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in the world to choose ACCA

I was told ACCA would not be easy, but I’m very glad I did it.

Judith Fei FCCA CFO, Balmain Asia

Prestigious fashion label Balmain is world-renowned for its long history and pedigree, a favourite among the fashion set.  

A byword for luxury and style, it’s perhaps no wonder that Judith Fei, the group’s CFO for Asia, describes working for Balmain as her dream job.

She joined the company in 2012 and immediately felt right at home. Since then she’s seen wealth in China grow, creating a vibrant marketplace for high luxury brands, with demand soaring in cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Hangzhou.

Fast-paced and always evolving, the luxury fashion industry demands a clear head and quick decisions. 'Retail is a day-to-day operation,' says Judith, who is based in Hong Kong. 

'You can’t delay decisions for too long; you have to react quickly.'

Her first job after graduation from Nanjing Audit University was with PwC as a senior auditor. She hit the ground running – she gained her ACCA Qualification at university, completing all the exams within three years.

'I was told ACCA would not be easy, but I’m very glad I did it,' she says. 'It’s given me good returns and really accelerated my career development.'

Balmain first stores in Beijing and Shanghai were already established when she joined. Now the brand is growing even more. 'If you have high-quality goods, a special identity and are very stylish, there is a strong customer base,' adds Judith.

'We all love the brand and enjoy seeing the new designs come out each season.'

  • What this means in practice:

    Developing the ACCA Qualification so that it continues to provide the skills and professionalism demanded by employers globally in every sector and promoting ACCA through a vibrant and forward-looking brand.

  • Strategic measure:

    Number of students. 

  • Why we use this indicator:

    it shows our success in extending the appeal of our Qualification to the next generation and the strength of our membership pipeline.












Total students and affiliates








Year on year growth rate






Target not achieved



  • Key factors driving performance:

    Having achieved strong growth in 2015-16, we set a challenging growth target of 6.6% this year. While growth was delivered – with 103,566 new students recruited globally – it slowed to 1.2%.

    Most of this shortfall was on the recruitment side, with 17,069 fewer new students than targeted. Of this recruitment shortfall, 80% was across sub-Saharan Africa (and half of that from Nigeria alone, which suffered severe economic issues). Clearly, the regional economic situation and resultant currency affordability have been significant factors in the slowdown, but many of our markets have not reached the growth levels expected before the start of this year. Notable exceptions are UK, Ireland, India and Singapore which all delivered above-expected growth. China also delivered exceptional performance.

    Because of the changing make-up of our student prospects and the opportunities available to them, we are focused on creating the conditions for domestic – as well as global – success across our markets. On retention, we removed more students than originally expected, achieving 83% retention compared to the 85% targeted. We planned for a 0.5% year-on-year reduction but took additional action to remove students who either weren’t able or willing to progress in order to stabilise our student file. We are also analysing our approach to recruitment so we are better able to target those with the desire and ability to progress to membership.