The global body for professional accountants

ACCA Futures Conference

Kuala Lumpur – ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) organised its inaugural Futures Conference on 15 May 2014 which focused on the theme ‘The future of business and impact on the accounting profession’. 

The conference headlined renowned futurologist and trend-spotter, Magnus Lindkvist, who created the world’s first academically accredited course in trend-spotting and future-thinking in 2008. 

“Future-proofing a business is about asking the difficult questions, such as ‘What can we do that hasn’t been done before? How can we engineer reality differently?’ Unfortunately, we very often cling to the past, to the way things have been. We tend to think that the future is a destination, but it’s not; it’s a canvas,” said Lindkvist to the 250-strong crowd in his special presentation. 

Lindkvist opined that too many people opt to compete rather than create. When competing, organisations are doing what’s already out there a little bit better – a strategy he referenced as horizontal growth. But in a creative mind-set, they will be thinking instead about what the world needs, hence focusing on vertical growth. 

“More often than not, a creative mind-set will face much resistance. That’s because when it comes to new things, it’s always easier to play the fear drum than it is to find the symphony embedded in the new noise,” he lamented. 

The ACCA Futures Conference is part of ACCA’s Asia Pacific series of Futures Conferences that was also held in Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Singapore this month. 

“Asia is beautiful; it’s growing and fresh but interestingly, many people here still think the future will be made elsewhere,” said Lindkvist when asked about his perception of this part of the world.

He shared three tips for companies – whether they are big corporations or small enterprises – to future-proof itself, saying: “Number one is to work across sectors and departments; because it has been shown that innovation happens when there is a mating of minds. Secondly, be paranoid about ensuring a balance of gender and generation in the organisation, again because creation thrives on diversity.

“Lastly, realise that there is no such thing as sustainable future-proofing; instead, companies should identify future possible weaknesses and address them. Also remember that failure precedes success. Many good ideas hide in failures, so companies should have a way to manage failures.” 

The engrossing topic of future-proofing businesses was explored in detail at the panel discussion that followed. On the panel was ACCA’s head of Futures Research, Faye Chua; Andrew Olah, Head of Sales at Google Malaysia; Sophia Pang, Performance Management Solution Lead for ASEAN at IBM; and Luciano Pezzotta, Managing Partner ECSI Consulting.

Conference delegates were also provided updates on Company Law, the Malaysian Financial Reporting Standards (MFRS), the Malaysian Private Entities Reporting Standard (MPERS), and latest developments on local and global tax matters.  

Jennifer Lopez, head of ACCA Malaysia, concludes: “This conference is all about the future, and preparing our finance professionals for what’s to come. Today, constant change and relentless adaptation is the new normal. This state of volatility is expected to persist, where change will be all-encompassing and affect all aspects of the global economy and businesses.”