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Accounting for the future Conference 2013

Professional accountants – the future: keys to success    

This year’s Accounting for the Future virtual conference is live between 22 and 24 November 2016. It focuses on the professional qualities and technical skills that you need to succeed in your career, now and in the future. It features expert speakers on issues ranging from technical accounting to cutting-edge technologies to business trends to careers advice. Our conference programme is relevant to all professional accountants and designed to help you be successful in the workplace and your future career – and provide you with up to 21 units of CPD.

All times are GMT. Sessions will be available on-demand until 31 January 2017 following the live conference.

Register now...

Professional success

Tuesday 22 November
Day one kicks off with two inspiring keynote sessions. Sibusiso Vilane is a South African adventurer and inspirational speaker who has climbed the highest peaks of each of the seven continents. James Alexander is an experienced entrepreneur who co-founded Zopa and Egg, two UK digital ventures that have grown into huge successes. We also explore new ACCA research on the skills professional accountants need to succeed in the future, and what the next generation of accountants want from work.


10:00 – 10:30
Zopa, disruption and the future of business
James Alexander is an experienced entrepreneur who co-founded Zopa and Egg, two UK digital ventures that grew into huge successes. James’s keynote will talk about how we can embrace disruption and change, and turn these into opportunities, looking at how technology can aim for success.

10:30 – 11:00
The challenge to the summit – beyond Everest
Success can seem insurmountable, and reaching the top a challenge. But not for Sibusiso Vilane, a South African adventurer and inspirational speaker who has climbed the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. His keynote session will focus on teamwork, how teams can work together for the benefit of goals and how to overcome obstacles and aim for the top together.

11:00 – 12:00
The seven qualities professional accountants need to succeed at every stage in their career
This panel discussion explores the key skills and qualities that professional accountants need to succeed in their career, now and in the future – from first qualifying right through to the boardroom. Our panellists, all at different stages of their career and representing a range of different experiences, give their own perspectives using a pioneering quotients model recently published as part of ACCA’s 'Professional accountants – the future’ research, which highlights the importance of qualities such as vision, creativity, technological capability and emotional intelligence in career success. This is a thought-provoking session for those at all stages in their career.

13:00 – 14:00
The future of finance careers – brave new world?
This session will launch ACCA’s ground breaking study, Generation Next. Earlier in 2016 almost 19000 ACCA students and members under the age of 36 from 150 countries shared their experiences of the profession to date, insights into their own career aspirations and work preferences, and their views on what attracts them and retains them in organisations, as well as how they like to learn. The report provides indications as to what the future may hold as they embark or move into the next stage of their careers. This session will share with delegates insights from the report findings but also will provide advice on how the younger generation in finance today can manage their own careers, as well as drawing out implications for employers on how they can attract, develop and retain talent for the future.

14:30 – 15:30
ACCA Qualification – the future: member update on exam changes
On 10 October we unveiled a ground-breaking new design for the Professional-level of the ACCA Qualification, including an innovative case study using real-world scenarios and a new Strategic Business Reporting paper. This is the highlight of a number of well-executed innovations that have been delivered over the last two years, featuring a move to exams featuring real-world technology. This session will provide an update on the changes, how and why we developed them, and what they mean for ACCA members. We’ll look at how the changes focus on rigour and relevance - qualities that the ACCA Qualification has always been known for – and how they will enhance the reputation of ACCA and its members, now and in the future.

16:00 – 17:00
What is member advocacy? An introduction for members
Does the profession 'shout' about itself enough? Does it have a strong reputation? Join ACCA's John Weston and council member Sharon Critchlow for a session about advocacy, PR and why reputation matters.

Business perspectives

Wednesday 23 November

Day two probes key business and finance function issues such as the role of CFOs, digital business for SMEs, blockchain and enterprise performance management, along with technical updates and discussions on all the latest corporate reporting issues. 


