This article was first published in the July/August 2019 UK edition of
Accounting and Business magazine.

ACCA member panels across the UK are seeking increasingly creative and imaginative ways to reach out to members. The steps for doing so were laid out at ACCA’s Members Engagement Conversation event in May, when UK members gathered at ACCA headquarters in London.

Ensuring members can engage in the work of the ACCA – generating ideas and shaping the future activity of their professional body – is the crucial remit of the UK’s 39 regional and six sector panels. So the day was designed to be a conversation, allowing the different panel representatives to share their experiences of what has worked and to swap tips on how to create momentum and community.

Panels have always worked hard to come up with programmes and sessions that attract members. While that remains a constant, it is clear that the ways in which this can be done are evolving to take advantage of modern digital platforms.

In years past, an event was most likely to take place in the evening, in the function room of a hotel, with a speaker as the centrepiece. While that format will continue, future initiatives are more likely to embrace live and ‘watch again’ digital events, blogs, tweets and Facebook posts. In fact, events can adopt any format to allow like-minded professionals to share their concerns and interests, and connect and collaborate, unrestricted by the need to assemble physically in the same place at the same time.

While the panels may take advantage of social media to ensure that members can reach out to one another and stay in contact after an initial meeting, the personal invitation to an event or to join a panel remains central to attracting and engaging members.

Panels are not exclusively member-focused. They also bring together students, employers and those thinking about finance careers, demonstrating the reach of the ACCA brand and its role as a connector.

The conversation

The guts of the work of the day’s conversation came in breakout sessions, where panel members sat around a table and delved into the detail of how they operate, while learning from one another about how to reframe how panels could engineer their activities in the future. This work will be helped by a clearly stated revaluation of the role and purposes of the panels within ACCA’s vision and strategy.

The day underlined the potent mix of diversity and experience in member panels. ACCA members from different sectors are contributing energy and enthusiasm to engaging with others through panel work. Being committed ACCA advocates, they invest time and effort in enhancing ACCA’s brand and reputation and in working for fellow ACCA members.

At the same time the day showed how panel members derive satisfaction and personal professional development from their work, as they see the difference that individually and collectively they make.

If you’d like to learn more about the work of panels with a view to becoming involved, send us an email

Peter Williams, journalist