A1 decoded-accountants and policy makers can benefit from ongoing work

Karachi (Cliff News)ACCA’s (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) latest report Explainable AI addresses explainability from the perspective of practitioners, i.e. accountancy and finance professionals. Head of Business Insights, Narayanan Vaidyanathan, said: ‘It is in the public interest to improve understanding of XAI, which helps to balance the protection of the consumer with innovation in the marketplace.’Complexity, speed and volume of AI decision-making often obscure what is going on in the background (the black box), which makes the model difficult to interrogate.  Explainability, or the lack of this, affects the ability of professional accountants to understand and display scepticism. In a recent ACCA survey, more than double, 54%, agreed with this statement compared to those who didn’t.Vaidyanathan continued: ‘It’s an area that’s relevant to being able to trust technology and to be confident that it’s used ethically and XAI can help in this scenario.  It’s helpful to think of it as a design principle as much as a set of tools. Moreover, this is AI decoded, and designed to augment the human ability to understand and interrogate the results returned by the model.’

Key messages for practitioners:

  • Maintain awareness of evolving trends in AI: 51% of respondents were unaware of XAI.  This impairs the ability to engage. The report sets out some of the key developments in this emerging area to help raise awareness.  
  • Beware of oversimplified narratives: In accountancy, AI isn’t fully autonomous, but nor is it a complete fantasy. The middle path of augmenting, as opposed to replacing, the human works best when the human understands what the AI is doing; which needs explainability. 
  • Embed explainability into enterprise adoption:  Consider the level of explainability needed, and how it can help with model performance, ethical use and legal compliance. 

Policy makers, for instance in government or at regulators, frequently hear the developer/supplier perspective from the AI industry. This report can complement that with a view from the user/demand side, so that policy can incorporate consumer needs.  

The report’s key messages for policy makers are:

  • Explainability empowers consumers and regulators: improved explainability reduces the deep asymmetry between experts who understand AI and the wider public. And for regulators, it can help reduce systemic risk if there is a better understanding of factors influencing algorithms that are being increasingly deployed across the marketplace. 
  • Emphasise explainability as a design principle: An environment that balances innovation and regulation can be achieved by supporting industry to continue, indeed redouble, its efforts to include explainability as a core feature in product development.

 

Narayanan Vaidyanathan added: ‘XAI can be polarising, with some having unrealistic expectations for it to be like magic and answer all questions. While others are deeply suspicious of what the algorithm is doing in the background. XAI seeks to bridge this gap, by improving understanding to manage unrealistic expectations, and to give a level of comfort and clarity to the doubters.’

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. ACCA supports its 219,000 members and 527,000 students (including affiliates) in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 110 offices and centres and 7,571 Approved Employers worldwide, and 328 approved learning providers who provide high standards of learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.ACCA has introduced major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally. 

 

 

 

Bolts partners with Nust to develop transformer health monitoring system

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Karachi (Cliff News)BOLTS (Private) Limited has partnered with the National University of Sciences & Technology, Islamabad to develop a state-of-the-art Transformer Health Monitoring System.Rear Admiral (Retd) Dr. Nassar Ikram, Pro Rector (RIC) NUST and Mr. Usama Qureshi, Chairman BOLTS (Private) Limited signed the agreement in Islamabad on 9th December 2019, in the presence of H.E Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, Mr. Fawwad Chaudhry, Minister for Science & Technology, and other high level dignitaries, at the inauguration of Pakistan’s first National Science & Technology Park established in NUST Islamabad Campus.As per the agreement NUST shall license its intellectual property to BOLTS which has been developed by local academia for commercialization and further development of technology.On this occasion Usama Qureshi remarked ” this is a new beginning and a great development for power sector in Pakistan. It is a matter of great pride for Pakistan that our universities have the capacity to develop high end technology locally, we are very excited to work with NUST on this project. We believe that this technology can prove to be a game changer in maintenance of distribution transformers (PMT).

