ACCA - The global body for professional accountants
For accountants and businesses it’s not just about England & Wales anymore. As UK businesses of all sizes keep one eye on other markets and developments in the global economy, accountants and finance professionals are mastering the technical, language and cultural challenges of cross-border operations. They are taking on a more holistic outlook in their roles for the benefit of their employers or business clients
—Faye Chua, head of future research, ACCA

Global focus is central to long term drivers for change amongst finance chiefs and senior executives

Fuel price rise fears and cyber security pose the greatest challenges for UK business in the short term, according to a new report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA (Institute of Management Accountants), with 88 per cent of executives and 78 per cent of accountants who took part ranking it as the highest concern. 

The report also showed that 3 out of 4 senior executives and accountants identified the increased focus on the accountant’s role as a business partner as the most important factor in the medium term from 2016-2022, while the biggest long term focus of both business leaders and finance professionals was a potential shift in the global reserve currency from the US dollar to a different currency, such as the Euro or Yuan.

The findings also point to a greater priority for non-financial information and integrated reporting, with 70 per cent of executives and accountants citing it as critical for medium-term future plans. 

Faye Chua, ACCA head of future research, said: 'The report shows that senior executives and the accountants who work alongside them are on the same page and both looking ahead to the same future challenges. That trend resonates with the medium-term priority the report revealed of ensuring accountants take on a more business-focused, strategic role in a company.

'Right now, the impact of fuel and energy bills on businesses is a concern and one that should not be overlooked, but executives and accountants are thinking, rightly, further ahead than the next few years and there is a clear need to adapt in readiness for those expected challenges. In addition, the roles of non-financial information reporting and integrated reporting are becoming integral to businesses and the finance function. The environmental and social impact of a business is an area which is seeing greater involvement from accountants.'

Other findings from the survey:

  • Accountancy practices identified cloud computing as a major factor due to affect business over the medium term
  • 68 per cent of accountants identified the increasing cost and accessibility to higher education as a major, short-term concern
  • SMEs identified an increase in carbon taxes and the potential change in the global business language as long term factors that would drive change in their businesses

Global factors 

The study revealed that the corporations identified the growing impact of businesses from BRIC economies on businesses from developed nations as a key, medium term factor. 

Faye Chua added: 'For accountants and businesses it’s not just about England & Wales anymore. As UK businesses of all sizes keep one eye on other markets and developments in the global economy, accountants and finance professionals are mastering the technical, language and cultural challenges of cross-border operations. They are taking on a more holistic outlook in their roles for the benefit of their employers or business clients.'

Raef Lawson, Ph.D, CMA, CPA, IMA vice president of research said: 'Like businesses the world over, UK companies and accountants are identifying similar factors that they need to adapt for in the future. It is also clear that UK businesses are not only looking at domestic developments and there is a global outlook in their plans for change.'

As part of a wider global report, more than 550 accountants and business leaders from different sectors of the UK economy offered their insights into future drivers for change. 

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For more information, please contact:

Steve Rudaini, ACCA Newsroom
+ 44 (0) 207 059 5807
+44 (0) 7715 812120
steve.rudaini@accaglobal.com 

Helen Thompson, ACCA Newsroom
+44 (0)20 7059 5759
+44 (0)7725 498654
helen.thompson@accaglobal.com 

Notes to Editors

  1. Read the 'Drivers of change in the UK' report via the 'Related Links' section, left of of this article.
  2. 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. 
  3. We support our 154,000 members and 432,000 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 8,400 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. 
  4. 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 IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)

IMA®, the association of accountants and financial professionals in business, is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program, continuing education, networking, and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices. IMA has a global network of more than 65,000 members in 120 countries and 200 local chapter communities. IMA provides localized services through its offices in Montvale, N.J., USA; Zurich, Switzerland; Dubai, UAE; and Beijing, China.