The image of a yellow stairway to the future, which is depicted on the report cover.


While technology is a major force transforming the world of work, there are also a number of other forces at play too, including changing expectations of individuals in the workplace, shifting social norms and values, new types and levels of connectivity and demographics. 

Our latest report, Future ready: accountancy careers in the 2020s, draws on ACCA’s collective research over the last three years, as well as new research. It examines what all of this tells us about the trends changing careers in accountancy. It’s a story of opportunity as the profession takes centre stage in building sustainable organisations for the future.

We see five exciting career zones emerging. These zones represent broad areas of opportunity which individuals may develop their careers in, or indeed navigate across. Career paths in the profession will become more diverse and working lives will evolve as technology blurs the work divide between humans and machines.

The five career zones of opportunity

A three-layer pie chart of sustainable organisations. Outermost layer: career adaptation, skills transformation, learning evolution. Second layer: technical and ethical, creative, emotional, experience, vision, digital, intelligence. Third layer, five career zones of opportunity: assurance advocate, business transformer, data navigator, digital playmaker and sustainability trailblazer.

We see five exciting career zones of opportunity in accountancy merging in the future. All of these work to build sustainable businesses and represent broad areas of career opportunity.

The assurance advocate is essential to the strong stewardship of sustainable organisations for the future in areas such as auditing, risk management, and compliance. They bring new levels of trust and integrity to organisational operations. 

The business transformer is the architect of organisational change, driving the strategies of organisations, and supporting sustainable businesses for the future. They may be leading innovative smaller accountancy firms or SMEs, or exploring careers in advisory or business transformation. 

The data navigator is a true business partner. They see extraordinary opportunities from the growth of data and uses emerging analytical tools to drive insights that deliver business outcomes. They champion ever-growing multi-rich data sets and use smart data to generate brilliant forward-looking analysis to support decision making.

The digital playmaker is a technology evangelist, who champions technology adoption and data governance within the organisation and sees remarkable possibilities with emerging digital tools in transforming the organisations in which they work. 

The sustainability trailblazer is at the heart of performance management in the organisation. They play a key role in establishing frameworks that capture, evaluate and report on the activities that truly drive value and in ways that are much more transparent and meaningful to the outside world. They will transform management accounting fit for a multi-capital world and see emerging opportunities with better external disclosures to ever-growing stakeholder groups.