CFOs working in
the East and West have very different and clearly defined
aspirations, as eastern countries attempt to catch up with Western
practice methods, according to the findings of a report launched by
CIMA at World Congress of Accountants in Malaysia earlier this
The report, Accounting Trends
in a Borderless World, questioned 5,000 senior professionals, from
SMEs to MNCs, and set out to reveal how accountants are spending
their time, what they should do and what they would like to do on a
The report reveals that
accountants practicing in the east – geographically defined as Asia
– spend the majority of their time on accounting
“What they [in the East] want
to be doing is what we classify as management accounting, such as
budgeting and forward-looking work. Accountants in the east are
very hungry to expand their portfolio of work and take on more
strategic roles,” CIMA’s Naomi Smith told The
In contrast, the report found
that, on the whole, management accountants working in the West –
primarily made up of markets in UK, Australia, New Zealand and
North America – already carry out much of this work and would
rather focus on expanding their portfolio of tasks.
“Accountants in the west
would like to be doing management support, which takes the job
further”, Smith said, before adding that in the west there is a
strong tendency towards cost leadership.
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According to Smith,
accountants in the East have performed well over the last few years
and are hot on the heels of those in Western countries.
They are also prepared to
make the move towards more sophisticated practice
“In China, where the
government is trying hard to privatise a lot of state owned
enterprises, management accountants are perfectly well positioned
to handle those structures in the move over,” she said.
This growth and development could however be hindered
unless accountants are allowed more time to take on strategic roles
in an organisation, Smith warned.