HR Indaba Africa 2018: The ACCA has been contributing to the accounting profession since 1904

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) offers an alternative route to qualifying as an accountant, among other things.

With only a few weeks left before the inaugural HR Indaba, the anticipation from partners is palpable. In this article, we speak to the Patience Semenya, head of the ACCA, about why she is looking forward to the event.

What is the ACCA and how long has it been around?

“At ACCA, we believe that accountancy is vital for economies to grow and prosper, which is why we work globally, since 1904, to build the profession – as well as to make society fairer and more transparent. Worldwide, we have more than 208 000 fully qualified members and 503 000 student members, that are among the world’s best-qualified and most sought-after accountants. We believe that we’re the world's most forward-thinking professional accountancy body. Our core values include diversity, accountability, integrity, and creating opportunity. From being the first accountancy body to admit women members In 1909 to doubling the number of exam sessions we run in 2016, we’re proud to be pioneers in the field.

“Organisations know and trust the ACCA designation. Our members work across every sector imaginable, and we work on connecting with businesses of all sizes, the public sector, educational establishments, and influential industry leaders. We stay abreast of emerging trends, legislation and legal requirements, and participating in helping to shape these. Through this, we’re able to create the innovative, strategic-thinking accountants geared to thrive in a fast-changing world.”

How do you differentiate yourselves from other accounting professional bodies?

“The world is changing at a rapid pace and professional accountants must keep up to stay relevant. We’re committed to developing dynamic professional accountants who are strategic forward-thinkers, accountants who thrive in a world of near-constant flux, digitisation, and globalisation. We've developed a model covering the skills and qualities needed from the successful professional accountant in a changing, challenging, digital world. There are seven skill areas – what we call ‘quotients’ – that ACCA believe are essential to the evolving profession. They are:` 

  • Technical and ethical (TEQ): The skills and abilities to perform activities to a defined standard, while maintaining the highest standards of integrity, independence and scepticism.
  • Intelligence (IQ): The ability to acquire and use knowledge: thinking, reasoning, solving problems and the ability to understand and analyse situations that are complex and ambiguous.
  • Creative (CQ): The ability to use existing knowledge in a new situation, to make connections, explore potential outcomes and generate new ideas.
  • Digital (DQ): The awareness and application of existing and emerging digital technologies, capabilities, practices, strategies and culture.
  • Emotional intelligence (EQ): The ability to identify your own emotions and those of others, harness and apply them to tasks, and regulate and manage them.
  • Vision (VQ): The ability to anticipate future trends accurately by extrapolating existing trends and facts, and filling the gaps by thinking innovatively/
  • Experience (XQ): The ability and skills to understand customer expectations, to meet desired outcomes and to create value.
  • “Off the back of this research, we redesigned the professional level of the ACCA qualification, to be as relevant as possible, so that ACCA professionals continue to be valued and sought-after. In September 2018, we introduced the Strategic Business Leader – an innovative case study. In this, real-world scenarios are used to set challenges that require students to blend technical, professional and ethical skills in the evaluation and presentation of their responses. Additionally, the new Ethics and Professional Skills module (which will be available from 31 October) is designed to increase your employability. It develops the full spectrum of advanced ethical and professional skills by exposing you to realistic business situations. And it is through the integration of these ethical and professional skills with the technical knowledge that will prepare you for the strategic professional exam.”

Why have you signed up for the HR Indaba and what should attendees look forward to seeing from you at the event?

“ACCA is participating at HR Indaba as it is a fantastic platform to engage with HR professionals across various industries. It will also give us an opportunity to drive engagement and thought leadership on the future of the accounting profession through our panel discussion, entitled: ‘Unlocking barriers for finance and accounting scarce skills and occupations in high demand for economic growth and development” Transformation and positive change are challenges that faces the Finance sector, we will be interrogating some of the barriers that disables the sector to embrace change and transformation, the impact on the economy and mostly how this impacts organisational development and strategic HR management.

What would you say is the biggest challenge facing the HR profession?

“I would say, in the light of artificial intelligence and technology developments,  keeping abreast of the human capital aptitude and calibre required by organisations in order for them to thrive, it is big challenge for the profession.”