Contents Menu

Environment

Our global context

Our global marketplace and its outlook

Our ability to anticipate the future is critical to our success – and the success of our members, future members and partners. Our wide-ranging research on the future economic, professional and social landscape draws on the expertise across our global network. Through this, we’ve identified the main factors expected to have the greatest impact on the accountancy profession over two timelines – to 2025 and beyond 2025.

External factors with greatest impact to 2025

Development of intelligent automated accounting systems (including fintech and blockchain)

Threat

Disappearance of lower-level roles and skills

Opportunity

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

Threat

Challenges in forecasting and greater uncertainty for entities and individuals

Opportunity

Greater demand for analysis and interpretation skills to mitigate the threat
Broadening measurement and expectations of business value and demands of external stakeholders

Threat

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

Opportunity

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

Threat

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

Opportunity

Greater mobility and one clear language for the profession
Cloud computing

Threat

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

Opportunity

Unlimited virtual storage gives more entities and individuals greater competitive advantage
Different aspirations and expectations of next generations

Threat

Lack of appeal of traditional professions

Opportunity

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

From Professional accountants – the future global research (2016)

Addressing these medium-term factors has fed directly into our ACCA Qualification innovations such as the extension of computer-based exams, our Ethics and Professional Skills Module (launched in October 2017) and our Strategic Business Leader integrated case study exam (to be launched in September 2018). They are also informing our CPD offerings for members.

External factors with the greatest impact after 2025

Changes in direction for global governance and roles, and the influence of emerging global powers and regional and global institutions

Threat

The profession and its members fail to keep up with the changes, especially in relation to cross-border regulation and trade

Opportunity

If the profession works together, it can be instrumental in building a more connected and stable global financial system
Changing societal expectations and evolving scope and nature of the professional accountant’s role

Threat

If the profession fails to adapt, it risks becoming obsolete

Opportunity

Chance to reinvent the profession for a new age

From Professional accountants – the future global research (2016)

Thinking about the longer term, we’re starting to develop our Strategy to 2025. In 2018-19 we’ll be engaging again with ACCA’s global network as we analyse the trends that are most likely to shape our future.

The immediate economic outlook and our response

In 2017 there was strong growth in all the world's major economies and the outlook for 2018-19 remains promising. 

According to the latest World Economic Forum annual economic report, growth in China is set to slow slightly over the next year (but will still be comparatively strong) and the future looks bright for other emerging markets. India, with its government reforms and buoyant private consumption, seems likely to retain its spot as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Growth in the rest of Asia should also hold up well, with exports likely to be the main engine of growth. The outlook for developed markets is also broadly positive. Our global network and our continued investment in talent and infrastructure in markets will enable us to help sustain initiatives and create sustainability through financial capability and connections, especially in relation to international trade developments such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

We keep a watching brief on political developments that might affect ACCA. Our widespread market portfolio means risks around Brexit are somewhat mitigated, with the most significant threat being the potential of decreased regulatory recognition for UK professional bodies. We have, however, included risks around Brexit in our corporate risk register. As political tensions between Russia and the West intensify, we see no immediate threat to our ability to operate in the country but are alert to unfolding developments.

Our connected global network remains critical in anticipating what developments most affect our members and our partners and adapting to realise opportunities and manage challenges.

Learn how our connections help everyone

Since 1904, ACCA has forged powerful relationships – across countries, sectors, and our varied stakeholders – that have helped build a strong global profession.

Case studies