This year’s conference, running on 27-29 November, will help you prepare for the challenges you will face in your working life over the next year and beyond, and supercharge your career in today’s fast-changing environment.

Technology will be a central focus, with a line-up of authoritative speakers discussing issues such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain - and their impact on the work of professional accountants. We’ll be exploring human interaction with technology, including new ACCA research on the importance of emotional intelligence in the digital age.

We’ll also be bringing you sessions filmed at the World Congress of Accountants, the ‘Olympics’ of the accountancy profession, held every four years, which is due to take place in Sydney a few weeks beforehand.

There will be sessions covering the whole range of issues: leadership, corporate reporting, audit, corporate governance, tax, accountants in practice, whistleblowing, how to boost your career, and much more. You’ll also get a chance to input into ACCA’s strategy into the next decade.

We’ll be unveiling more details and speaker names over the next few months.

The whole event will also offer up to 21 units of CPD.

If you cannot make the live event in November, the sessions will also be available on demand until March 2019.

  • Tuesday, 27 November

    Facing the future: taking on the mega trends together
    9am - 10am

    The fast pace of change today is breathtaking. Our research shows that globalisation, regulation, emerging-tech and the demands on the profession are set to grow as the main drivers of change to 2025. 

    But will blockchain burn out or become the new-norm? How will we learn the skills needed to be successful in the future? Do our organisations need change their culture and approach to talent management? 

    Join our future-gazing team to discuss the impact of mega trends on the profession.

    What makes a good leader?
    11am - 11.20am

    In this session we hear the views and experiences of a range of finance professionals in different roles from across the world on what they think makes a good leader. We’ll ask them to share their stories and thoughts on different aspects of leadership, such as communication, inspiration, vision, delegation, ethics and openness – and speculate on how leadership might change in the future. 

    Participants include members of ACCA’s International Assembly, ACCA officers and members attending the World Congress of Accountants in Sydney Australia in November 2018.

    Net gains – finance in football
    11.30am - 11.45am

    Millwall FD Steve Exley FCCA, Wolverhampton Wanderers FD Rita Purewal FCCA and football finance experts from Deloitte look at the numbers behind the sport and offer a glimpse of what it's like to work in finance within this sector.

    Four strategies to supercharge your career
    12pm - 1pm

    AB magazine ‘talent doctor’ and psychologist Dr Rob Yeung offers thought-provoking practical advice on moving your career forward and increasing your job satisfaction, including how to get a promotion. He’ll explore the ACCA professional quotients model and other cutting-edge ways of approaching your career that will help equip you with the tools to prosper now and in the future.   

    Building the future: developing the accountancy profession in Afghanistan and Rwanda
    1.30pm - 1.55pm

    In this session we hear the inspirational stories of how accountancy professions are being developed in Afghanistan and Rwanda with the ambition of building the financial expertise, capacity and infrastructures needed to build prosperous and sustainable economies. 

    We hear first-hand from those involved about the vision, the challenges, what you need to build an accountancy profession, and the benefits they hope it will bring for the citizens of these two countries as they work to put the difficulties of the past behind and build a bright future. We’ll also be hearing from students and recently-qualified members in both countries.

    2025: shaping our future – ACCA’s strategy beyond 2020
    2pm - 2.45pm

    In 1904 ACCA started out by opening up the profession to anybody with the ability and determination to succeed. Throughout our history we’ve stayed true to our mission and values, strengthening the profession globally and helping economies grow and prosper. 

    So what’s next for ACCA? What are the challenges, opportunities, disruptions and innovations that will shape our future? And how can we ensure a sustainable and vibrant future?

    In this session we’ll explore the emerging issues and trends shaping our future and consider what they might mean for ACCA. 

    We’ll also welcome the different perspectives of those participating in this session: these insights will help ACCA develop a robust strategy for the future. 

    Business models of the future
    3pm - 3.45pm

    "In today’s ever changing world, organisations are using business model design to build unique approaches to creating value that have the potential to radically disrupt industries.

    ACCA’s head of sustainability Jimmy Greer will present his latest report, Business models of the future: systems, convergence and characteristics, which identifies 12 characteristics behind business model design, that are being combined by organisations in different ways to create new sources of value. The research highlights the accountancy profession’s unique contribution to building businesses’ of the future.

    The session answers fundamental questions on the subject: why does business model innovation matter? What is the shape of the world in which models need to operate and how do they come together to build future value?"

    Scale up success: what do small businesses need to supercharge their growth?
    4pm - 4.45pm

    Entrepreneurs and small businesses who want to achieve high growth are today inundated with a range of options over where to access advice and support. In this rapidly changing landscape, deciding everything from where to obtain funding, developing a business strategy or how to internationalise can be challenging. 

    This session will explore how business support is changing today, and in the process is looking to cater to a new generation of high growth businesses. Joining our panel will be a provider of a leading accelerator programme and an award-winning tech start-up from the UK.

    Long-term value creation: is everything that counts being counted?
    5pm - 5.50pm

    With the world changing rapidly, society’s trust in corporate entities remains at an all-time low. While companies remain under pressure to generate profits, they are increasingly required to demonstrate their commitment to long-term value creation within a framework that measures their success.

