An update from ACCA's president and chief executive

Jenny Gu, ACCA's president, and Helen Brand, the chief executive, share an update on what's been happening over recent weeks at ACCA.

As our members and wider community continue to work through the challenges of the pandemic and focus on recovery, we’d like to update you on ACCA developments.

We’ve heard from many of our members, future members and partners about how they’re coping with the demands they continue to face. We’re incredibly proud of the crucial role you’re all playing to support and guide organisations through these difficult times, and of your focus on thinking ahead to sustainable economic recovery.

The sense of working together has been resounding. This was demonstrated in the five global Covid-19 webinars held over the last few months in which we and members of our Council from different locations at different stages of the pandemic shared insights with some 12,000 members. Many members have also taken part in a huge range of online events across our global network designed to support them, and enable the sharing of experiences.

We’ve been tracking the impact of the pandemic through two global surveys in which some 14,000 members took part. Covid-19 global survey: inside business - impacts and responses was published in April, and its sequel, The road to recovery in June. While helping members to assess and benchmark their own strategies, the surveys also highlight issues that need to be addressed by policymakers. We’re contributing to policy discussions about driving recovery in many parts of the world and our members’ views and insights have helped us speak with authority to governments on the critical issues they’re facing and influence their actions.

One area of focus is the huge challenge faced by SMEs. Many of our members are advisers to SMEs, or employed by them, and we’ve been working hard to support them as they help these businesses stay afloat. In May we joined forces with the International Chamber of Commerce in their Save our SMEs campaign. In the UK we’ve worked with The Corporate Finance Network and our SMP members to establish an ongoing SME Tracker to focus attention on the specific challenges they face. And in Malaysia we created an SMP100 group for practitioners to connect, exchange ideas and support SMEs, which we’re looking to roll out globally.

Digital solutions are more important than ever as the pandemic has dramatically accelerated business transformation. Professional accountants play a vital role in this with their unique blend of digital, analytical and human skills, and wider perspective. So over the next few months we’re focusing in particular on digital, supporting our community through new professional insights research, online events, and a refreshed digital intelligence hub containing a wide range of cutting-edge CPD to help members demonstrate their digital credentials, especially when it comes to career changes.

We continue to support our members and future members through ACCA Careers, our jobs website advertising some 100,000 vacancies around the world every month, alongside careers advice content, including how to ‘ace’ an online job interview, free CV reviews and career management sessions. And we’re supporting members and future members facing financial distress through support such as flexibility on fees.

The ACCA Qualification develops critical digital skills in our students. With disruption to exam sittings, we’ve worked fast to find a secure and rigorous solution for students to sit their exams remotely when our exam centres cannot operate. We’ve successfully launched remote invigilation for our on-demand Foundation and Applied Skills exams and we’re working to extend this across the ACCA Qualification for those students who experience exam centre disruption.

Keeping you updated has been a commitment we made right at the start of the pandemic. Our Covid-19 hub went live on the 13 March, the day our London office started working from home. Since then, the hub has had a million pageviews, with content designed to help manage the impact and drive recovery.

In April we launched our new five-year strategy to 2025, with a refreshed ACCA purpose and values. For more on this and our strategic performance, along with more information of how we’ve managed the impact of the pandemic as an organisation, our integrated report will be published on 31 July.

We thank you wholeheartedly for your hard work, expertise, resilience and optimism – and the part you are playing to get the world economy back on track. We look forward to our ongoing work together on the road to recovery. And above all else, we wish you and your loved ones well.

Jenny Gu, President and Helen Brand OBE, chief executive
ACCA, July 2020

"We’ve heard from many of our members, future members and partners about how they’re coping with the demands they continue to face. We’re incredibly proud of the crucial role you’re all playing to support and guide organisations through these difficult times, and of your focus on thinking ahead to sustainable economic recovery ... We thank you wholeheartedly for your hard work, expertise, resilience and optimism – and the part you are playing to get the world economy back on track. We look forward to our ongoing work together on the road to recovery. And above all else, we wish you and your loved ones well. "

Jenny Gu, president and Helen Brand OBE, chief executive - ACCA