Accountants have earned a reputation as businesses’ most trusted advisers. This is particularly true for SMEs and young businesses, which are more reliant than other firms on external practitioners for strategic and day-to-day support. The technical expertise and trusted advice offered by the finance profession are often cited as its most valuable contributions and this remains as true today as it was a decade ago.
Nonetheless, businesses now are changing, evolving, and innovating more rapidly than ever before. Technology is playing an increasingly big role in how businesses operate, trade and access finance. The growing popularity of online education pathways, epitomised by Mass Open Online Courses (MOOCs), is also opening up enterprise to new audiences and potential entrepreneurs.
This paper discusses how these issues relate to the role finance professionals play in business, drawing on discussions between members of ACCA’s Global Forum for SMES; it offers the Forum’s expert and practical insights into the evolving challenges to, and value of, accountants in the modern-day enterprise.