    Current financial reporting requirements, however, do not reflect this new development. Led by Karl Havers, EY, this session will explore the steps companies need to take to measure and communicate long-term value to investors and stakeholders, to differentiate, rebuild public trust and remain sustainable.

  • Wednesday, 28 November

    How to harness your emotional intelligence to become more effective
    9am - 9.35am

    New research from ACCA explores how professional accountants who harness their emotional intelligence are more effective, better leaders and more able to deal with change. 

    This entertaining panel debate filmed at the World Congress of Accountants explores the findings of these research through discussion between ACCA’s head of business insights Narayanan Vaidyanathan and senior ACCA members. They provide real-life perspectives and give their reactions to the research, which covers areas of emotional intelligence ranging from self-knowledge and empathy through to human/machine interaction and dealing with power shifts. 

    The session will provide thought-provoking insights for all professional accountants seeking to improve their performance and job satisfaction.

    Robotics: unlocking the automation prize in finance
    10am - 10.25am

    In the face of bewildering tech options, can robotics live up to the promise and transform the face of your finance team? This session, filmed at the World Congress of Accountants, cuts through the confusion and dispels the myths that exist around robotics and finance automation, as well as exploring the emerging possibilities of intelligent automation. The session brings robotics to life in practice, and outlines the digital opportunities facing the future finance team.

    Robotics in action: challenges and opportunities for the FD
    10.30am - 11.15am

    In this follow-on robotics session, we hear from leading organisations on the practical challenges and opportunities with using 'bots' in the finance team. What are the lessons learned from deploying this new virtual worker in the finance function, and how can finance leaders ensure the transformation to automation in finance through robotics is successful?

    Data analytics in action
    11.30am - 12.15pm

    Analytics is as relevant as ever and there is far more to delve into beneath the surface. In a world where we need to react to the latest trends in the blink of an eye, this is the time to take advantage of the emerging technologies.

    We'll look at the application of analytics and explore how they can be effectively integrated into business processes. 

    Join this practical session and learn from the experts how to use and get to grips with analytics.

    The business professional of the future
    1pm - 2pm

    Timandra Harkness is the author of Big Data: does size matter? and presenter of BBC documentaries including the Radio 4 series Futureproofing and How To Disagree. In this engaging and thought-provoking webinar, she takes you on a journey into the future world of the business professional. Will you be working alongside robots, commuting to a virtual office, or doing an entirely different job? 

    Explore the promise as well as the peril of technology in the workplace of 2048, and reflect on some of the more surprising changes experts are predicting. How will your working life change over the next few decades? And what can you do now, to help make those changes positive?

    Blockchain at the coalface
    2pm - 2.50pm

    Experts in blockchain talk about applying the technology in practice, with real-life examples across industries, and explain all you need to know about crypto currencies, including who is using them and why.

    Talent and culture in the transformed finance function
    3pm - 3.45pm

    We see a lot of focus on emerging technologies to improve the value contribution of the finance organisation to the business - and there is no doubt that is an ongoing challenge. However, there has been less focus around the need to address both the implications technology has for talent management and a changed finance culture. 

    Finance teams will not grasp the opportunity presented by digital unless sufficient attention is given to rethinking our approach to managing change in finance and a more aligned approach to developing talent and the culture of the team.  

    This session will consider the developments in technology transforming finance functions. And as business expectations on finance teams continue to change, we ask whether or not the future vision for the finance function needs to look radically different, considering the change implications from a people perspective. 

    The future of learning in the accountancy profession
    4pm - 4.45pm

    The traditional career paths in the accountancy profession are being disrupted by a number of significant forces. Each of these are having an impact on the expectations of our staff and the ways in which we need to develop them. In combination the forces present a significant challenge that, as employers and students, we need to address. 

    Our Future of learning report explores these subjects from the perspective of the learner, that of the employer and that of the learning and development team. Successful talent growth, necessary for the benefit of our clients, requires us to address these challenges. In this session a panel of employers, learning and development professional and learners in a lively and forthright discussion consider the drivers, the implications for learning in the workplace and what we should do to address them.

  • Thursday, 29 November

    Public trust in tax
    8.30am - 9.30am

    Last year, ACCA, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and IFAC published a ground-breaking report called G20: public trust in tax. It was the first ever in-depth study of people’s views about who they trust on international taxation across all of the G20 nations.

    One year on, G20: public trust in tax will be updated, with new findings revealed at this live session with ACCA’s head of global tax Chas Roy-Chowdhury and CA ANZ’s tax leader Michael Croker. 

    With trust high on the political, economic and financial agendas, will the 2018 results differ from 2017? Will more people feel they can now trust the tax system? Will distrust of politicians still be near the 70% mark? And will the public trust deficit still extend to the media and business leaders? 

    Can tax save our planet? A proposal to update our fiscal systems
    9.30am - 10.10am

    From devastating wildfires ravaging communities to polar vortices hitting nations, extreme weather conditions are unfortunately a sign of the times. And many people around the world have woken up to the hard-hitting reality of climate change’s tangible effects.

