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Raj’s RoundUp

Raj Pillai
Marc Basil

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As a former Big 4 hiring manager, I want to leverage my expertise in accounting and finance to provide value to my clients in need of consulting resources and offer technical knowledge to develop a strong workforce in the ever-changing corporate environment we’re experiencing today.”

Raj Pillai, CPA, is a Senior Director of Business Development for the Brilliant Management Resources division of Brilliant. Raj gained over a decade’s worth of experience in the accounting and finance arena before joining Brilliant. It was then that Raj was a Manager at Ernst and Young where he worked on U.S. GAAP and SEC regulations and managed audits of SEC clients. After leaving the Big 4, Raj worked as a manager of Corporate Accounting and a Manager of SEC Reporting at large global organizations.

In addition to his role as Senior Director of Business Development, Raj also serves a Brilliant Brand Ambassador and is using his new platform to reach professionals in the industry looking for updates on the state of the accounting profession.

Follow Raj’s Round Up for thought leadership on various accounting and finance topics. To book Raj for a speaking event, please contact Laurie Vicente at lvicente@brilliantfs.com.


Raj’s RoundUp

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3 Ways for Accountants and Auditors to Prepare for Technological Innovation

Several industry publications have been releasing articles regarding technology and how it will soon alter the world of accounting and auditing. Artificial intelligence and robotics are believed to soon streamline and improve the daily functions of accountants, and improve the consistency in data and analytics.

So how will this affect us professionals? How can we implicate these changes and manage the timing? It’s important for us to explore what challenges the current environment poses against these changes, and how we can evolve along with this technological innovation in our industries. Take a look at the 3 Ways for Accountants and Auditors to Prepare for Technological Innovation below!

1. A Change in the Role of the SEC and the PCAOB
At last year’s annual meeting, the Public Company Oversight Board (PCAOB) discussed technology and concluded that the use of innovative technological tools will soon transform the auditing profession. Following this meeting, the PCAOB released a five-year plan to incorporate technological advances, such as artificial intelligence, which can potentially create a system to compile and transfer client data automatically – typically performed by a junior auditor. Another strategic idea was using drones for inventory observations and automated confirmations from third parties, which has already taken shape this past year. One of the goals of the PCAOB’s plan is to anticipate and respond to the changing environment, including emerging technologies and related risks and opportunities. I believe this is something us professionals must consider when assessing systems and understand that the impact this will have on PCAOB inspections.

2. Initiating Change from Board Level – Downwards
With the fast-pace of technology and the instant customer-demand, it’s easy for companies to lose sight of the high risk of cyber-attacks. Even the SEC and PCAOB have taken a deeper interest in monitoring cybersecurity protocols. Because of this threat, the board of directors within all organizations must be focused on technological advances, and either gain technological expertise or include new technology experts/committees within these boards. They must also enforce the SEC and PCAOB cybersecurity protocol, and encourage their management team to leverage them as well. Based on a review of qualifications of independent directors in 2016, technology ranked seventh on a list of skills most frequently noted. The bottom line is – in order for boards to support the regulators at the PCAOB and SEC, they will need to take these challenges seriously and stay up-to-date on technological innovation.

3. Practical Considerations for Accounting Professionals
Utilizing technology is nothing new to accountants and auditors who have practiced within the last 15 years. Technologies have been progressively emerging, making the audit process more streamlined and often easier. In order for these industries to continue benefitting from these innovations, there has to be consistency in auditing techniques and client data. Without this consistency, artificial intelligence and robotics will not be effective. Cloud platforms, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, can increase data consistency, while decreasing the need for repetitive controls and the threat of cyberattacks. Although these cloud platforms have only recently began to take shape in the accounting and finance space, it’s important to become familiar with them and learn how they will impact your career before they arrive.

Do you have any other suggestions on how to prepare for technological innovations in accounting and auditing? Leave a comment below!

       
 
 
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Raj’s Story Raj’s Story

Raj was born in Mavelikara in the state of Kerala in India and grew up in Hisar in the state of Haryana in India until he was 12 years old. In 1990, he moved with his family to the United States and entered the U.S. Navy in 1996 when he was 18. Raj then went to school to become an accountant while in the Navy reserves. Raj graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from University of Albany, SUNY. He is also a CPA.

As a Senior Director of Business Development, Raj has experience working with executive-level accounting and finance decision makers. He represents high-level accounting and finance professionals who have practical and technical corporate accounting and finance experience in the following key areas:

  • Tax, audit, internal audit and systems support
  • Technical accounting research
  • Revenue Recognition
  • Balance sheet assurance, Securities and Exchange Commission/SOX and compliance
  • Financial modeling, reporting, planning, M&A integration and analytics
  • ERP, GL and BI systems support (including pre- and post-implementation)

Checkmark 6 Things to Know about Raj

Language

He is fluent in three languages but the language he's most fluent in, English, happens to be his third language.

Scotch

If you want to buy Raj a drink, get him a Johnnie Walker Black with Ginger Ale. He believes it’s the only scotch that matters.

Navy

He served in the U.S. Navy and understands how to use weapons like the M16 but also how to tie a mean knot, navigate the ocean, fight fires and drive the ship.

Fasion

He doesn't leave the house without an ensemble that includes a pocket square to match his shirt. His socks have to match, too, or he will have a bad day.

Cobra Snake

Raj is a huge fan of cobras. Where he was born, they’re considered sacred and are known to provide strength to those who respect them.

Family

For Raj, family comes first. He enjoys taking his kids out on the weekends so they can have fun yet be tired afterwards. He believes it’s a win-win.




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