This year’s ACCA’s Accounting for the Future virtual conference, running on 4-6 December, will focus on technology, reflecting its increasingly important role in shaping the professional landscape. 

The line-up of authoritative speakers will discuss changes to roles in finance, audit and management accounting through the lens of technology. They will also look at ethical behaviour - a core attribute for professional accountants and the topic of a major global ACCA study published this year, Ethics and Trust in a Digital Age. This session emphasises one of the key findings of the survey: that ethical behaviour will become increasingly important for securing public trust in an evolving digital age.

As always, sessions will range far and wide, taking in tax, reporting, regulation, blockchain, data analytics, international trade, small business issues, talent, social mobility, professional scepticism, belt and road, and much more.

Whatever sessions you choose to attend, they all deal with the real challenges and opportunities facing the profession. The aim is to give you the knowledge to be able to meet both head-on.

The whole event will also offer up to 21 units of CPD.

If you cannot make the live event in December, the sessions will also be available on demand until March 2018.

Explore the sessions

  • 4 December 2017
    The corporate philosopher: ethics at work
    9.00am GMT, 30 minutes

    This year’s conference opens with a thought-provoking interview with Professor Roger Steare, adviser and commentator on ethics and ‘how to decide what’s right’ in business. Author of Ethicability and How to Be Good at Work, Steare advises companies such as BT, HSBC and BP, as well as regulators and public sector bodies, on leadership, culture and ethics. In a wide-ranging discussion, we explore the ethical challenges facing accountants, both individually and as a profession. We also explore how we can make good decisions at work, including dealing with corruption and other challenges to good ethical behaviour in working life. Essential viewing for anyone concerned about doing the right thing.Technology in finance - who dares, wins?

    Technology in finance – who dares, wins?
    9.30am GMT, 45 minutes

    Emerging technologies, each of which have a reliance on organisational data, are having multiple impacts on businesses and, in particular, the finance function. On 4 December, ACCA is launching exciting new research to demystify the implications for members. We focus on the impact of robotics, analytics, the cloud, social media and cybersecurity in combination; underpinned by strong and effective data governance. In a lively conversation, a number of leading experts will explore the significant findings of this work to give practical insights into this evolving world.

    Analytics - what’s that all about then? 
    10.30am GMT, 30 minutes

    In a world where everyone is talking about analytics there is a lot of misinformation and confusion. What does it really mean and what are the benefits it can bring to organisations? After attending this 30-minute session you’ll have a full understanding of the different types of analytics available, brought alive through examples.

    The stratified cloud - benefits and risks for organisations
    11am GMT, 30 minutes

    This introductory session explores the different layers of the cloud (from SaaS to PaaS to IaaS, etc) and what they mean for those using each. This webinar, delivered by a leading expert, will give you a strong understanding of the different concepts of the cloud and the varying uses that the technology can be put to.

    Robotic Process Automation in finance - the customer perspective
    11.30am GMT, 30 minutes

    Using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in a finance function confuses many. Is it an efficiency saving or an opportunity to improve processing times for routine transactions? This session will explore what RPA is, and how an organisation has implemented it and the challenges they faced. By the end of session you’ll have an appreciation of the risks and strategies you may want to adopt for your organisation in taking this emergent technology forward.

    Divided we fall, distributed we stand: demystifying blockchain
    12pm GMT, 30 minutes

    Around the world technology providers, businesses and governments, are evaluating what distributed ledgers, often referred to as ‘blockchain’, might mean for them. Its attractiveness goes beyond process improvement to create business model and eco-system-wide transformation. So, what do we mean by blockchain, and is its much talked-about promise real? Is blockchain the great disruptor or a solution seeking a problem? Professional accountants are uniquely placed to guide organisations in this journey of discovery. This session will shine a light on the meaning of blockchain and its commercial applicability.

    Data analytics: opportunities and challenges for the auditor
    1pm GMT, 40 minutes

    Data analytics provide both an opportunity and a challenge for the auditor. The ability to obtain audit evidence reflecting a robust analysis of most, if not all, transactions opens up potentially different ways of approaching a financial statement audit. This has its challenges in terms of data acquisition and management as well as the skills of the staff who are undertaking the analyses. In this session our speaker, Bob Dohrer, chair of the  International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) Data Analytics Working Group, will explore these trends and offer practical guidance based upon the the group’s recent work.

    The human touch
    2pm GMT, 50 minutes

    With the rise of robotics and automation in finance functions, the human factor is pivotal in ensuring efficiency, compliance and good relations with customers and stakeholders. But information overload, systems complexity and red tape are seen as a hindrance reducing staff morale and overall performance. They can also stand in the way of a good corporate culture. This session, featuring experts from ACCA and Integrated Human Factors, looks at how to make workplace culture work successfully, and how it can link in with human factors such as tasks, processes and the need for satisfying and rewarding jobs.

