This article was first published in the February 2013 International edition of Accounting and Business magazine.
Three-quarters of ACCA members have a clear idea of where they want to get to in their career – and expect to reach their goal within the next four years, according to ACCA’s latest careers survey.
The online survey of more than 4,000 members around the world clearly shows the ACCA Qualification’s career benefits. Many expect to move quickly up the career ladder, to travel and to gain experience in many different sectors.
The results highlight not only the ambitions of ACCA accountants – 73% said that they expect to achieve their career ambitions in the next four years – but the changing nature of an accountant’s career. Today’s accountants expect to move jobs, work abroad and to work for multiple employers (and often for themselves) during their career.
Sixty-three percent have already worked in more than one sector. The most common move is from practice to corporate, although 57% of members in not-for-profits have also worked in the corporate sector. One in three intends to remain with their current employer for more than three years. The survey also found that frequent job changes have become the norm; 31% have moved jobs in the previous 12 months, half within the same organisation and a third gaining a promotion.
This year, for the first time, the survey included personal career goals. Some have already achieved their ambition (as shown in the graphic on this page) while others are working towards it; 61% are aiming for a more senior position and 32% plan to start their own business eventually. All have set themselves challenging deadlines to achieve their ambitions; 73% aim to reach their goal within the next four years.
Just over half of those who have seen a pay increase in the past 12 months said that it was the result of a company-wide pay rise, while for 15% the increase was a reward for additional responsibility or promotion.
The survey showed a wide variety in hours worked per week. The average globally was 44 hours, with accountants in the corporate and financial sectors typically exceeding that. Members in the not-for-profit and public sectors recorded the shortest working week, at 42 hours. The biggest variation was geographic, with members in Russia and Pakistan reporting the longest working week (49 hours), followed by the UAE, Singapore and Malaysia (all 48 hours). ACCA members in the UK, Ireland and Canada recorded an average of 42 hours.
A strong theme is members’ desire to make a difference, from inspiring more women to join the profession to nurturing younger talent or even setting up their own NGO.
‘This year’s survey shows just how aspirational our members are,’ says Neil Stevenson, ACCA’s executive director – brand. ‘A lot of them believe working abroad is key to expanding their career horizon: 66% because of the opportunity to gain additional skills and knowledge, and 62% because they want to experience another culture. This ties in very well with ACCA’s core values of opportunity and diversity. Having a diverse career, as many of our members do, shows just how adaptable our financial professionals are to the tasks that are assigned to them.’
Liz Fisher, journalist