The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has taken a step forward in shaping the future of accountancy by unveiling major innovations to its Master’s level qualification, tailored to meet the strategic challenges of the 21st century’s disruptive economy.
ACCA’s new ground-breaking design of its qualification draws on an extensive, two-year review and consultation with members, employers and learning providers.
Helen Brand OBE, chief executive of ACCA, says: ‘Our ground-breaking redesign of the ACCA Qualification will give students the forward-thinking strategic abilities and advanced skill-set required of modern professional accountants who will shape the future of global business.
‘We’re delivering a qualification that meets the demands of professional accountants in the 21st century, while maintaining the rigorous standards of technical, ethical and professional skills that has established ACCA as the international benchmark for accountancy qualifications.
These measures are important as they will ensure the rigour and relevance of the qualification remains central to ACCA’s offering in emerging, as well as established, markets.’
ACCA’s latest innovations to the top level of its qualification are new Strategic Professional level exams which will replace the existing Professional level exams in September 2018 and a new Ethics and Professional Skills module, which will be introduced in October 2017.
The redesign enhances the breadth and depth of the qualification, with greater focus on employability and the practical application of core skills in the contemporary workplace and includes:
Strategic Business Leader – an innovative case study exam, based on a realistic business scenario. This gives students the skills and technical expertise required by modern business where decisions need to be made, measured and effectively communicated to the wider organisation.
Strategic Business Reporting – a new exam exposing students to the wider context of finance and business reporting, giving them the vital skills needed to explain and communicate to stakeholders the implications of transactions and reporting.
An Ethics and Professional Skills module – making modifications to the existing ethics module, which ACCA was the first professional body to offer to students in 2008. This new module will equip them with the professional skills that are needed in the modern workplace.
Added to these developments, ACCA also offers the world’s first Master’s degree integrated with a professional accountancy qualification, delivered in partnership with the University of London.
This unique arrangement means students can take the Master’s route while completing their Strategic Professional exams, or take the Master’s degree after the ACCA Qualification.
Helen Brand added that the new emphasis for the qualification is a major step forward for the future of accountancy:
‘These developments are a significant evolution to our qualification which reflects the changing role of accountancy professionals in the 21st century.
Increasingly, accountants are called upon to demonstrate that they are strategic forward-thinkers as they play senior executive roles in business.
‘As an organisation with a reputation for innovation, vision and leadership in the profession, we’ve responded accordingly with a qualification that offers the complete and essential blend of technical and ethical accounting competencies mixed with strategic leadership and professional skills required to turn students into the confident, inspiring and trusted business partners that employers need.’
Helen Brand emphasised the thoroughness and rigour of ACCA in planning the changes, emphasising that ACCA’s stakeholders will continue to play a part in how the qualification is delivered in the future, adding:
‘Thorough and meticulous consultation and design testing with hundreds of members, employers, C-suite executives and students from around the world over a two year period helped us with these exciting developments to the qualification.
‘We’ve listened carefully to not just what current professionals and employers think are essential skills in the here and now, but we’ve also carefully considered what will be vital attributes in the professional accountants of the future, to 2020 and beyond.
‘We’ve incorporated the most relevant and forward-thinking skills into our exams. We will also provide the essential learning support to ensure our students achieve success in their exams and careers.’
Helen Brand also thinks that the qualification’s global focus places students at a significant advantage in the modern workplace:
‘The ACCA Qualification is the only professional accountancy qualification which combines local relevance with international best practice. This means that our members are able to work at the highest level in any industry in any sector. In a globalised world this unique feature offers a real edge and benefit to employers.
‘It also means that we can draw on the insight and expertise of members and stakeholders in maintaining the direct relevance of our qualification for the contemporary workplace.’
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