    Generation next: managing talent in SMPs
    3pm GMT, 40 minutes

    ACCA’s head of SME policy Ben Baruch and head of UK John Williams introduce the findings of a new report on the ways that SMPs can best cater to the next generation of talent. Building on our 2016 Generation Next study, which included a global survey in which almost 19,000 members and students responded, this report takes a closer look at the aspirations of younger finance professionals working for SMPs today, as well as exploring the strategies SMPs can adopt to gain the talent they need to thrive. The research revealed that younger professionals see their experiences in the SMP sector as a valued platform for a successful long-term career but also perceive barriers to progression around pay and a limited availability of roles. How do employers more effectively sell the benefits of the sector whilst overcoming these barriers to younger people?

    How to be an ACCA advocate
    4pm GMT, 15 minutes

    If you find yourself regularly talking about the pride you feel about being an ACCA member, why not join our community of advocates? In this session you’ll meet a wide range of member advocates who share their wide range of experiences, including talking to young people about careers in finance and the ACCA Qualification, helping students on their exam journey, representing ACCA at events and on forums, joining networks and panels, and much more. These will hopefully inspire you and give you some ideas, while ACCA’s head of member advocacy John Weston will provide some practical tips and describe what support and resources are available.

    Tax and technology
    4.30 GMT, 45 minutes

    Collection of taxes, like everything businesses do, is being affected by changes in technology. But unlike most business activities, tax has a wider social dimension that technology and digitalisation can impact upon. Around the world, tax authorities are investigating not just how technology can make taxes more efficient, but more accurate too - and even how to clamp down on crime. And it’s not all about direct benefits to government; there is scope for the tools that enable the capture and recording of information for tax purposes to generate management accounts information for businesses that might otherwise have never considered it. Jason Piper presents an international perspective on the role technology can play in improving tax systems for everyone’s benefit. 

    Social mobility: renewing prosperity in the age of global volatility
    5.30pm GMT, 30 minutes

    The traditional image of finance – men in pinstriped suits making decisions divorced from reality – still looms large. The future of finance lies in getting back to its roots of being a truly inclusive profession, serving the economy to build opportunities for all, generating wide-ranging prosperity. Advocating social mobility is key to making this happen. In this session, Grant Thornton’s chief executive, Sacha Romanovitch – having passionately championed social mobility – will explain how her firm has reaped the benefits. Come and hear why social mobility is the cornerstone of the accountancy profession and a top priority for business – creating more enduring outcomes for clients and business culture.

  • 5 December 2017
    Public trust in tax: cooperation or competition?
    9am GMT, 50 minutes

    ACCA’s Jason Piper will present recent research which polled 7,600 individuals across G20 countries on their attitudes to tax. It revealed that people are three and a half times more likely to favour cooperation over international tax policy than competition. What does that mean for governments and tax administrators globally? Join the G20 debate and afterwards catch Michael Corker from CA ANZ bring his insights into Australia’s place in the tax world.

    How to be ethical and inspire trust in the digital age
    10am GMT, 50 minutes

    The digital age is throwing up new challenges for professional accountants. With digital ways of working now deeply embedded, how relevant are traditional approaches to ethical issues? What about new scenarios such as ransomware attacks, crypto-currency transactions, intellectual property disputes and customer privacy? What does this mean for public trust and for professional accountants on the frontline dealing with ethical questions in the workplace? ACCA’s head of technology insight Narayanan Vaidyanathan presents exciting new ACCA research based on the views of over 10,000 current and future finance professionals – you can share and ask questions too. This session is key to anyone interested in demonstrating ethical behaviour, inspiring trust and fulfilling their public interest obligations against this challenging yet exciting landscape.

    Panel session: dealing with ethical dilemmas in the digital age
    11am GMT, 50 minutes

    Three senior professional accountants, including ACCA's deputy president Leo Lee, are put in the hotseat for a lively panel discussion on how they would deal with difficult ‘digital age’ ethical dilemmas. The scenarios examine two ethical challenges in the areas of cyber security and big data analytics. The panellists discuss how these would actually play out in the day-to-day working environment. They discuss what actions and decisions they would take if they were the professional accountants on the front line, under pressure to make sense of new information, and apply their ethical judgment in the scenarios where the right and wrong answers are not immediately obvious. And how should they interact with stakeholders both within their organisation, and externally?

    Changes to the ACCA Qualification: ethics in the real world
    12pm GMT, 45 minutes

    As part of a series of innovations to the ACCA Qualification, students are from 31 October being required to consider ethical behaviour in the context of other professional skills, in a new module on their exam journey. It provides a unique blend of real-world simulated examples to ensure professional accountants remain at the forefront of business leadership. In this session, ACCA’s director of professional qualifications Judith Bennett takes a member’s-eye look at the new module and other improvements to the qualification. She describes why they are important for maintaining ACCA’s reputation, relevance and rigour. You’ll also be able to ask her questions about any aspect of the changes and the future of the qualification. 

    A guide to CPD for ACCA members
    1pm GMT, 45 minutes

    Got questions or concerns about any aspect of CPD? We’re here to support you every step of the way. This presentation offers a guide to CPD requirements for ACCA members, the support available to them, and the many resources that are available. Key ACCA staff will describe exactly what is meant by CPD, where members can get it, what is meant by verifiable and non-verifiable CPD, and the declaration process. You’ll also get the opportunity to ask questions. 