Company Profile:

BOLTS (Private) Limited specializes in providing electrical switchgear panels and turnkey power solutions. BOLTS has a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility managed by a professional workforce and graduates from top universities which enables it to stand out from the competition. BOLTS senior management and Board of Directors comprises of professionals having vast experience of working in prestigious organizations.

 

JBS inks MOU with EFU Life to upgrade stroage solutions

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Karachi(Cliff News)Jaffer Business Systems (JBS) and EFU Life Assurance recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). According to the MoU, JBS has partnered with EFU Life for providing Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Storage Solutions that include HPE 3PAR, Storage Switches and HPE Backup Appliance.HPE delivers an industry-leading predictive analytics platform that brings software-defined intelligence to the data center with the ability to predict and prevent infrastructure problems before they happen. This platform was developed with hybrid infrastructure in mind, meaning the data is accessible and usable across all cloud environments.While signing the MoU, Zain Ibrahim –Executive Director, EFU Life Assurance– expressed his views on the subject, “We share the same ideology as JBS, as we keep upgrading ourselves in order to stay ahead of the competition. IT structure within organizations need to be improvised in order to have more potential and fulfill that potential as well. As an insurance company, we feel that we have to make sure that the abundance of data that we have is utilized completely to provide better propositions to customers. I’m glad to be partnering with JBS as it fulfills our aim. JBS is not only providing us with IT solutions, but in fact we look at them as partners because they are helping us grow.”Veqar ul Islam, CEO, Jaffer Business Systems stated: “We already have a successful working relationship with EFU Life and it gives me great honor to expand and work with them in new areas. As I have said numerous times, we go out of the way to provide the best value added services and we will continue to do so. “Like many of JBS’ previous initiatives, this partnership is yet another step ahead towards technological transformation and innovation.HPE Storage products are not just cost-effective enterprise-level storage solutions but also keep businesses moving forward by protecting the data and making deployment and management simple.The occasion was a two-way celebration as JBS also presented an appreciation award to Mr.Ashfaque Ahmed –General Manager, EFU Life Assurance – for having been selected amongst the 10 Best CIOs to Watch 2019 by one of the most trusted business and technology publications issued from the United States, The Silicon Review. This makes Mr Ahmed the only Pakistani to have received this honor.

The next generation of China’s corporate global giants

Karachi(Cliff News)ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has identified the 100 fastest-growing Chinese businesses emerging as global corporations – based on analyses of historical performance and their potential for future growth.Together with the Shenzhen Finance Institute, ACCA has conducted in-depth research of nearly 3,000 private enterprises listed in China and overseas.The research stems from 11 specially designed diverse indicators, with five of these measuring the companies’ historical performance and six predicting their future growth. These factors include the company’s size, growth, profitability, innovativeness, level of internationalisation, and media coverage.Sajjeed Aslam, head of ACCA Pakistan says: ‘ACCA has been monitoring China’s rising corporates and businesses, with an original report in 2014, followed by further analysis in 2016. What’s clear across all reports is the aspiration to go global, with many Chinese firms already doing so. This most recent report indicates that many of these businesses will become China’s next generation of global corporations over the next few years if they continue on their current trajectories. Businesses in Pakistan need to learn from these examples of accelerated business growth and should explore opportunities to build partnerships with them to jumpstart their own global expansion.’

Key findings include:

Internet: More high-tech enterprises have evolved into the leaders of China’s future economic growth. Among the Top 100 companies, 42 companies are engaged in the computer and internet-related sectors. Since the 2016 ranking, the number of internet enterprises has increased by 50%.

Diversity: China’s future giants represent a fairly diverse range of industries. Those listed overseas tend to be involved in the internet, software development and other related sectors. The seven companies which are listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) are in the manufacturing, medicine and internet sectors.

Highest performers: The companies with the best overall rankings had better scores than other companies for corporate scale, growth, cash flow, overseas strategy and media coverage.

Common features: Despite not being widely-known internationally, the top-ranked enterprises have had a relatively rapid growth and support innovative development with a long-term vision and international strategy, enjoying positive media coverage and having a strong focus on R&D.The report also profiles three companies as case studies:

1)    Sunway Communication started out as a supplier of mobile device antennas in 2006 and is now a big player among global suppliers, with its focus on maintaining an technological edge, achieving organic growth, pursuit of long-term goals and grasping the best moment to become involved in the new technologies.