    What should governments do to stall the unrelenting pace of climate change? As China rolled out environmental taxes across the country, Singapore prepares for the introduction of carbon taxes in 2019, and debates rage on about the implementation of Canada’s federal carbon pricing system.

    Just in time for the 24th Conference of the Parties, ACCA proposes rebalancing the tax system to allow countries to meet their carbon reduction targets, while supporting employment.

    Take part in our discussion where we find out how climate change mitigation can go hand in hand with innovation and economic growth. Can policymakers garner public support for environmental taxes? Is international cooperation beyond our reach? And what opportunities are there for businesses in all this?​

    Connectivity along the new silk road
    10.30am - 11am

    The Belt and Road initiative (BRI) is one of the biggest infrastructure projects of the 21st century, aiming to reinvigorate historic trade routes. BRI will bring international economic cooperation across the 65 countries in its path, allowing entities to gain easy and efficient access to information and data across borders.

    With such ambitions come challenges, in particular the need for a robust digital accounting infrastructure to support connectivity and oversight as well professional accountants with digital knowledge.

    At a global summit held in Beijing to celebrate 30 years in China, ACCA gathered a panel to discuss how BRI is unlocking infrastructure opportunities and reshaping the global value chain. Our first video is an extract from that summit session. This is followed by highlights from a BRI conference in Shanghai on digital connectivity in accounting in which experts discuss the development of accounting informatisation and how BRI countries might connect digitally.

    The auditor: what next?
    11am - 11.50am

    The audit profession is under intense scrutiny. From Enron to Worldcom; Parmalat to Carillion, the future of audit and its value is being questioned like never before.

    Join this session with Professor Mervyn King, co-author of recently published book The auditor: quo vadis? and Jo Iwasaki, ACCA’s head of corporate governance, for a lively discussion on the future of audit – and indeed the future of the wider accountancy profession. 

    Audit: closing the expectation gap
    12pm - 12.50pm

    The audit profession has been experiencing heavy criticism for many years now, and particularly in the wake of recent failures such as the Carillion’s collapse in the UK. 

    In this session, ACCA’s Antonis Diolas explores the audit expectation gap. The public continues to expect something different from what auditors believe should be expected from them, creating a gap between their respective expectations.  

    Despite the number of steps taken by national and international standards setters over many years to close this gap, it seems that it resurfaces with every new corporate failure.

    Diolas will present new and original ACCA research into the origins of the expectation gap, considering areas where the public lacks knowledge, areas where auditors are currently performing poorly, before identifying the areas that need to evolve to further align the financial statement audit with public expectations.

    Whistleblowing: changing the culture
    1pm - 1.50pm

    Effective speak up arrangements are a crucially important mechanism for addressing wrongdoing  in today’s organisations. Utilised effectively, a speak-up process can be an organisational risk management measure as effective as corporate security, internal audits and law enforcement. 

    However, there remains negative stigma around the act of whistleblowing, and many who have noted wrongdoings are concerned about the consequences of challenging the status quo. 

    This session will discuss some of the challenges faced by whistleblowers in today’s companies and society, and consider the urgent need for more effective speak-up arrangements.

    IFRS in action: an update
    2pm - 2.50pm

    Technical specialists discuss the successes and challenges around implementation of IFRS 16, Leases, IFRS 9, Financial Instruments, and IFRS 15, Revenue.

    Reporting under the spotlight
    3pm - 3.50pm

    Experts look at examples of best practice in implementing the recommendations of the Taskforce for Climate Related Financial Disclosure, and the EU requirement on non-financial reporting effective for 2018 year-ends.

    Cybersecurity – it's an IT department problem. Or is it?
    4pm - 5pm

    Cyber attacks are a significant threat to businesses worldwide with more crimes online last year than in the real world impacting companies share value, reputation and market share and now also attracting significant penalties from the Information Commissioners Office. Yet still Boards are not embracing the threats fully nor are the companies properly prepared for when they are attacked. So

    • Do you know the threats to your company or sector?
    • Do you know what your assets are?
    • Is your security posture aligned to your business?
    • Do you know how to contact the authorities and what they will expect?
    • Do you know what to do if you are attacked?

    This webinar may not provide all the answers to cyber security but may assist with what the questions are.

    How can the public sector help bridge the gap between the rich and poor?
    5pm - 5.40pm

    There are profound divides within nations around the globe when it comes to equality. Governments everywhere have a momentous task in adopting policies that level the playing field, providing equal opportunities for upward mobility for all.

    The OECD’s 2018 report on social mobility recently found - it could take five generations, which equates to about 150 years, for a child of a poor family to achieve an average income across member countries.

    Ultimately, high levels of inequality are unsustainable, so how can we tackle this growing problem head on? In its own right, the public sector is an important piece of the puzzle. Seventeen percent of the UK’s workforce is employed by the public sector.

    Come and hear what governments and accountants can do to support the social mobility agenda and how factors like corruption and income inequality further entrench the lack of social mobility.