Solving Real-world Issues through SMU-X Accounting Analytics Capstone Project

By SMU School of Accountancy Social Media Team

Predicting future market movements has always been a tricky task. With the deluge of information available on both mainstream and social media, investors need to stay on top of the latest industry developments if they wish to get the best returns from their investment.

As part of ACCT 414: Accounting Analytics Capstone, an SMU-X course, the team comprising Lyka Quinacman, Silvia Permata and Ng Shu Qi from the SMU School of Accountancy (SOA), and Goh Nai Yuh and Gordon Wong Kuan Wai from the SMU School of Computing and Information Systems (SCIS), had the opportunity to work together with Singapore Exchange (SGX) to devise a solution for their current revenue forecast process.

SGX’s present system requires human intervention to manually sift through various new sources to determine the inputs for their forecast. This method may lead to higher chances of inaccuracy as significant human judgement is used to determine these inputs.

The team’s proposed solution—to convert the semi-automated revenue prediction process to a fully automated one—aims to streamline the process and eliminate the human judgement bottleneck. This would enable a standard operating procedure, reduce total man-hours and improve the process accuracy over time.

However, this was easier said than done. As the requirements of the project went beyond the scope of the project, significant self-learning was required on the part of the students.

 

The team’s proposed solution to streamline the entire revenue prediction process

 

“Self-learning was an important aspect of the entire course where we were encouraged to experiment with various theories and concepts gathered from our own research and apply them to our final product to meet the requirements of our client,” Gordon observes.

Thankfully, the Capstone also allowed the team to access a wide range of resources. Shu Qi notes that, “although learning new techniques seemed like a daunting task, it is made possible with the materials that the Professors provided to us, as they gave us a headstart and direction about these techniques to develop the model for our project.”

With team members coming from different schools and courses of study, the process also made cross-disciplinary growth possible. Shu Qi, an Accountancy student, appreciated how she was able to pick up technical and coding-related skills throughout the course of the project, such as what scraping is about.

Working with different stakeholders also helped the team brush up on their communication skills. As Lyka explains, “It is crucial that we convey our message efficiently across to different parties to avoid bigger problems that could arise from misunderstandings. We also had to take note of the different demographics we were communicating with and learn how to show them that we recognise their needs.”

The team’s mentor, SGX Assistant Vice President Mr Sohel Arnool, guided the students and provided constructive and encouraging feedback on their proposed solutions. Limited to online meetings with Mr Arnool due to restrictions brought about by Covid-19, the students had to explore as a team new ways to explain their dashboard to their client in the absence of in-person demonstrations.

 

The dashboard developed by the team

 

Silvia adds, “Within the team, we also realised that with differing communication styles, our best approach to communication was to always try our best to reach a common consensus. Being gracious and embracing our differences in the team were necessary as it’s common for us to be overwhelmed by our other deadlines and even issues outside of our school work.”

 

“We found it very impressive that the students could understand the requirement and implement it in such a short time.”

 

Ultimately, the SMU-X module allowed the students to break out of their comfort zones and learn how to best manage different commitments and expectations from different parties. Their efforts did not go unnoticed. Mr Arnool said, “We found it very impressive that the students could understand the requirement and implement it in such a short time. It was truly wonderful to see how the team divided the work amongst them so that each can give his or her maximum capacity. A great illustration of teamwork!”

The team also expressed their gratitude for the patience and support they received from SGX which made their learning experience even more valuable. Gordon puts it together rather succinctly. “All in all, our journey allowed us to overcome the mental barrier of sailing into unchartered waters as we worked together to deliver real-life solutions to our client.”

 

 

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