2)    Autohome Inc began life as a traditional media company in 2005 and is undergoing a successful evolution into the world’s most-visited car website. Even with the decline in growth and fierce competition in China’s current automobile market, Autohome was able to outperform its benchmark and recorded a 39% year-on-year growth in net profit.

3)    Aier Eye Hospital is a leader in ophthalmology with significant growth, offering various types of diagnosis and treatment, surgery and optometry services, with a network spread across mainland China, Hong Kong SAR of China, Europe and the US. The chain has treated almost 6 million patients in over 560,000 surgeries. Among all the companies ranked earnings Aier Eye Hospital achieved the highest scores in earnings quality and cash flow among all the companies ranked.To increase understanding of the impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, ACCA is actively collaborating with a range of strategic partners, working together to explore and define the opportunities and challenges facing countries and businesses along the routes, with special focus on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).ACCA publishes a wide range of Belt and Road focused research and insights to support its members who are already working and supporting BRI projects.

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.ACCA supports its 208,000 members and 503,000 students in 178 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 104 offices and centres and more than 7,300 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.ACCA has introduced major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountabilities.

 

 

Nestle inaugurates new plant worth USD 22 million in Sheikhupura

Lahore(Cliff News)Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar inaugurated a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant at Nestlé Pakistan’s Sheikhupura Factory.The production capacity of the NESTLÉ FRUITA VITALS (Nestlé’s range of juices, nectars and drinks) Plant – the newest edition to its facilities operating in Pakistan – is 24,000 units per hour. The company’s investment of USD 22 million is one of its largest investments recently.While speaking at the occasion, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar said, “We aim to create conditions in which foreign companies are attracted towards making new investments. At present, the government is making concerted efforts to revive the nation’s economy. I am really pleased to see that Nestlé, one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, is making such good progress in Pakistan.”Welcoming the investment, the Governor added, “I am heartened to see that Nestlé has always taken a keen interest in creating opportunities for the people. Their investment demonstrates and speaks volume about Nestlé’s trust in the future of Pakistan.”Samer Chedid, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé Pakistan, while sharing his views said, “Nestlé’s recent investment is a testament to our continuous trust in Pakistan and its growth potential. We are also excited about integrating our Chaunsa value chain. We are procuring Chaunsa mangoes from the 110 farms that we introduced interventions at to improve their yield’s quantity and quality. This integration demonstrates our Creating Shared Value approach in which we ensure that our activities and products are making a positive difference to society while contributing to Nestlé’s ongoing success.”“We appreciate the government’s steps as a result of which Pakistan has been listed by the World Bank as among the ‘Top-20 Improvers in Ease of Doing Business 2020’.   This is a clear reflection of the government’s commitment to improve competitiveness by increasing support for the development of the private sector, reducing regulatory and administrative burden on enterprises,” he said.

About Nestlé

Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. It is present in 191 countries around the world, and its 328,000 employees are committed to Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. Nestlé offers a wide portfolio of products and services for people and their pets throughout their lives.

 

 

IT Industry to quote prices in USD to overcome currency fluctuation

Karachi(Cliff News)Major players of the IT industry have decided to quote prices in US Dollars considering the recent economic shifts Pakistan has been going through. A letter is circulated and signed by top players of the IT infrastructure industry and they have disseminated the notification to their customers as well informing them about this change.The step has been taken considering the recent economic conditions due to which the whole industry has suffered heavily on account of rupee devaluation. IT Infrastructure industry is an import based sector, hence heavily dependent on the imports and exchange rates. As all the players are importing their services and products in USD and being paid in PKR, they are facing huge losses because the exchange rate is fluctuating and the difference is getting wider. To mitigate huge losses, it seems logical that the IT industry quotes the prices in dollars.All stakeholders have been informed via direct letters that the IT hardware and software infrastructure industry will quote prices of products only in US Dollars which will be payable in Pakistani Rupees using the interbank conversion rate as on the date of payment.The letter has been signed by the respective CEOs of all the major IT infrastructure companies of the country. All the players who have signed up on the new arrangement approves that this is a necessary move considering the currency fluctuation and value of imports.In order to develop and work towards a thriving tech based economy, it is extremely important that the tech companies are moving forward in a progressive manner. Pakistan is still lagging behind in terms of technological developments and it is imperative that a favorable business environment is created for the IT industry. Addressing the issues would not only help the IT infrastructure industry to remain sustainable, but would also enable the companies to provide uninterrupted services to the customers.

