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The Future of Accountancy

River Thames, London

We recently attended the Future of Accountancy conference at London’s Southbank University, joining key figures from the world of accounting education to discuss what the future may have in store for our industry. Against a backdrop of fast paced change, not only is it important that these conversations are taking place but that we, as a tuition provider, are present to consider how we will need to react in the years to come.

Although all sort of topics were covered across the day - from Brexit to blockchain - key themes that came up consistently were the needs of employers, the shifting ambitions and aspirations of the next generation, and the dynamic nature of the environment in which all stakeholders currently find themselves in. Of course, these will also impact the professional bodies and tuition providers such as Kaplan.

Challenging questions were asked as to what the future might bring, such as:

  • Will we still need financial statements in their current form, or could shareholders and governments not simply access accounting records directly?
  • Do we need changes in corporate reporting to help shareholders better understand how value is generated and sustained?
  • What is the value of trust in a business relationship? Is it not trust that wins contracts, generating cashflows leading to a more sustainable business?

Of course, professional bodies are not immune to change, as we’ve seen recently with the merger between CIMA and AICPA to create the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) or the way in which all of the bodies have had to respond quickly to the developments of the Level 7 Professional Accountant Apprenticeships.

Against a backdrop of increasing change and new challenges, professional bodies have to create an exam framework that will test the finance professionals of the future in subjects that will still be relevant 10 years from now, ensuring those who pass will be able to thrive in an uncertain world.

We weren’t able to touch upon how training providers such as Kaplan will be able to better teach these new subjects on the day, but we are seeing changes here as well.

It’s very encouraging to see a greater recognition of the importance of collaboration between the professional body, employer and tuition providers. Our expertise in the area of knowledge transfer and behavioural changes will be an essential component in creating better accountants of the future.

We can’t predict exactly what the future will have in store, but as a tuition provider we can join the conversations as we look to the future with imagination and scepticism, asking what changes might happen and how will we respond to them to ensure that we continue to train accountants for the challenges they will meet in the years ahead.