Our Global Context

Our global context

From the latest technology and political disruption, to shifting trends and new business demands, we live and work in a rapidly changing world. 

ACCA plays a vital role in thinking ahead, laying foundations for the future and helping members prepare for what’s to come.

Professional Accountants – the future (published in June 2016) is our largest ever global study into what is driving change and how it will impact on our members. Working with professional accountants and business leaders across 22 countries, we’ve been able to map out what’s expected in the next 3 to 10 years, and beyond. 

It’s helping us to identify the key factors likely to have the greatest impact on our profession. 

Factors expected to have the greatest impact in the profession in the next 3-10 years

Automation of accounting systems


Disappearance of lower-level roles and skills


Further movement of accounting professionals up the value chain
Rate of change and economic volatility


Challenges in forecasting and greater uncertainty for entities and individuals


Analysis and interpretation skills more needed, to mitigate the threat
Wider reporting requirements


The profession is too slow to adapt to the change or resists it entirely, with other professions taking this space


A wider and more valued role for professional accountants
Greater harmonisation of standards


More and wider choice of employees for organisations leading to increased competition


Greater mobility and one clear language of the profession
Cloud computing


Increased cyber and data security risk and inability of profession to adapt quickly enough to this


Unlimited virtual storage gives more entities and individuals greater competitive advantage
Aspirations and expectation of next generations


Lack of appeal of traditional professions


Chance to reshape the role of professional accountants for a new age

Factors expected to have the greatest impact in 2025 and beyond

Changing global powers and changes in the direction of global governance
Evolving scope and nature of the professional accountant’s role

How these factors play out nationally and regionally will vary. But one common theme is the sheer speed of change.

The past year alone has seen huge political shifts. The Brexit vote has created uncertainty in Europe both in freedom of movement and a weakening of Sterling. A new US president, meanwhile, has led to a new climate of protectionism and a change of policy on controlling global warming.

At the same time there’s greater cross-border collaboration through China’s Belt and Road initiative, with fresh investment in the many countries along this new Silk Route. 

ACCA’s global network will continue to play a vital role in forecasting change and its impact on our members, as well as spotting new opportunities and managing challenges.

Professional Quotients for future members

Our research has shown that the professional accountants of the future will need a range of technical knowledge and abilities, combined with interpersonal behaviours and qualities. We’ve identified these seven professional quotients for success:

  • Technical skills and ethics (TEQ):

    The skills and abilities to perform activities consistently to a defined standard while maintaining the highest standards of integrity, independence and skepticism.

  • Intelligence (IQ):

    The ability to acquire and use knowledge: thinking, reasoning and solving problems.

  • Creative (CQ):

    The ability to use existing knowledge in a new situation, to make connection, explore potential outcomes, and generate new ideas. 

  • Digital (DQ):

    The awareness and application of existing and emerging digital technologies, capabilities, practices and strategies. 

  • Emotional intelligence (EQ):

    The ability to identify your own emotions and those of other, harness and apply them to tasks, and regulate and manage them. 

  • Vision (VQ):

    The ability to anticipate future trends accurately by extrapolating existing trends and facts, and filling the gaps by thinking innovatively. 

  • Experience (XQ):

    The ability and skills to understand customer expectations, meet desired outcomes and create value. 

We used these findings to make changes to our ACCA Qualification. And we’ll continue to use them to develop and enhance our professional development offerings for our members.

Competition and collaboration

We know our members have a choice of professional accountancy body, wherever they may be. Member value – the lifetime benefit someone derives from choosing ACCA – is one of the most important factors in the strength of our brand.

The way we compete and share expertise is vitally important. We have invested to build our own difference in the global profession, and worked more closely with trusted partners who complement and amplify what ACCA does and stands for.