 

 

Pakistan aviation industry has huge potential:Tuncay Eminoglu

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Istanbul(Zahid Hussain Karani)Tuncay Eminoglu Vice President Sales (Asia and Far East) has said he takes competition as a challenge and not a threat. He said he has already visited the new airport of Islamabad and found it in commensurate with the present day aviation needs.He further said Pakistan aviation industry is vibrant and has huge potential adding Pakistani visitors especially traveling to Saudi Arabia and transiting thru Istanbul are provided with best facilities with a view to making their transit comfortable

Tuncay Eminoglu expressed these views while talking to a delegation of media from Pakistan who met him in his office in Istanbul and during an interview with Diplomatic News Agency (DNA) and CENTRELINE journal.He said passengers traveling to USA can stay one night at Istanbul free of charge. Likewise passengers having 12 hours transit time are also provided with free of charge accommodation.To question about introducing new aircraft on Islamabad-Istanbul route, the vice president said the decision to replace aircraft, by and large depends, on the business activity on the particular route and aircraft availability as well.Tuncay Eminoglu while giving a brief history of the carrier, said when Turkish Airlines started its journey back in 1933 it had only five aircraft flying to four destinations in one country. Eighty-six years down the line, the airline has now more international destinations than any other in the world, covering 314 destinations, 311 cities in 124 countries.“In 2023, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, our target is to reach 120 million passengers, earn $30 billion in revenue and add more than 500 fleets.” In the past 10 years or so, Turkish Airlines has increased its service quality, he said. Some 10 million passengers were carried in 2003, and this figure rose to 48 million in 2013.Turkish Airlines, which recently moved its airport from Ataturk to Istanbul, will begin flying cargo planes to Addis Ababa. Turkish Ailines flies to 56 African destinations which is the second highest next to Ethiopian and their desire to increase their market in Africa even further. He said Africa remains the priority for Turkish Airlines, as the air carrier expands to all four corners of the world. They said that aviation would continue growing in the future and Turkish would grow more than the global trend.As of April 6 the airlines began using the newly built ultra modern Istanbul Airport replacing their older hub at Ataturk Airport. Once completed in 2027, the Istanbul airport is expected to be the busiest airport in the world with six runways and four terminals that can accommodate 200 million passengers a year.Tuncay Eminoglu further said they have gone from 162 planes and 3 million passengers in 2003 to 515 aircraft and 30 million passengers in 2019. In the decade between 2008 and 2019 they experienced a passenger growth rate of 12.8 percent, three times the world’s average.By 2023 Turkish hopes to serve 140 million passengers. Currently, according to 2017 International Air Transport Association (IATA) statistics the Airline serves the 17th highest number of flyers in the world but according to Eminoglu, by 2032 they expect to be in the top ten. The IATA forecasted in 2018, that China, the US, India and Indonesia would be the fastest growing countries in terms of passengers.Turkey is rapidly transporting more passengers and cargo so the new airport will be able to serve the highest number of passengers in the world, park 500 planes, feature 500 check-in points and accommodate 143 boarding bridges. The 700,000sqm airport will also have the largest maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) in the world.At the new airport the aviation firm manages three run ways and they expect to serve 90 million passengers this year and carry 2.5 million tons of cargo. The project has three phases and each phase will increase cargo capacity by 5.5 million tons. By the end of the project the number of passengers would double to 200 million. He said by 2025, the aviation sector will contribute 4.9 percent to the GDP and 225,000 jobs. When the airport is finished it will have six runways and four terminals.