ACCA - The global body for professional accountants
This report has been conducted by ACCA on behalf of AFA and is a representation of how a globally recognised professional body such as ACCA can assist in the development of the region.
—Kuy Lim, President, ASEAN Federation of Accountants

An e-learning future awaits professional training, say ASEAN accountancy bodies; Communication skills needed as much as financial skills; The profession has a part to play in the economic development of the ASEAN region

A new report from the ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA) and ACCA examines the training and development needs of the accountancy profession in the 21st century. 

The research report sought the views of nine other professional bodies from Australia to Vietnam with the aim of understanding the current and future training needs of accountants in the region, especially in the context of a rapidly evolving profession and the skills and knowledge needed in the future.

The report asserts that having a robust training framework is essential to ensure that the knowledge, skills, values, ethics and attitudes of professional accountants are developed and will also ensure relevance to both their current and future work and professional responsibilities. 

The findings show that:

  • Training delivery to members across the ASEAN region is broadly consistent, with conferences, seminars and Continuous Professional Development events being popular ways to deliver training to members.
  • Partnerships are also important, with membership bodies working together with commercial training providers to supply training into members – a number of AFA members bodies also partner with key employers in their markets as well as universities to provide training for their members.
  • E-learning will grow in popularity as younger generations start entering the profession and demanding, embracing and adopting new technologies to meet their own training needs.
  • Analytical and communication skills were also cited in the report as being essential aptitudes for the future. This reflects the needs for professional accountants to take on a more strategic role than in the past, a role that demands greater analysis and communication to various stakeholders.
  • All respondents to the research said that it is essential for membership bodies to provide their members with financial reporting training, with provision of internal and external audit, risk management and financial management being seen as crucial. 

Kuy Lim, president of the ASEAN Federation of Accountants, said: 'This report has been conducted by ACCA on behalf of AFA and is a representation of how a globally recognised professional body such as ACCA can assist in the development of the region, together with AFA. This is a truly collaborative effort and I would like to thank the other nine participants for being so forthcoming about training and development futures, something which is important for the ASEAN economic community (AEC) blueprint for economic development to forge ahead. The AEC blueprint will transform ASEAN into a single market and production base, and make the region fully integrated in the global economy. A well trained and skilled accountancy profession can further support the AEC blueprint and help ASEAN achieve its vision of greater economic integration and partnership.'

Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA, said: 'It is clear from this report that a holistic and collaborative approach to training and development of professional accountants within ASEAN is a vital issue for all AFA's member bodies; it is also one that must be addressed if their members are to fulfil their potential and to thrive in this increasingly complex and challenging world. I am delighted that this report is the result of a successful collaboration between ACCA and AFA, drawing on both organisations’ insights and experience. I echo Mr Lim’s comments the help and participation of the member bodies within AFA for their participation in this very important and project – they’re input is greatly appreciated.'

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For further information, please contact:

ASEAN Federation of Accountants

The ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA) Secretariat



Reza Ali, ACCA

Head of Emerging Markets – Asia 

Notes to Editors

About ACCA

  1. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. 
  2. We support our 147,000 members and 424,000 students in 170 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 80 offices and centres and more than 8,500 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. 
  3. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. 

About AFA

The ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA) was organized in March, 1977. It was established to serve as the umbrella organization for the national associations of accounting professionals of the member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). AFA originally had only five member-bodies. These are the national accountancy bodies of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Currently, AFA membership comprises of all 10 ASEAN member countries.

The ASEAN Federation of Accountants was created with the following objectives:

  • To provide an organisation for ASEAN Accountants for the further advancement of the status of the profession in the region with the view to establishing an ASEAN philosophy on the accounting profession.
  • To establish a medium for closer relations, regional cooperation, and assistance among ASEAN accountants.
  • To enhance the continuous development of the accounting profession in the region through the joint endeavours of accountants representing the ASEAN.
  • To identify and highlight vital problems affecting the accounting profession in the ASEAN region and to formulate proposals towards the solution of these problems.
  • To provide ASEAN accountants with a venue for the exchange of the significant information on the accounting profession in the ASEAN member countries.
  • To represent the ASEAN accountants in their collective dealings with international accounting and other organisations.
  • To work in cooperation with ASEAN business regional groupings whose economic development efforts may be complemented by ASEAN accountants.