The Association of Chartered Certified
Accountants (ACCA) has adopted ‘accountants in business’ as its
global theme for 2009-10.
ACCA director of technical policy and research
Steve Priddy told The Accountant there is generally a good
understanding of accountants who work in practice, but less
understanding of how accountants fit into the business life
“We decided that we would take that as the
theme to try to point to some of the areas where the accountant as
the professional adds value to business generally,” Priddy
There has never been a more crucial time for
accountants to show their value in business than the present,
“Over the last 18 months, as a systemic
banking collapse has evolved into significant worldwide recession
in many countries, a range of presumptions about accounting,
organisations and society will be questioned. We believe that the
role of the accountant will emerge into a golden age as a champion
of sustainable value in business,” he said.
Priddy said there has been a “resounding”
message from surveys conducted around the world recently that the
CFO is valued more highly now than it was a year ago.
This increased regard equates to added
pressure and more expectation that CFOs must be focused
simultaneously on the present and the future.
“The CFO not only must have an iron grip on
the present, but must also have an input into, and be a key part
of, scenario modelling, stress testing, looking at whether the
business model is a sensible business model that will be around in
five years or not,” Priddy explained.
There have been a number of guidance pieces
the ACCA has released that tackle immediate short-term issues CFOs
might be facing. This includes advice on cash flow management, on
how best to keep the books and the controls that should be in
place. Risk management has also been identified by CFOs as an area
needing more focus.
“I think what the banking crisis has shown is
that so many people’s risk models in the banking sector assumed
normal distribution, assumed that they were spreading risk,
diversifying risk, when actually they were all in the same boat.
They were all correlating in the same place and as a result the
almost unthinkable happened,” Priddy said.
“I think that has made CFOs especially think
about risk management. We have really got to spend more time on
that and make sure we are up to date with the training, the latest