ACCA - The global body for professional accountants
While we cannot predict the future, we can make very good guesses so we are all prepared as we can be. Some examples we illustrate include the demand for higher-level business and management skills amongst finance professionals; technological advancements and their effect on learning; the demand from international accounting firms as well as other multinationals for uniform professional accounting qualifications - at least in respect of non-regulated functions; the convergence of accounting and auditing standards on an international basis; and the demand from growing economies such as China for professional accountants
—Professor Barry Cooper, deputy president, ACCA

ACCA’s upcoming president discusses the next generation of accountants

Professor Barry J Cooper, who in a few months will become the President of ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), has written a chapter about the future of the accountancy profession, in a high level publication jointly produced by The Centre for Accounting, Governance and Sustainability (CAGS) at the University of South Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia. 

The publication is part of the University’s esteemed Academic Leadership series, which brings the key issues in Australian accounting education to the fore.

ACCA’s chapter looks to the future, and details a number of emerging pathways for the next generation of accountants, in the context of six key areas. These include ACCA’s history and background; its current vision; future trends and emerging pathways; integration of ethics into the ACCA qualification framework; integrated reporting; and the impact of technology on education and learning.

Professor Cooper says: 'It was an immense privilege to be asked to contribute to this esteemed journal, and I would like to thank my colleague at ACCA, Mike Walsh, for his insights in co-authoring this chapter. By offering its qualifications worldwide ACCA has grown, especially in the last 20 years. It is critical for ACCA to be focussed on what employers value and what employees need. Supporting members with a qualification that makes them desirable in the workplace is at the heart of ACCA’s on-going goal.'

ACCA’s input to the journal also highlights that ACCA’s original founding values, established in 1904, still stand today – namely to provide opportunity to all people of merit and application, regardless of their background. The five core values that resonate with members, students and ACCA staff around the world are highlighted in the report, those of opportunity, integrity, diversity, innovation and accountability. 

The chapter ends by saying that the growth of the accountancy profession is subject to several variables, some of which are unpredictable. 

Professor Cooper concludes: 'While we cannot predict the future, we can make very good guesses so we are all prepared as we can be. Some examples we illustrate include the demand for higher level business and management skills amongst finance professionals; technological advancements and their effect on learning; the demand from international accounting firms as well as other multinationals for uniform professional accounting qualifications - at least in respect of non-regulated functions; the convergence of accounting and auditing standards on an international basis; and the demand from growing economies such as China for professional accountants.' 

The journal sets out the pathways that have emerged and will continue to emerge with respect to the ACCA qualification, as it continues to position itself as a major global force in the education and training of accountants throughout the world.