Drivers of change: Ng Boon Yew, chair of Accountancy Futures Academy

aksaroya —  25 February 2013 — Leave a comment

By Faye Chua, head of futures research, ACCA

In this interview Ng Boon Yew, chair of ACCA’s Accountancy Futures Academy, talks about the Drivers of Change research and the imperatives that the accountancy profession and the business community need to focus on to stay successful.

The accountancy profession needs to focus on a holistic view of complexity, risk and performance

There is growing consensus on the need for reporting to provide a firm-wide view of organisational health, performance and prospects. Such a holistic perspective must acknowledge the complexity of modern business and encompass financial and non-financial indicators of a firm’s status and potential.

As businesses adapt to a turbulent environment, opportunities are emerging for accountants to assume a far greater organisational remit. The potential exists to leverage the capabilities of the accountant across all aspects of corporate decision making, from strategy formulation through to defining new business models.

A very clear message is emerging on the need for company reporting to provide a firm-wide view of organisational health, performance and prospects. Such a holistic perspective needs to take account of the complexity of modern business and highlight the efforts to address it. Such an integrated view must also report on non-financial measures such as innovation. Equally important will be the assessment of the strength of core business relationships, the overall vibrancy of a firm’s culture and employee health and happiness. Taking the holistic view goes well beyond the current remit of the CFO’s organisation and has major implications for training and the development of the accountancy function.

Businesses must prepare for true globalisation

Development of a truly global operating model is becoming a priority. A clear emphasis is required on leveraging technology effectively. Although many firms have embraced a truly global operating model, others are still in the process of learning what this entails. Becoming truly global implies moving beyond the export of home country paradigms and operating models. Long-term success across multiple geographies and cultures demands the development of genuinely global management approaches. These must encompass everything from strategy formulation through to business innovation and talent recruitment and development. Although technology is a critical enabler of the effective operation of the global enterprise, the key factor is the capability of management to work with, adapt to and get the best out of a multi-location, multicultural and age-diverse workforce.

The rate and distribution of global population growth, and the resulting implications for workforce age structure are highlighted as important drivers. Increased female participation in the workforce, expectations of emerging generations and cultural diversity are all emphasised as critical social drivers for business. Issues around workforce capability are also identified with particular emphasis placed on the cost and ease of access to higher education and the growing role of online learning.

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