This article was first published in the September 2019 China edition of
Accounting and Business magazine.

According to ACCA’s most recent global survey of business leaders, 96% of employers see ACCA as a respected brand. That’s an enormously encouraging degree of consensus in a world where disruption and polarisation are growing.

It is also one figure among many in ACCA’s 2019 employer survey that confirms ACCA’s relevance to the world of business. The respect and trust employers have for the ACCA Qualification and the people who achieve it are higher than they have ever been. This is not just among ACCA approved employers, but across a range of leading businesses around the world and in all sectors – corporate, practice, financial services and public sector.

The research found that employers have a higher than ever preference for recruiting an ACCA accountant, are satisfied with their relationship with ACCA, believe ACCA members bring relevant skills to their business, and are more likely than ever to want their students to study with ACCA.

Human dimension

At the heart of these positive findings are favourable perceptions of the ACCA Qualification. Employers responding to the survey welcomed our strategy to ensure the qualification adapts to changing times and the evolving demands of business in a new age of digital technology, machine learning and big data.

The next generation of professional accountants will increasingly be expected to bring strategic insight as repetitive tasks become more automated. And not only will they need agility and resourcefulness, they must also bring an ethical and human dimension to leadership. Employers recognise that ACCA develops these qualities in its members – 86% agree that ‘the qualification delivers complete finance professionals with capability in finance management and strategic leadership’.

Three in five employers recognise ACCA as the leading global accountancy organisation, which may be no surprise given our impressive and growing number of members (219,000) and students (527,000). These numbers show we are developing significant talent to the benefit of the profession, with professional accountants who will be the best trained, best prepared, and most versatile.

World class

The perceptions of our key stakeholders are vital to our success. We have spent 114 years building and strengthening our brand. Since our earliest days, it has been based on enduringly relevant values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, accountability and integrity. We see these values as worth celebrating and promoting, and it seems employers do too – 93% agree that ‘ACCA is a world-class organisation’.

One of ACCA’s strengths is that we are able to have a truly global outlook and connect all parts of the profession, as we seek to influence it and the business community, and contribute to society. We take pride in the breadth and depth of our close connections across many sectors, especially education, government and commerce. We have a powerful voice as a leading global professional body, and we take very seriously our duty to use that influence wisely and responsibly so that the accountancy profession is a vital partner at the highest levels of national and international decision-making.

I am glad to say we are pushing at an open door, as the survey reveals in a handful of telling results:

  • 91% of employers agree ‘ACCA is an organisation that champions professionalism and ethics’
  • 91% agree that ‘ACCA shapes the agenda of the profession’
  • 87% agree that ‘ACCA is highly regarded in my market’
  • 87% agree that ‘ACCA is an innovative and forward-thinking organisation’.

Securing the highest level of market recognition for our members is one of our main drivers. It is an exciting time as positive employer sentiment about ACCA strengthens. I would like to thank our members for contributing to this success.

Helen Brand is ACCA’s chief executive.