The report, Critical Success Factors for Tomorrow’s Business Leaders: Perspectives from South East Asia, suggests that a lack of trust is one of the factors holding back the establishment of a flourishing, integrated economy in south-east Asia.
It argues that businesses in the region need to develop more of a “corporate conscience” by instilling a set of values within their organisations.
The report notes the importance of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), created in 2015, which aims to develop an integrated regional economy and discusses issues ranging from corruption, wide disparities in income distribution, and the development of future leaders. It also shows that transparency, corporate governance and recognising the importance of ethics are critical to economic integration and tackling corruption.
Pat Costello, chairman of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, said south-east Asia, despite being cohesive from a geographical point of view, is a very multicultural region with not necessarily consistent approaches to ways of doing business.
“Some staff do not understand the importance of ethics in corporate governance and tend to brush it aside. Unsurprisingly, corruption remains one of the main challenges to achieving the goal of economic integration,” he said.
“Establishing the AEC in 2015 was an important step to developing trade across the region. However, business leaders have to make more of an effort to build trust across the borders and within their organisations."
Lee White, chief executive of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, said training future business leaders in the region is of vital importance for improving trust.
“The AEC aims to establish a ‘resilient, inclusive, people-oriented and people-centred economic community’, a goal that chartered accountants could help achieve," he said.
“Chartered accountants possess the necessary skills to guide transparent and flourishing businesses, contributing to international economic development. As the report notes, there is an anticipated growth in demand for chartered accountants in south-east Asia, thanks to their professional expertise. They are also viewed as key to good corporate governance.”