants of the need to physically verify books of accounts by examining supporting documents.

5.         Through what the team calls “three-way matching”, Vulture can identify discrepancies early, or even on a daily basis, and automate the process of verifying the information with clients.


6.         This was the winning solution at the inaugural Accounting Innovation Challenge, organised by the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) and CPA Australia.


7.         The winning team comprised Jarrett Yeo, Arshath Arif and Jeremy Koh.


8.         “The idea of Vulture came to us naturally after completing our internships with local accounting firms where we experienced the vouching process first hand,” said Jarrett Yeo, member of the winning team.


9.         “We feel that accountants should do more than verifying documents and take on roles that involve higher level analytics through the use of technology such as ours.


10.       He also added that the team is looking to get seed funding and develop Vulture into a ready-to-market solution.


Fresh ideas to transform the sector


11.       The Accounting Innovation Challenge is aimed at bringing fresh ideas to transform the accounting industry. It brought together students, professionals, coders and designers from all walks of life, to get creative, push boundaries and design solutions with technology to tackle real challenges faced by the accounting industry.


12.       The first and second runner up in the challenge came up with solutions to enhance recruitment of manpower during peak periods as well as improve management of flexi-work arrangements.


13.       “The adoption of technology is no longer an option. In this digital age, the accounting sector needs to rethink how it operates. SAC will continue to work closely with industry partners, to foster innovation through collaboration, as we develop Singapore into a leading global accountancy hub,” said Mr Evan Law, Chief Executive, Singapore Accountancy Commission


14.       Over 120 participants gathered to brainstorm ideas and formulate their solutions on 2 and 3 June. The winning team was one of top 10 teams who went through a month of conceptualisation and development as part of the challenge. 


15.       The 10 teams pitched their ideas to a panel of judges comprising industry experts and practitioners on 22 June. The ideas leveraged artificial intelligence and machine learning to address critical issues in the accounting industry such as improving productivity, matching talent to jobs and creating business opportunities for smaller accounting firms.


16.       Mr Yeoh Oon Jin, Singapore Divisional President, CPA Australia, said, “New technologies are changing the way accountants work. Routine and repetitive tasks can now be largely automated - freeing up time for professionals to do more high-value work. Artificial intelligence, blockchain and data analytics, among other things, are pushing the frontiers to help accounting professionals make more informed judgement when advising their clients”.


17.       Mr Yeoh, who is also Executive Chairman of PwC Singapore added, “Accountants’ roles will continue to evolve with more advances in technology. They will need to do more than just crunch numbers but take on new roles such as being data specialists, and change management, as well as provide advice to help companies achieve their business goals – essentially becoming a trusted business advisor”.


18.       The winning teams at the Accounting Innovation Challenge will leave the competition with a month-long mentorship programme from Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) to guide them in commercialising their solutions. The three winners also received cash prizes worth a combined $10,000.


For more information, please contact:

Christel Goh 

PR & Content Specialist

HP: 9328 0107

Email: Christelgoh7@gmail.com



About Accounting Innovation Challenge


Accounting Innovation Challenge is the first-of-its-kind hackathon for the accounting industry gathering accountants, business professionals, coders, designers, entrepreneurs and students to develop innovations for real problems faced by the industry.


About Singapore Accountancy Commission

The Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) spearheads the development of the Singapore accountancy sector with the vision of developing Singapore into a leading global accountancy hub. SAC is working to achieve this by deepening the skills of the accountancy talent pool; developing the industry to capture growth opportunities; and creating a hub and exchange by building Singapore into a centre for thought leadership. SAC is a statutory body under the Ministry of Finance.


About CPA Australia

Founded in 1886, CPA Australia is one of the world’s largest professional accounting bodies representing more than 163,000 members working in 125 countries around the world. CPA Australia advances its members’ interests through education and knowledge exchange, the development of professional networks, advocacy in relation to policy, standards and regulation and the promotion of value of CPA Australia members to employers, government, regulators and the public. The world-renowned CPA designation is synonymous with professional credibility and international portability. CPA Australia has been operating in Singapore for 64 years, having arrived in this market in 1954 under the auspices of the Colombo Plan.

For more information, please visit cpaaustralia.com.au