The accountancy profession needs a modern, relevant and up-to-date syllabus for it to thrive on the global stage, says ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) on the back of another improvement in its professional qualification, which develops and trains complete finance professionals.
A recent report from global recruiter Randstad warns that there is a potential for a future shortfall of finance professionals in London and the UK; as the global professional body for accountants, ACCA is aware of shortfalls elsewhere, such as in Indonesia where there is ample capacity for the profession to grow and thrive.
Catherine Edwards, director of qualifications at ACCA said: 'To meet this capacity challenge, it is important that the profession meets the changing needs of businesses and other organisations and not only the number of accountants required.
'Employers from the public and private sectors, in businesses large and small regularly tell us what they need from the finance function or the wider accountancy profession; their feedback helps ACCA and its partners develop complete finance professionals who know all aspects of the profession they want to enter.'
Since its beginnings in 1904, ACCA has developed a number of ‘firsts’ for the profession, most recently with the sponsorship of a massive online open course (MOOC) from FutureLearn, in partnership with the University of Exeter. It is the first professional accountancy body to sponsor a MOOC on the social learning platform, leading to professional recognition.
ACCA also recently enhanced the computer-based assessment for papers F1 – Accountant in Business; F2 – Management Accountant and F3 – Financial Accounting. New task-based questions enable students to tackle practical problems in a computer environment, and are also available for ACCA’s Foundations Level exams, which are the stepping-stones onto the ACCA Qualification.
Catherine Edwards explains: 'Employers from the public and private sectors, in businesses large and small tell us that our range of qualifications meets their needs – but how we design, deliver and develop our qualifications is important, so that we produce accountants who know all aspects of the profession so they can deliver effectively in the workplace.
'Over the years, ACCA has introduced new and modern ‘firsts’ for a profession that depends on excellent education and training, that prepares people to work in any area of business life, whether that is management or financial accounting, in audit or as a tax expert.'
ACCA’s firsts also include:
- Introduction of on demand computer-based exams as early as 1998
- Using IFRS in exams since 1996 in recognition of growing convergence of accounting standards
- Introducing variant exams for tax and law in 20 countries
- From 2007, placing ethics at the centre of the qualification with a separate ethics module
- Examining integrated reporting <IR> throughout the professional Level exams, from December 2014
Catherine Edwards concludes: 'ACCA is innovative – but we also ensure this innovation is based on feedback with employers, learning providers and other stakeholders; we work to ensure there is stability and comparability with our qualifications. The whole point of these innovations is to ensure that ACCA, its students and members remain ahead of the game, that they are prepared for the challenges ahead – and that we ensure there are enough accountants for business’s needs on the global stage.'