Here's how ACCA's professional courses are helping accountants to be future ready

Given the global landscape, there is a demand to create strategic business thinkers who can define strategic business thinking, says Reza Ali, Director, Professional Education
Image for representational purpose only (Pic: Google Images)
Image for representational purpose only (Pic: Google Images)

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) with their conference Connecting the dots in Chennai recently brought in some of the best people in the chartered accounting industry from across the world to share relevant practices and how accounting can help the sustainable development of businesses and sectors. The conference dealt with building accountants of the future to help build businesses, financial best practices, changing talent pool that organisations are seeking for their finance teams, creating accountants for the future and more. We got to interact with Reza Ali, Director of Professional Education and Md Sajid Khan, Head, International Development from ACCA about the changing roles of chartered accountants and finance professionals, what skills they require to be future-ready and more.
Excerpts from the conversation:

Md Sajid Khan

How would you say that the role of accountants and finance professionals are evolving in this era of advancing technology?
The world is continuously changing with updates to technology and the advent of AI in business and personal lives. There have been reports that the rapid increase in the use of AI is eliminating routine jobs. However, it cannot replace strategic thinking, decision-making and intuition. The advancement in technology, rapid globalisation and the changing the business landscape require professional qualifications that are up-to-date with the market. if the professionals have technical knowledge that's not enough, they also need to have decision-making skills, be strategic thinkers, and have communication skills. Accounting is the international language of business. Given this global landscape, there is a demand to create strategic business thinkers who can define strategic business thinking. ACCA has recently launched a paper called ‘Strategic Business Leader,’ relevant for today and in the future for employers and stakeholders.

How are ACCA's professional qualification courses helping and moulding accountants to be future-ready?
Keeping pace with the changing needs of modern organisations and dynamic business environments, ACCA periodically revises or upgrades its qualification. The ACCA qualification helps its members, affiliates and students cultivate abilities like critical-thinking, problem-solving and forecasting skills- what we call the seven skills for success. The qualification develops students to be job-ready professionals by making them study real-life business situations or issues, which makes them fit-into their job roles from day one. This practical aspect of the ACCA qualification creates a healthy business environment for students and corporations or firms.

Reza Ali

How important is ethics in business? What is ACCA doing to help to highlight its importance?
Ans: In the business world, accountants are the gatekeepers of the system. Yet the number of reported financial frauds are increasing by the day and this is because, in the digital world, it has become very easy to compromise one’s ethics as there is no real face to the transaction or bookkeeping. Amongst the many types of financial frauds that are coming to light, contract cheating appears to be increasing. Hence in order to reduce such instances and throw light on ethical behaviour, ACCA is conducting theatre plays to communicate the importance of ethics in business.
The plays are split into multiple segments each portraying various real-life situations each that depict the imperative role of ethics in business and the vital role finance professionals play to maintain ethical practices within an organization and the business environment at large. Each of these case studies revolved around the theme ethics, transparency and simultaneously how an individual’s own actions can make them prey to the frauds happening in the digital world. The episodes in each of the plays showcased various life and corporate circumstances of how situations can be tough but being ethical is what will keep one safe in the long run. They stressed on values like how important it is to not just do what one is told, but do what is right. This is a multicity tour and with performance in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kochi and Chennai.

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