The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has launched a campaign supported by one of the largest ever global studies across the profession, on the skills accountants need as they head into the next decade.

ACCA’s body of research shows there are diverse emerging issues where technical and communication skills will be vital by 2020–25. What topped the list of competencies expected to be most important over the next decade is the ability to communicate a more holistic view of corporate reporting.

Thomas Isibor, head of ACCA Nigeria, said: ‘New hardware, software, economic threats, services and regulations are all arriving at a breakneck speed and all of these changes will have a significant impact on commerce.

Mr Isibor Added: ‘For FDs and CFOs, the trick is identifying what changes will have the most impact on business and how can best to prepare to meet—and take advantage of—these challenges now.’

According to the ACCA Business Forms report, business activities are an essential part of every society. Their success, especially when first starting up, depends on many social and economic variables, but one of the most important things is what legal form the business adopts. Sympathetic and pragmatic advice from experienced experts in the field can make a real difference to the success of the venture.

Previous ACCA research has shown that the value ascribed to an accountant’s advice to a small business comes not simply from the professional qualification but also from the

client’s perception of the adviser as a peer, who has faced the same challenges and decisions in establishing their own business (Spence et al. 2012).

ACCA’s report also noted that : ‘A detailed familiarity with local tax and capital movement laws and business practices will also be needed to work across (and with others in) multiple geographies’.

Speaking on how to attract and retain these skills, Mr Isibor said: ‘Identifying these critical skills is one thing. Creating a workspace that attracts, rewards and amplifies them is something else entirely. It’s here where we must confront the much vaunted, and often maligned, generation known as millennials. But there is good news for the profession.

‘Of the 19,000 16 to 36 year olds asked, 85% responded positively to the idea of a career in finance.’

The ACCA report clearly highlights that business success involves meeting, adapting and sometimes creating change. The pace of change has increased substantially over the past few years.

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