In response to the appointment of Boris Johnson as the UK’s new Prime Minister, ACCA’s chief executive Helen Brand OBE says:


Attracting the best international talent

‘It is absolutely imperative the UK upholds its status and reputation as “global Britain” by continuing to be open to those wanting to work and study here. Closing the skills gap is key to maintaining global competitiveness and there must be a commitment to ensuring employers are able to access international talent to fill critical and vacant roles. Post-Brexit, we would strongly urge the current salary threshold for international students and workers to be reduced from £30K to £20K to ensure the country has access to a large talent pool.

Protecting professional qualifications and services in the future

‘We must ensure new bilateral agreements protect and bolster the strengths of all UK trading industries and we must not overlook the need for continued and seamless trade in services which represent a £83.4bn trade surplus.

‘The UK currently benefits from a level of soft power influence granted by the continued recognition and trust in UK services, and the presence of UK qualified professionals performing highly-skilled regulated roles in international markets. As we move forward with trade agreements, it is vital Government champions our world-renowned professional services industries by ensuring mutual recognition of professional qualifications in any free trade agreement.

‘I would very much welcome the opportunity to discuss further how ACCA can support the new premiership of Boris Johnson and how our expert-led global research can provide valuable insight to Government for the years ahead.’

ACCA

Audit and AI – tentative first steps to improve audit quality and efficiency


A survey of ACCA members and affiliates about their understanding of terms such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), data analytics and robotic process automation (RPA), revealed technology’s ability to renew processes that improve audit quality and increase efficiency.

The report reveals how technology is also a catalyst that will help shift the focus of the audit process from a retrospective view to one which is prospective. It also assesses the technologies having most impact on the audit profession as we know it today.

Drawing on existing research and exploring the views of leading practitioners, it provides an understanding of how the changing business environment is shaping technological change in auditing – summarising how different technologies could be expected to impact its future and what this means for auditors as people.

Key findings in the report also revealed:

• Among the available technologies, data analytics is currently the most mature and is currently used by most firms

• The audit profession is still at a very early stage with AI and has not embedded it as deeply as it could

• The human relationship between client and auditor remains important: not everything can be replaced by technology

• Auditors will need to be more adaptable to change in future

ACCA’s report Closing the Expectation Gap in Audit found that 55% of the general public across 11 countries believe that, if auditors followed the requirements of existing auditing standards, they could prevent corporate failure.

Furthermore, 70% believe that audit should evolve to prevent corporate failure. Although some may reasonably argue that such demands are unrealistic, technology may help to satisfy the public demand, at least partly, in future.

Maggie McGhee, executive director – governance at ACCA, said: ‘Technology offers the ability both to improve the quality of audit and to add value to it: audit is moving from being a reactive, backward-looking exercise to a proactive, predictive, forward-looking one, working in real time.

‘As such, it provides an opportunity to help clients by providing timely insights. Even in its traditional context, technology now offers an opportunity to produce higher-quality audits that better serve for their existing purpose.

‘Nonetheless, if AI and related technologies are fully implemented, it could raise questions about the auditor’s independence.

‘We hope Audit and Technology provides insights for both businesses and auditors themselves on how they may adapt most effectively in the face of significant change.’

Simon Grant, Group Executive International Development and Advocacy & Professional Standing at CA ANZ, said: ‘If we can anticipate the possible impacts of technology and harness it so we understand the benefits to the accounting profession, technological change could then be such an empowering opportunity rather than a challenge for our profession.’

ACCA

Accountants must work with governments to tackle the global infrastructure gap challenge


Accountants can play a critical role in closing the infrastructure gap by improving the selection, financing and delivery of infrastructure projects

  • Accountants can play a critical role in closing the infrastructure gap by improving the selection, financing and delivery of infrastructure projects;
  • Governments must have the right professional team in place to harness the benefits of additional investment while working to mitigate the significant risks associated with infrastructure projects;
  • There is a palpable need for whistle-blowing legislation and a professionalised government finance function in order to meet infrastructure requirements.

Infrastructure is critical for economic and social development around the world. From the transportation networks that enable people and goods to move around safely and effectively, to the utility systems providing power and services essential to survival. And these systems rely heavily on investments and funding.

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has partnered with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) on a report called: How accountants can bridge the global infrastructure gap. The project has produced findings and recommendations based on international good practice to help governments close their infrastructure gap with accountants playing a central, collaborative role.

The term ‘global infrastructure gap’ identifies the difference between infrastructure investment needed and the resources available to meet that need. In 2018 alone, the investment gap grew by over $400bn and it is set to grow to a staggering $14 trillion by 2040[1].

Respondents from the survey identified three major barriers to meeting the infrastructure needs of their respective countries:

  • Fifty two percent cited a lack of political leadership;
  • Forty nine percent of respondents quoted a lack of finance funding;
  • And 40 percent said it was down to planning and regulatory barriers.

ACCA’s head of public sector policy, Alex Metcalfe, says:

‘Solving the infrastructure puzzle is crucial to achieving a better, more sustainable future for all, as it tackles global issues such as inequality, poverty and climate change.

‘Infrastructure is the foundation on which our social and economic well-being is built. All around the world – national, regional and local governments make decisions that serve the public and play a critical role in building and maintaining important infrastructure investments. Forces such as demographics, rising cyber threats, urbanisation and climate change are all increasing the global demand for quality infrastructure.’

‘The accountant is well-placed to tackle many of the major challenges humanity faces in the 21st century and beyond.’

