A new research conducted by the Association for Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), has shown that global business leaders expect finance professionals to take on a more strategic role in the future, believing that their ethical integrity will become increasingly important.
The research, with a focus on “The value creation model for business: 2010 and beyond”, sought the opinions of over 500 senior business people in nine countries about the role of the finance professional now and in the future. More than half of the respondents maintained that finance professionals will form the bedrock on which sound business decisions are made.
Another revelation from the research was that business leaders believe that accountants will help to improve the ethical standards across an organisation with over half of respondents (58%) believing that this guardianship role will become more important in the future.
It also reveals that the role of the finance professional is now more visible and more responsible, and that this has been the case since the global economic crisis. The respondents also believe that this visibility and responsibility will continue and grow in the future.
On oversight and supervision, the research shows that accountants will bring greater strictness in an increasingly global regulatory environment, and help organisations manage risk more effectively. Indeed, two-thirds of respondents placed risk management and internal control among the top skills required of accountants going forward (67%).
This new research builds on previous surveys by ACCA to build a compelling body of evidence about the significant role accountants play as ‘value creators’ in the business world by serving the public interest, restoring stakeholder confidence and ensuring long-term sustainable wealth creation.
Helen Brand, Chief Executive of ACCA said: “We expect to see a new focus being placed by organisations on how they source and develop the skills and capabilities of their finance employees to create value, not just to their employers but within the wider economy.
“In the future, we predict an increased need for highly-talented professionals, particularly in emerging markets. Organisations need to be prepared to invest in their people to ensure that their finance professionals are seen as leaders in the business, central to decision-making. Professional accountants already bring value through financial analysis, forecasting and an ethical approach. By enhancing their expertise in risk management, internal control and strategic decision-making, we believe accountants will be at the heart of business.
“Sustainability is also a key feature for the finance professional of the future. Fifty-six per cent of business leaders expect the finance professional to be involved to a greater extent in sustainability and corporate and social responsibility issues.
“The finance professional of the future will bring greater oversight. As the global economy returns to growth, we will see the influence of professional accountants in all economies and particular emerging markets, come to the fore. They will help to create the infrastructure and develop codes of governance that bring about responsible and sustainable business practices.”