    SMPs: how to help your clients through Brexit
    3pm GMT, 45 minutes

    The endless news headlines might have become something of a blur, but Brexit remains as real as ever for businesses of all sizes. As an accountant in practice advising small and medium-sized businesses, how should you be advising your clients? How should they prepare? How best to manage the uncertainties? Are there any opportunities and how should they exploit them? ACCA's Ben Baruch and Lorence Nye from the Federation of Small Businesses explore and discuss this issue and answer your questions.

    Getting ready for Brexit: a guide for accountants in business
    4pm GMT, 30 minutes

    Are you a finance director or working in a finance function, or have another role in managing a business? John Williams, head of ACCA UK, presents a guide to what you need to think about to make sure your business is Brexit-ready. He also points to tools and resources where you can get further help on this issue. The presentation includes a number of perspectives from the front line of different businesses.

    Cognitive bias and professional scepticism in audit
    4.30pm GMT, 50 minutes

    In May, ACCA published Banishing Bias, a groundbreaking publication on professional scepticism and how standard-setters, regulators, and auditors need to work together to improve audit quality. The report’s key insight is the central role that cognitive biases play in shaping debates around professional scepticism. In this session, ACCA’s head of audit and assurance, Andrew Gambier, will explore some practical ways to use knowledge of cognitive biases to improve the exercise of professional scepticism in audit.

  • 6 December 2017
    The future skills of auditors
    9am GMT, 45 minutes

    This joint session by strategic alliance partners ACCA and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) will explore the skills and attributes future auditors will need as the world changes and technology develops. How will advances in technology and new regulatory demands impact ethical considerations and audit practice? What mix of traditional skills and new skills will be required as we move forward?  The session will feature presentations from audit experts along with video content, and you will be able to share your views and ask questions.

    China’s Belt and Road initiative: a new era for global trade?
    10am GMT, 45 minutes

    China’s Belt and Road initiative seeks to rebuild the ancient silk routes for the 21st century. The project will see an estimated $4tn worth of investment and infrastructure across 65 countries. Of these countries, ACCA has a presence in one third and with members in many more. Based on discussions and interviews at ACCA’s recent International Assembly of member representatives, this session looks at what Belt and Road means for businesses and economies, and the challenges and opportunities it presents for professional accountants.

    Belt and Road: understanding the accounting challenges
    11am GMT, 45 minutes

    This session will explore the accounting challenges involved in China’s Belt and Road initiative and the professional skills accountants will need. Drawing on the insights of ACCA’s recent joint report with Deloitte China and the Shanghai National Accounting Institute, which looks at different accounting practices and policies along the route, Yuki Qian, head of policy for ACCA China, will provide an overview of what accountants inside and outside of China need to know, and answer your questions.

    R&D: the thorny intangible
    1.30pm GMT, 50 minutes

    Many businesses spend vast amounts of money, on an annual basis, on the research and development of products and services. This R&D expenditure often constitutes a significant intangible asset on the balance sheet. Join Alan Teixeira, a partner at Deloitte and former IASB board member, Dr Ioannis Tsalavoutas, senior lecturer in accounting and finance at the University of Glasgow, and ACCA’s head of corporate reporting Richard Martin as they discuss the thorny issue of reporting on R&D costs.

    How to tell a story: trends and challenges in corporate reporting
    2.30pm GMT, 50 minutes

    Sallie Pilot, director of research and strategy at Black Sun, Hilary Eastman, director of investor engagement at PwC, and ACCA’s corporate reporting manager Yen Pei Chen look at key trends coming out of 2016 annual reports from around the world. This draws on findings from an ACCA-IIRC-PwC project to review integrated reports produced by members of the IR Business Network, and Black Sun’s insights on stakeholder communications.

    Integrated reporting: the next step
    3.30pm GMT, 30 minutes

    Richard Howitt, chief executive of the IIRC and John Lelliott FCCA, chair of the Natural Capital Coalition in conversation with ACCA’s Adele Gilbert about the latest developments in integrated reporting and the practical issues arising from its implementation.

    IASB update - insurers grapple with IFRS 17
    4pm GMT, 40 minutes

    IFRS 17, Insurance Contracts, was published by the IASB in May 2017 and applies to annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2021. It is applicable to insurance, reinsurance and investment contracts. Join IASB senior technical manager Joanna Yeoh, director of actuarial services for Mazars Dermot O’Hara and ACCA’s head of corporate reporting Richard Martin as they talk about the implementation challenges around this new standard.

    IASB update - tackling the latest standards
    5pm GMT, 45 minutes

    The IASB has published a raft of significant standards that are challenging preparers in their implementation. IFRS 15, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, is effective from 1 January 2017; IFRS 9, Financial Instruments, has been effective since 1 January 2015; and IFRS 16, Leases, is effective from 1 January 2019. In this session, IASB Vice-Chair Sue Lloyd will look at some of the implementation issues arising from these standards and update attendees on other ongoing projects.