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Chief Executive’s strategic report

At this halfway point in delivering Council’s current strategy, we’ve seen our strongest all-round performance towards our 2020 vision. We’ve continued to grow and, more importantly, increase our global market share, creating even greater visibility for ACCA and the contribution our members make to the world. 

Within a strong set of results, the increases we’ve seen in member and student satisfaction across the board are a particular highlight. Improved services and support – from our new online services, such as our redesigned Professional Insights hub, to improved and streamlined communications – have contributed directly to this. We’ve also included more regular feedback on how we’re performing and the strategic road ahead through online information sessions led by our Council members. While we’re heartened by increases in satisfaction, we want even more of our members to feel engaged with, and connected to, ACCA so delivering member value will remain an important focus for us in 2017-18. 

 

Making sure our members remain in demand throughout rapid change is one of our most important responsibilities. This year, we’ve not only mapped out the professional quotients members will need into the future, we’re also aligning and expanding CPD to meet these evolving expectations. Through this, we’re helping our members stay ahead in a fast-moving world. 

We’ve amplified our global influence even further through our ground-breaking strategic alliance with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ)

This year, we’ve drawn on the global input of our members and students to produce powerful and influential reports such as our Generation Next and 50 drivers of change in the public sector – research that is showing how we continue to think ahead on behalf of the whole profession. 

We’ve amplified our global influence even further through our ground-breaking strategic alliance with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ). This exciting partnership has resulted in impactful global research on public attitudes to tax across the G20 nations, a jointly branded corporate culture toolkit, and fresh support and opportunities for both our members. We’re proud to be working so closely and collaboratively with CA ANZ for the benefit of ACCA members and our entire profession – and look forward to leading thinking in the coming year.

A record 92% of employers told us that ACCA provides relevant skills for their business

The past 12 months were not without challenge. Like many organisations, our student pipeline was affected by economic conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, which accounted for 80% of our recruitment shortfall. Because our growth relies on taking market share – rather than manufacturing demand – this inevitably meant we did not hit our ambitious student growth targets. 

More significantly, we’d like to see more of our students complete their journey to membership. As a result, we have specific initiatives around sustainable recruitment policy and integrated learning support we’ll be delivering in 2017-18 and beyond. While our policy of open access means that we will inevitably always see some attrition, we’re acutely aware of the need to meet our obligations as a leading professional body – making sure that every student we recruit is informed, motivated and supported to become qualified members. Our global move to four exam sessions a year has provided added opportunity to progress and it’s been pleasing to see how well this has been received. It’s a major shift in the market and we know that we still need to work on bedding this in fully. 

But we also know from employers that the changes we’re making are those the market wants. It was great to learn that – in our latest employer survey – 61% of employers feel even more favourable towards ACCA as a result of the innovations we’ve announced. With a record 92% of employers telling us that ACCA provides relevant skills for their business (up 4%) and 92% describing ACCA as a world-class organisation (up 2%), we’re already in a fantastic position. Employees across ACCA continue to work hard and with passion and commitment to make sure we are this genuinely world-leading organisation. The rolling programme of office upgrades we initiated in 2016, which included our move to a new global operational centre in Glasgow last November, are an important part of giving those who serve our members and students the tools they need to deliver excellent services and results. And, as we pursue this, all of us continue to draw huge inspiration from the ACCA members who are living our values and making a difference.

So, on behalf of everyone who works for ACCA, thank you to every single member for the part you play in shaping ACCA’s future and the future of the profession.

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Helen Brand OBE
Chief Executive