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Thinking ahead with accountants

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The ACCA which stands for Association of Chartered Certified Accountants was founded in 1904. It is the global professional accounting body offering the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification (ACCA). ACCA’s headquarters are in London with a principal administrative office in Glasgow. And it has circa 104 offices and centres in 52 countries.

The ACCA with members spanning the globe including Africa. And Africa hosted the second Africa Members’ Conference which is ACCA’s flagship event bringing together members of ACCA, industry experts and renowned global speakers with the theme; “The Evolution of
Finance: Africa Thriving In A Sociotechnomic Dispensation”; took place in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda from Monday 9, Wednesday 11, December 2019.

During her opening remarks, ACCA President Jenny Gu welcomed delegates by stating that ‘people often ask me for my views on future economic trends… I say that the most promise lies right here, in Africa. During his welcome speech by ACCA’s Director for Africa; Mr Jamil Ampomah stated that the 2019’s edition rested on the ACCA’S belief that the accountancy profession is adept at handling disruption and also a profession that is well equipped and skilful at identifying and handling present and future risks.

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Even though the profession thinks ahead, Mr Jamil Ampomah posited that like other professions, accountancy is not immune from disruptions socially, economically, technologically, politically. We are looking at the technical skills and knowledge necessary for the accounting profession to thrive; so he said.

There were several discussions and perspectives relating to the accounting profession during sessions at the Africa Members’ Conference. Sessions like cybersecurity and business disruption; the relevance of professional accountants in the future as drivers of industry; ethical leadership and managing dilemmas in the digital world; the power of digital: machine learning; leadership and collaborating for effective partnerships; fintech transforming the traditional world of finance; unlocking opportunities for gender diversity in finance. Others were leading in rapidly evolving times; SMEs thriving in disruptive times; finance and technology; family business; thriving in an era of connections and partnerships; positioning the audit function within a digital age (an African perspective).

The three-day summit delved into several facets disrupting or affecting the accountant profession with in-depth analysis from seasoned experts and thought-provoking questions from participants (accountants and non-accountants alike). From the Nigerian perspective, a large number of ACCA accredited members attended and partook during several sessions.

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The session on motivation was anchored by Nigeria’s Presidential aspirant in the 2019 Presidential election; Mr Fela Durotoye; who gave a steering speech on the second day (Tuesday, 10 December, 2019) where he spoke extensively on disruption needed in the accounting profession spearheaded by accountants. Mr Durotoye posited that “a wasted generation knocks out education from its school. A wasted generation knocks out value from its community.”

He informed the accountants that “your success is not enough, Africa must succeed. Your success isn’t enough, you must produce successors.” He went further to state that “a good generation doesn’t pass on to the next generation a problem that they should’ve solved. The next generation would’ve their one challenges to solve. We can be a generation that doesn't pass on generators to its next generation.”

The keynote speech by Dr Tererai Trent; founder of Terarai Trent International USA was by far the most thought-provoking speech during the three-day event where she talked about her trials, travails and triumphs.

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