Over the past three years, we’ve been on a journey to create the most up-to-date, future-focused professional accountancy qualification in the global marketplace.

Ngoni Alex Robbins FCCA, Premier Business School

Ensuring relevance

Over the past three years, we’ve been on a journey to create the most up-to-date, future-focused professional accountancy qualification in the global marketplace.

That commitment to meeting the future needs of employers and the marketplace has seen us introduce ground-breaking advances in how, and what, we examine.

Following on from introduction of the Ethics and Professional Skills Module last year, we launched Strategic Professional – the new final stage of the ACCA Qualification – in September 2018. The key advances in Strategic Professional comprise:

  • the introduction of Strategic Business Leader, our trailblazing innovative case study which features the real-world challenges future professional accountants will face. To successfully complete it, students have to demonstrate strategic thinking and leadership that draws on their ethical judgment, technical and professional skills and present their responses in the way that would be expected in the workplace. It therefore equips our students with the work-ready skills employers need, and prepares them to become the leaders of the future
  • Strategic Business Reporting, our enhanced corporate reporting exam which delivers the vital skills needed to communicate the implications of transactions and reporting, taking the qualification’s holistic view of reporting to new levels
  • a choice of four option exams, as previously – Advanced Financial Management, Advanced Taxation, Advanced Performance Management, and Advanced Audit and Assurance – from which students select the syllabuses most relevant to their current or future career. To provide even more flexibility, students can now take the exams at Strategic Professional in any order they choose.

We also continued to roll out computer-based exams (CBE) for the Applied Skills level to reflect the digital world our students and members operate in and have withdrawn paper exams across 65 markets. We’re planning to complete this move to CBE for the Applied Skills exams globally by July 2019.

To strengthen the link between our ACCA Qualification changes and our post-qualification offerings, this year we’ve also aligned our competency framework and our CPD offering to these developments and our seven professional quotients.

In order to support the marketplace in embedding these changes, we’ve continued with our extensive global programme of learning support, delivering a wide range of support to drive tutor confidence and knowledge and working more closely and collaboratively with our global network of learning providers. We’ve also actively encouraged self- study students to engage with learning provision – either through partners or with the resources available directly from ACCA – so they are informed, motivated and supported.


Further digital advances for 2019-20

In Q1 of 2019-20, we’ll be introducing further changes to reflect the impact of digital advances on the profession. These include:

  • two new technical performance objectives, PO21 - Business Advisory and PO22 – Data analytics and decision support, that will allow students to reflect the developing scope of work carried out by finance professionals in each of these areas
  • a new Data Analytics unit as part of our Ethics and Professional Skills Module to support the increasing need for professional accountants to be able to analyse big data and communicate their findings.


Ensuring integrity

ACCA’s Regulatory Board provides independent oversight of all ACCA’s public interest functions – including setting qualifications, assuring their delivery, setting professional standards, and maintaining the licensing and disciplinary system. As part of this, the integrity of the ACCA Qualification is overseen by a Qualifications Board – assuring the quality of examinations with expert advice, upholding the integrity of the examinations, and monitoring the introduction of computer-based examinations and the new ACCA Qualification. The further sub Boards of the Appointments Board and the Standards Board have responsibility for safeguarding the integrity of ACCA’s disciplinary and regulatory process and ensuring ACCA’s Rulebook is compliant with ACCA’s statutory obligations respectively.

In a number of markets – including the UK, Ireland, the EU and Zimbabwe – ACCA has the legal authority directly to license and regulate its members to work in a number of regulated areas, including public practice and insolvency. This direct statutory recognition obliges ACCA to fulfil certain requirements determined by government or an independent regulator. These requirements typically include a commitment to regulate and adhere to standards of education, training or practical experience, public practice training, monitoring and discipline.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is currently the prime regulator of the accountancy profession in the UK and therefore arguably the source of ACCA’s authority as a global provider of accountancy qualifications. The FRC confirms and determines ACCA’s on-going status in the UK as a recognised qualifying body and a recognised supervisory body for statutory audit.

All these mechanisms help ensure the integrity of ACCA’s qualification processes and safeguard public trust in the professionalism of our members and their work.



Working with learning providers

— Ngoni Alex Robbins FCCA,
Premier Business School

Premier Business School (PBS) in Harare is an Approved Learning Provider that ACCA has been working closely with over the past 12 months. It is one of just seven ACCA Platinum Approved Learning Providers in Africa and the only one in Zimbabwe.

As a market leader, PBS has been quick to embrace the ACCA Qualification changes and has seen impressive results from its efforts. It was the first ACCA learning provider to implement an e-campus and to deliver blended learning in Africa. The genesis of these developments was a presentation given by SKANS, an ACCA Platinum Approved Learning Provider from Pakistan, as part of ACCA’s 2018 Africa Learning Providers Conference. PBS has since linked up with SKANS to design its own online learning platform for the Africa market.

‘One of the main challenges for ACCA students in Africa is access to high-quality tuition’ explains Ngoni Alex Robbins, director at PBS. ‘We know that students who can get the right calibre of learning support across the ACCA Qualification perform better. The learning infrastructure in Africa is less well-developed compared to other regions and we are talking about serving a vast continent and a huge population.

Online is a scalable solution to that issue, delivered in a way that’s cost effective for students.’

In January 2019, PBS continued its development by opening a state-of-the-art new facility in Harare’s central business district, including 30 terminals for students to use for ACCA’s sessional computer-based exams.

Among PBS’s many achievements, it was the only learning provider globally and across Africa to achieve a 100% pass rate in ACCA’s first Strategic Business Leader case study exam in September 2018.