ECA Member Lazaros S. Lazarou, at the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg, hosted a thought provoking conference, organised under the auspices of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU, focusing on two of these prevailing winds of change called Bringing governments closer to citizens and businesses in a digital age through Ethics and trust.
There are several factors driving change for the public sector: Some will affect the level and type of public services needed in the future, others will influence the level of funds available for public spending. The need to sustain rising populations and fuel economic growth must be balanced against the planet’s finite resources. Other factors will change the very nature of public services, such as digital technologies, able to create open, participatory and trustworthy public sectors while improving social inclusiveness and government accountability, and able to bring together public and private actors. But which also come with an increasing number of cyber threats.
How do we re-boost damaged public trust? And how do we answer citizen’s rising demand for transparency? More ethics, integrity, and accountability would be a good start, for instance through public financial and non-financial reporting, audit, professional scepticism and more adequately skilled professionals in the public sector. But this is not without challenges linked to increased volume and complexity. Public sector accountants are being asked to take on a broader strategic and entrepreneurial role, now becoming the bridge between the public and private sectors.
To help leaders in the public sector and professional accountants prepare for an uncertain tomorrow, ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) undertook a global study to explore which emerging drivers of change could have the biggest impact and to highlight the skills that will be required over the period to 2026.
The scale and pace of change are accelerating as never before. Having the foresight to anticipate how the changes will affect a country will help its government to prepare most effectively for the future landscape.