Advocating for ACCA is about recommending ACCA in a positive way – however members choose to do it and whatever channel they use to do it. Advocacy happens when members share a post from ACCA on social media, or when they encourage a colleague to read a research report, when they advise a would-be accountant to embark on ACCA training, or when they talk about the profession at a school careers day, conference or other public event.

It’s not about signing up for something; it’s not even about a badge that members may choose to wear. Being an advocate for ACCA is talking about our professional body, sharing our news, recommending our qualification and promoting our professional insights research.

Benefits for members

ACCA benefits significantly when we’re recommended by our members. Recommendations boost the organisation’s profile - more people across the world know who ACCA is and understand the role financial professionals play both within business and the wider economy. This in turn increases the number of employers who look to employ ACCA members and the number of students who to choose to study with ACCA.

But what is even more important is that members themselves benefit from advocacy. Sharing one of ACCA’s research reports through social media, or at work, may spark a discussion and help their team or company to develop, which will in turn reflect well and raise the member’s profile. Or it could be supporting their employer to participate in discussions that ACCA has with government on topics such as tax or regulatory changes.

Members benefit from advocacy in different ways, from boosting their profile and their presence through to providing useful challenge to their business and extending their own skillset and world of thought.

At its best advocacy contributes to the creation of a virtuous circle, where members help to keep the profession moving and responding to the challenges that the world presents.

They do this by shaping and using the thought leadership and resources that ACCA creates and then sharing them with colleagues and peers, as well as the wider community, including clients and future accountants. This facilitates new thinking, which leads to the development of further resources and thought leadership.

As a result of this virtuous circle, ACCA’s brand recognition increases. This means that the skills and qualifications of our members are more widely recognised and appreciated. Clients and employers can be reassured knowing that their professional finance partner is a member of a professional body that demands high standard, is globally recognised and is prepared to address some of the big challenges associated with the future.

Advocacy in practice

ACCA members and students don’t need to set aside time in their diaries for advocacy work. Advocacy invariably happens naturally as finance professionals go about their working lives. Nor does it have a strict timetable – it doesn’t necessarily happen on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Members may be advocating for ACCA one day, but not do so again until many weeks or months later. The spark which allows a member to get involved in advocacy may come one month in the form of an email from ACCA that flags up new research, or at another time from seeing something on our social media channels that catches their attention. Content that interests one member will inevitably appeal to others with in their network who have similar professional interest - in this case sharing through social media can be both subtle, timely and very powerful.

Every ACCA member, affiliate, student and their employers have the potential to be an advocate for ACCA. As the number of advocates increases, the more effective ACCA will be at raising the profile of its members and that of the ACCA Qualification. A strong profile enables ACCA to stay at the forefront of developing the profession in a way that reflects our fast-changing world and enables our members to create a society that is fairer, more prosperous and more transparent.

Written by Chris Quick, Director of Brand and Corporate Reputation ACCA.