Smart young graduate knows her profession is under threat from robots and AI.

This is the second of three articles profiling CPA Australia members and their career journeys to date.

Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are recognised as one of the biggest threats to the accountancy profession – and Krystal Song is well aware of that.

Song, 22, originally from Beijing but now in Wellington, is working in management accounting for the Ministry of Primary Industries, seconded from the Department of Internal Affairs.

She knows well that much of the technology coming from her native China (and elsewhere) is slowly perfecting the techniques that will soon see some of the basic tasks of accountancy and even law taken over by robotics and AI.


"I think that I and all of us in the profession need to keep up with the speed of technology and what it can do," she says. "We use technology in our daily jobs but there is a whole new generation of technology coming and we know it will be applied in what are currently manual tasks.

"So we not only need to keep on track and be trained to use new technology, we also need to see how we can use it for more strategic tasks and adding value to our customers."

Song arrived in Auckland after finishing school in China and gained her Accounting and Finance degree as a foreign student at the University of Auckland. She is in the first year of the CPA Program, at the end of which she will become a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA).

Her job with MPI is the first she has experienced and she is on her second rotation there – and she is not totally sure of her future professional direction just yet.

n her second rotation there – and she is not totally sure of her future professional direction just yet.

Krystal Song. Photo / Supplied
Krystal Song. Photo / Supplied

"I haven't worked in the private sector yet so am not sure if I would prefer public or private sector work," she says. "I simply want to get as much experience behind me as possible but I would, at some stage, like to travel to other countries to experience that and improve my global vision."

That is part of the reason she chose CPA Australia: "They have a much greater global focus, which appealed to me. They deal a lot in international business strategies and have a strong network. They look at the big picture while I believe alternative organisations are more focused on New Zealand standards.

"I want to use my CPA Australia experience to gain a much better understanding of the profession and industry so that I can contribute better to the organisations I am working for. "


Song is an only child with her parents still residing in China. She goes back there once a year and her parents also come out to New Zealand and stay with her – and she confesses they miss her a lot.

However, as many Chinese parents already know, there is no substitute for education and Krystal's acceptance by CPA Australia means she is supplementing her qualifications with one of the most exacting – and rewarding – of industry programmes.

To find out more about becoming a CPA, visit