09:00 – 10:00
The ascent of digital and the future CFO organisation
Digital disruption is reshaping the global economy and driving significant industry change. But what are the implications for the CFO organisation in response? How will the familiar role of finance as we know it today be reshaped in the future so that the function can thrive in this new world? What are both the opportunities for finance leaders as well as the significant challenges they will need to overcome? With technology evolving at an ever faster pace, what impact will emerging technologies have on the role of finance and how it delivers.? And what are the implications for talent: how do aspiring finance professionals need to manage their careers in the face of these developments? Join this session to hear from leading advisors and CFOs who will share their thoughts on the ascent of digital and the implications for tomorrow’s finance enterprise.

10:00 – 11:00
Enterprise performance management: a new era of CFO opportunity
Enterprise performance management continues to gain traction as a hot topic for finance directors. Better planning and forecasting processes, more effective reporting on performance and deeper insights into the true costs and profitability of products, services, channels and customers are key to helping achieve an organisation’s strategy. With emerging developments in technology, and the opportunities presented by big data, opportunities for the CFO function to deliver more value to the business have never been greater. So what’s holding finance back, and what can CFOs do to improve enterprise performance management processes? Join this session to hear the common challenges and pitfalls facing organisations, as well as key insights from leading businesses on how this critical activity can be improved.

10:30 – 11:15
Fighting corruption in Africa and the role of corporate governance
In this session, we review the realities of corruption today, its impact on development and governance, and national and regional commitment in tackling the problem, particularly focusing on Africa. We will complement the overview with international development in anti-corruption efforts. We then review the role of boards and governance, followed by discussion on the role of professional accountants. The last part of the session provides listeners with the opportunity to ask the panellists questions.

11:30 – 12:30
Is it a bird? Is it a blockchain? How mutual distributed ledgers could change the role of accountants
Mutual distributed ledger (MDLs, aka blockchain) technology has been around for two decades, but the public interest surrounding Bitcoin’s blockchain has created a frenzy of interest in applying the underlying ledger technology. Professor Mainelli argues that this technology is as much about changing the organisation of central third party relationships - which validate, safeguard and preserve transactions among a community - as it is about technological implementation. He will explore how MDL technology may enduringly change the role of accountants.

13:00 – 14:00
SME special: Google Garage's advice on reaching new customers online
Learn how to make your business more visible online to help new customers find you through search optimisation, local listings and search engine marketing. The Digital Garage from Google is a digital skills training platform to assist you in growing your business, career and confidence, online. During this session, Ade Bamgbala will explore what is needed to gain a competitive advantage in the ever-changing digital landscape, so come prepared to learn and ask questions, too. This session is relevant to all business-focused professional accountants who wish to sharpen their digital skills and help their business gain new customers. 

14:00 – 15:00
The future of financial reporting: insider views
Leading players from the financial reporting world give their views on how they see things developing in the future and how accountants can influence that journey. Featuring respected commentators from organisations such as the International Accounting Standards Board, International Federation of Accountants and ACCA alliance partner Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, this session tackles a range of topical financial reporting issues from a variety of perspectives and is highly relevant to all professional accountants involved in financial reporting. Topics include International Financial Reporting Standards, the rise of digital technologies, shifts in economic power and the move away from historical financial reporting towards more integrated outputs.

15:00 – 15:45
The future of corporate reporting
This roundtable discussion will focus on developments and trends in corporate reporting, including integrated reporting.

16:00 – 17:00
Tackling implementation of IFRS 16, 'Leases'
Alan Texeira will give some background to the IFRS 16 project and talk about the key requirements; Stephen Bowen will discuss some of the practical implementation issues. This is presented in live audio webinar format and attendees are invited to ask questions.

17:00 – 18:00
Update from the IASB - the year ahead
In this update from the IASB, we focus on the board's pipeline over the next 12 months, looking at the significant projects, the key issues and their likely timings.


Public sector, ethics and audit

Thursday 24 November

On day three we take a look at key issues on audit including scepticism and the new auditors’ report. We look at ethics and corporate governance, as well as international tax issues. A panel session explores financial management in the public sector, and we look at the latest on International Public Sector Accounting Standards.

