ACCA Roundtable: Accountancy profession must embrace change to succeed in the future

theaccablog —  January 27, 2016 — Leave a comment

At a recent ACCA roundtable discussion, panellists gathered to address the theme of ‘the profession the world needs’ and identify some of the challenges facing today’s finance and accounting professionals.

One of these challenges arises from the need for the profession to learn the lessons of the global financial crisis so that they can avoid making the same mistakes. Regulators have done their part by putting in place new changes and standards aimed at raising the standards of accounting, reporting and corporate governance.  However, the bar cannot be raised based on the sole actions of regulators and their setting of regulations.

Blog- Week of 25 to 29 Jan

Everyone has a part to play in raising standards. Here’s what some of the panellists had to say.

On the need for a new approach to regulation and a longer-term focus …

“We have been having a binary discussion about voluntary or mandatory [requirements]. There is a middle way – where there is something you should do rather than something you want to do or have to do.”

Paul Druckman, CEO of the International Integrated Reporting Council

On the needs for greater harmonisation in a variety of ways if the profession is to maximise its positive impact in the world and for professional bodies to push for more international harmonisation for the benefit of their members

“There are so many member state options that creating alignment is pretty difficult.”

“The more international the profession gets, the more opportunities members will have. They can move crossborder, or stay where they want and work on crossborder issues.”

Petr Kriz, President of FEE, the European Federation of Accountants

On the importance of developing highly skilled professionals …

“The challenge internal audit has, along with every other part of the profession, is the shortage of highly skilled people to do the work. We are looking for people who can talk to the board, to non-execs on the audit committee, who have knowledge of the organisation and understanding of its culture, and have the ethical resources – which are grounded in being part of a professional body – to understand how their work relates to the public interest.”

Sarah Blackburn, Global Treasurer and Past President of the Institute of Internal Auditors

On the need to keep up with key technological changes such as new technology, digitalisation and big data …

“Maybe there will be fewer accountants in the world, but we will be the ones acting as a concierge, helping organisations and individuals through the maze of regulation and all the other pressures they face.”

Sarah Blackburn, Global Treasurer and Past President of the Institute of Internal Auditors

“The risk for the profession is that it gets stuck in bean-counter world, and unless we develop the profession with the skills and talent where it can be more in the world of analysis and understanding, then the profession could face a bleak and underpaid future.”

Paul Druckman, CEO of the International Integrated Reporting Council

“We need to use our imagination and all the skills we learn as professionals about exercising judgment and thinking through scenarios in a mindful and opportunistic way.”

Melanie McLaren, Executive Director (Codes and Standards) at the UK’s Financial Reporting Council

To read more on what was discussed at the roundtable discussion, please click here.

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