On the importance of public-private partnerships (PPP’s), Alex continues:

‘Through this report, ACCA and CPA Canada also hope to highlight just how powerful and essential connections and partnerships are. The relationship between the public and private sector in facilitating the delivery of infrastructure projects is vital and accountants play an important role in getting this relationship right.’

Davinder Valeri, director strategy, risk and performance at CPA Canada says: ‘Accounting is central to successful decision-making and professional accountants can provide relevant analysis and guidance, especially when it comes to building accountability into the process. Having an accountant’s skills and perspectives on an infrastructure project team can mean the difference between success and failure.’

The report offers 20 recommendations to close the infrastructure gap, based on observed global good practice. The recommendations include:

  • Governments should enforce effective whistle-blowing legislation and professionalise the public sector finance function to allow public servants to challenge unethical behaviour and practices that can disrupt infrastructure projects.
  • Governments should direct supreme audit institutions to monitor the interaction of off balance sheet liabilities and fiscal targets in order to improve the efficient allocation;
  • Governments should adopt full accrual accounting and maintain a public sector balance sheet to support decision-making on infrastructure policies.
  • Governments should also separate expenditure on projects to report both maintenance and new project spend.

The survey features 3611 respondents from 118 countries across ACCA and CPA Canada’s memberships respectively.

ACCA

Cyber and the CFO


Not a day goes by without a breaking news story about data breaches or personal data theft from large organisations. Cyber crime is one of the biggest risks to businesses to date and globally its estimated costs will reach $6trillion by 2021.

ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has teamed up with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), Macquarie University and Optus to launch the report Cyber and the CFO. The global survey, which features views from 1500 ACCA and CA ANZ members, finds cyber security is not managed as a risk to businesses and is too often left to IT specialists to handle.

Highlights from the report show:

• Almost 60 percent of CFOs and finance leaders rank cyber security as the most important or top five business risk

• However, a third of respondents did not know whether their organisations had been the subject of a cyber attack. Few survey responses showed a recovery plan that included much beyond the hardware.

• Over 20 percent of finance professionals admitted they had no involvement whatsoever in cyber security within their company.

• And 10 percent of respondents did not know who in the business was responsible day-to-day for cyber security.

• Larger business placed a higher priority on cyber risks (8 percent), but small business were marginally (5 percent) less concerned or aware of such security risks.

Cyber-risk is becoming ever more complex with the integrated nature of supply chains.  Only 19% of survey respondents said that they regularly audited their supply chains.

ACCA’s head of business management, Clive Webb, says:

‘The increasing use of technology within businesses to create commercial advantage comes at a price and that price is cyber risk.

‘The finance community cannot stand by and leave cyber security to others in the business to manage. It is very complex, but it is essential for finance leaders to familiarise themselves with the issue.

‘The report highlights the changing nature of the cyber threat. It establishes the financial and operational risks that arise and in that regard the finance community needs to keep abreast of the evolving nature of the threat and ensure that it is managed appropriately.’

Geraldine Magarey, head of CA ANZ’s thought leadership says: ‘Finance leaders need to recognise that cyber risk is one that is very relevant to them’.

Stuart Mort, Optus Business CTO Cyber & ICT Customer Solutions, says:

‘As enterprises are more reliant than ever on digital solutions for their business, any breach could result in a significant impact to not only reputation, but also brand value and ultimately the company’s value.

‘Boards and the c-suite must take ownership of cyber risks and address appropriately.’

Executive director of the Optus Macquarie University Cyber Security Hub, associate professor Christophe Doche, says:

‘New cyber threats and technical vulnerabilities are emerging at a very fast rate; however targeting employees is still a very effective way for cyber criminals to attack an organisation.

‘Given the rapidly evolving and pervasive nature of cyber threats, an important component of managing cyber risk is to prepare for what seems inevitable. Indeed, organisations should make sure that a well developed and tested incident response plan is in place to build cyber resilience and ensure business continuity in case of a cyber breach.’

ACCA

What’re inside my badge


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, et dicit labitur qui, sea option facilisi an. Justo definiebas interpretaris at quo, qui putant nominavi mediocrem ut, cu repudiare persecuti pro. Ei his nonumes scriptorem, te quo dicunt detracto.

continue reading

5 Design Ideas For Healthcare Waiting Rooms


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, et dicit labitur qui, sea option facilisi an. Justo definiebas interpretaris at quo, qui putant nominavi mediocrem ut, cu repudiare persecuti pro. Ei his nonumes scriptorem, te quo dicunt detracto.

continue reading

Creative & Modern Office Designs Around the World


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, et dicit labitur qui, sea option facilisi an. Justo definiebas interpretaris at quo, qui putant nominavi mediocrem ut, cu repudiare persecuti pro. Ei his nonumes scriptorem, te quo dicunt detracto.

continue reading

Checklist To Find The Startup Partner Of Your Dreams


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, et dicit labitur qui, sea option facilisi an. Justo definiebas interpretaris at quo, qui putant nominavi mediocrem ut, cu repudiare persecuti pro. Ei his nonumes scriptorem, te quo dicunt detracto.

continue reading

Modern offices and work spaces


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, et dicit labitur qui, sea option facilisi an. Justo definiebas interpretaris at quo, qui putant nominavi mediocrem ut, cu repudiare persecuti pro. Ei his nonumes scriptorem, te quo dicunt detracto.

continue reading

Meet the modern carpenters


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, et dicit labitur qui, sea option facilisi an. Justo definiebas interpretaris at quo, qui putant nominavi mediocrem ut, cu repudiare persecuti pro. Ei his nonumes scriptorem, te quo dicunt detracto.

continue reading
1 2