09:00 – 10:00
Topical tax update: from BEPS to 'making tax digital'
For this session we team up with our strategic alliance partners Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) for an update and discussion on current tax issues that affect professional accountants across the world. There will be a particular focus on the OECD’s BEPS project (Base erosion and profit shifting), in particular on the pre-emptive strike made by the United Kingdom and Australia with their diverted profits tax approach, potential implications of country-by-country reporting and on concerns of possible delays in settling multilateral disputes. We also explore the implications of attempts to tax the digital economy.

10:30 – 11:30
What does it mean to be a non-executive director? 
Delegates are invited to participate in this interactive practical session that covers the life of non-executive directors (NEDs) by way of voting. The session covers a wide range of questions that NEDs face in their professional life and explores how they may be able to best tackle them. We invite the panellists to comment from their experience and review best practice examples. Questions we hope to cover include: when to start a career as a NED, what skillset is required and desirable, what values should NEDs bring, how to prepare to be an effective NED as well as what differences exist between the role of management and that of the board.

10:30 – 11:30
Being sceptical: inside the mind of an auditor
The importance of professional scepticism to audit quality is paramount. References to the need for more scepticism can be found in many audit inspection findings. The view that auditors are all too willing to side with management on key decisions is widely held among the public. It is therefore in the public interest for auditors to be more sceptical. But what does this mean in practice? This session will attempt to unpick this vital concept and provide some clarity about what can be done to improve the application of professional scepticism in public audits. Drawing upon the existing work programme of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, as well as key findings from psychology, we will discuss what needs to be done – by all stakeholders, as well as auditors – to enhance the public interest.

13:00 – 14:00
A question of ethics: navigating ethical failure in the banking and financial services industry
This panel discussion from New Zealand features the chief executives of the country’s Serious Fraud Office and Financial Markets Authority. Joined by other prominent panellists including author and advisor and publicly named 'whistleblower' Dennis Gentilin, they discuss the causes of unethical behaviour and explore strategies to reduce it. The session draws on a new report from ACCA alliance partner Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) which argues that blaming the banking industry’s failures on a few bad apples conveniently deflects attention from the cultural issues affecting the industry as a whole. Part of CA ANZ’s future[inc] series, the paper proposes a number of interventions to tackle this global issue.

14:00 – 14:45
Public sector through the looking glass: drivers for change
Designed to help professional accountants in the public sector stay one step ahead, this session will unveil key findings from a ground-breaking ACCA global research study. The session will cover the future of the public sector, identifying the factors driving change and the skills required in the public sector finance function, now and in the future. The aftermath of the global sovereign debt crisis, the rise of new economic powers, technological advances and calls for more transparency and accountability are among various competing forces that are changing the shape of public sector financial management across the world. This session will cover all these and more.

15:00 – 15:45
Demystifying IPSAS – the future of financial reporting in government
An important step to achieve public financial management is for governments to increase transparency and accountability by adopting International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). In this session, incoming chair of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board Angela Ryan provides an overview of the board – who they are, what they do and how they do it. She’ll provide an overview of the strategy for the next three years and how this fits in with other global thinking, along with an update on current consultations – summarising the September board meeting and plans for the December board meeting – highlighting specific areas of interest. Ryan is unable to join us live on the day, but questions will be taken by IPSASB technical director John Stanford.

16:00 – 17:00
On the front line: financial management in the public sector
A panel of experts will share their insight and wisdom on the financial management challenges experienced by the public sector today. What does it mean to be a public finance professional? Who is using public sector accounts? How can finance professionals deliver more with less? This session will cover all this and explore other areas, such as the costing of public services and the International Federation of Accountants’ Accountability Now initiative. The panellists will also cover the big talent question – how can the public sector become the accountancy profession’s sector of choice.

17:00 – 17:20
Developing your professional skills
A practical guide from organisational psychologist and coach Dr Rob Yeung on how you can improve your emotional, creative, experience and vision quotients.

Last updated: 7 Nov 2016