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April 29, 2015

April’s leadership picks: Helen Brand, ACCA

By Loukia Gyftopoulou

The news of the month through the eyes of industry leaders

The Accountant asked the heads of UK global accountancy bodies to select some news stories that caught their eye this month, and these were their picks:

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) chief executive Helen Brand picked two quite distinct stories for this month’s top news.

The first was a piece run by The Guardian on whether free online courses can help everyday people hone the much-needed skill of financial literacy.

According to the article, being financially literate is key to a nation’s economic health and a vital tool against inequality and poverty.

"Having launched our own, ACCA-X, last month, I’m a little biased, but I think they are a vital way of bringing the basics of finance to the masses," Brand said.

The ACCA’s new venture, ACCA-X, is a series of digital accounting courses launched earlier this month, with the ultimate goal to inspire people to enter the world of professional accountancy.

Recent studies, The Guardian explains, have revealed low financial literacy levels among American teenagers and adults. Only 17 states require high school students to sign up for personal finance courses and a mere six demand that students be tested on financial aptitude.

"We know financial literacy helps people make better choices at work and at home, so ensuring this knowledge is accessible to all can only be a good thing," Brand added.

Brand’s second choice was a light-hearted Financial Times op-ed by Michael Skapinker exploring job dissatisfaction in a range of professions, including financial services professionals such as bankers, brokers or asset managers.

It seems a great number of employees in the industry complain about various aspects of their jobs, such as the long hours, the pay or even their colleagues.

Some of them complain about "greedy senior managers only interested in protecting their own privileges" as reported by Skapinker.

"I know as well as anyone how rewarding a career in finance can be," Brand said, "but for those who feel like a change, it’s worth remembering that professional qualifications are in demand across the whole business, not just in finance!"

Helen Brand’s picksCould free online courses improve financial literacy? The Guardian, 10 April 2015By Alison Moodie

Bankers, doctors and teachers: stop moaning over job satisfactionFinancial Times, 15 April 2015By Michael Skapinker

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