An optimum blend of skills, experience and intelligence are now needed by professional accountants, finds an in-depth global research project from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
This becomes all the more pertinent as key drivers of change such as regulation and governance, digital technologies, expanding expectations of accountants and globalization will cause the accounting landscape to evolve rapidly.
Particularly, 55 per cent of over 2,000 professional accountants and C-suite executives across the globe expect the development of intelligent automated accounting systems to have the greatest impact on this change over the next three to ten years. Moreover, respondents also predicted that the rate of change and economic volatility (42 per cent), greater harmonization of accounting and business standards (42 per cent) and the adoption of cloud computing by business (41 per cent) would be game changers for the industry.
“The role of the accountant has been revolutionized over the last decade, to become leaders, trusted expert counsel and key strategic advisers to organizations whether in the public or private sectors,” says Helen Brand OBE, ACCA’s chief executive.
“With this metamorphosis comes a requirement for a whole new set of skills. On top of technical excellence, finance professionals now require creativity, emotional intelligence and the vision to lead.”
After thorough consultations with over 2,000 business and finance professionals around the world, The Future of the Profession is the most in depth analysis of the profession – and where it is headed – ever conducted says Brand.
“We discovered a brave new world of more regulation, greater globalization, ever increasing risk, and of course, massive technological advancement. The accountancy profession has to be ahead of the curve on all fronts - trained to the highest of professional standards, looking beyond the numbers and with a global mind set.”
‘Magnificent Seven’ strengths
To define what the 2016 finance professional must look like, ACCA has developed a set of seven Professional Quotients – a mix of technical knowledge, skills and abilities formed with interpersonal behaviors and qualities.
Technical and ethical competencies (TQ): The skills and abilities to perform activities consistently to a defined standard. Often based on a professional qualification.
Intelligence (IQ): The ability to acquire and use knowledge: thinking, reasoning and solving problems.
Creative intelligence (CQ): The ability to use existing knowledge in a new situation, to make connections, explore potential outcomes, and generate new ideas.
Digital quotient (DQ): The awareness and application of existing and emerging digital technologies, capabilities, practices, strategies and culture.
Emotional intelligence (EQ): The ability to identify your own emotions and those of others, harness and apply them to tasks, and regulate and manage them.
Vision (VQ): The ability to predict future trends accurately by extrapolating existing trends and facts, and filling the gaps by thinking innovatively.
Experience (XQ): The ability and skills to understand customer expectations, meet desired outcomes and create value.
According to Brand, her message to current and aspiring accountants is that a blend of all these attributes makes the perfect finance professional, ready for the global business challenges they will face.
“These ‘magnificent seven’ strengths show the way ahead. They are the means by which accountants use their technical knowledge, skills and abilities blended with the interpersonal behaviors and qualities to put them to use.
“Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. The key is to recognize where you excel and where you need to work to build your competency through the continuous professional development which professional accountants already know so well.”