The memcom award for ‘Professional Body of the Year’ honours professional bodies who have gone above and beyond in their service to their members, the profession they represent and society as a whole. The 2019 winning organisation was the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the global body for professional accountants. A huge thanks to ACCA for sharing some key details from their winning submission in this article.
Key successes for the ACCA achieved in 2018 included the following: reaching a landmark 200,000 members; innovating their qualification with two new strategic modules; leading the debate around expectations of audit and defining the future of the profession through their professional insights. The memcom judging panel felt the ACCA had gone above and beyond in their efforts and outcomes and rightly deserved to take home one of the most widely contested memcom trophies…
“This organisation has been making good, steady progress in supporting their profession, particularly with regard to its professional qualifications. Impressive creative execution across all mediums. Demonstrated great broad global reach.”
ACCA’s clear strategy continues to be the catalyst for their success – to be #1 in developing the accountancy profession the world needs.
The organisation maintains five core values – accountability, diversity, innovation, integrity and opportunity – and they endeavour to apply these to all they do.
ACCA’s mission is to be a global leader in the profession by:
• providing opportunity and open access to people of ability wherever they are in the world
• supporting and promoting the highest ethical, governance and professional standards and advancing the public interest.
The drivers for success
a) Growth and demand – a year of sustainable growth and meeting market demand
- record level of satisfaction from members and students
- highest level ever recorded employer satisfaction
- increase in member and student numbers, continuing to strengthen presence on the global stage. The community of students and members is one of the largest and most diverse in the world
b) Meeting market demand globally
- numerous key partnerships around the world with MoUs (memorandums of understanding) enabling collaboration to build/sustain economies and supplying the right accountancy talent to do this
Diversity and inclusion / Inspiring the next generation
a) Celebrating and connecting 200,000 ACCA members
ACCA also won ‘Best member engagement strategy’ at the 2019 memcom membership excellence awards. The 200K ACCA member campaign used a landmark event to engage and celebrate with members around the world for a whole year with the aim of celebrating each and every member and the 200,000 opportunities the ACCA Qualification has provided them. A member wall was built – both a physical transportable wall (which visited 21 countries across every continent) and a virtual online one too – listing all ACCA’s members’ names. The wall visited their markets worldwide from Australia to Canada and everywhere in between. With the online wall, members could find their name and also comment on how proud they are to be a member – they received over 2,500 messages from members this way. The campaign shared the ACCA story with members, tapping into a ‘feel good factor’, deepening engagement and engendering a sense of pride and community.
b) Inspiring the next generation
ACCA’s Mentoring Programme was introduced to inspire and support the next generation of accountants. Launched in September 2018 as a pilot in 6 countries – Hong Kong, Ireland, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, and UK – it uses the power of the global member network to build connections between mentees and mentors – some 3000 members registered since launch and nearly 2300 mentees.
Public Interest Contribution
ACCA must deliver public value – acting in the public interest, promoting ethical business, and supporting economic growth. This involves contributing to public/political debate and concerns about the profession and especially audit. Over 2018, and into the New Year of 2019, questions were being asked about the market dominance of the Big 4 global firms and potential conflicts of interest. Proactive in this space, the ACCA submitted policy views to government consultations: the Competition and Markets Authority’s Statutory audit services market study and the Kingman Independent Review of the Financial Reporting Council.
ACCA was clear to assert that audit has immense value to business and the wider economy by supporting trust and confidence in companies’ financial statements, and therefore the effectiveness of capital markets in raising capital. In the wake of several recent high-profile corporate failures, it was clear that change was needed. The ACCA engaged the public to gauge their understanding of the role and responsibility of the profession and audit, leading the debate with key media relations work.
Raising standards of the profession
a) The evolution of the ACCA Qualification: relevant, innovative and successful
Organisations know and trust ACCA’s designation, secured through the ACCA Qualification, and relevant work experience. The organisation continues with trailblazing change to ensure its relevance now and in the future. In September 2018 they introduced the new Strategic Professional level of the ACCA Qualification comprising Strategic Business Leader – an innovative case study; and Strategic Business Reporting that gives students the skills to confidently speak the language of business to a wide variety of stakeholders. These changes are centred around the ACCA’s 7 skills for success which are both technical and ethical: Intelligence (IQ); Creative (CQ); Digital (DQ); Emotional intelligence (EQ); Vision (VQ); Experience (XQ). They even created a test for people to test their quotients online.
b) Raising standards through governance, regulation and oversight
ACCA is determined to go beyond its Royal Charter obligations in working in the public interest. Their commitment to standards, ethics, reputation and regulation fulfils their core value of integrity to ensure accountancy remains a respected profession. Activities cover standards and ethics and the licensing of practitioners. Effective regulation promotes confidence in markets and benefits the accountancy profession. To highlight this, they publish an Annual Report on Regulation which showcases clearly how they conduct this important work to uphold the standards of the profession.
c) Influential thought leadership
ACCA’s Professional Insights team leads a comprehensive thought leadership programme. The insights are shared with members and wider through reports, articles, videos and high-profile events.
Helen Brand OBE, ACCA’s chief executive said about winning the awards:
‘It’s really pleasing that our work to champion the profession and build ACCA’s reputation has been recognised through these memcom awards. ACCA works in partnership with its members, future members and partners and it’s the power of these strong connections that have enabled us to win these awards – we could not do it alone. Many thanks to the memcom judges for considering our submissions, and for recognising our impact.’