This year, we celebrated 75 years of ACCA’s thought leadership work. We’ve been proudly associated with championing emerging issues throughout our history – in particular sustainability and corporate social responsibility, wider corporate reporting, and global standards.

Ayla Majid FCCA, Managing director, Khalid Majid Rehman Chartered Accountants and ACCA Council member

To celebrate this milestone, we produced 25 new professional insights reports and outputs, running the gamut of our key themes for the profession’s future, including:


The digital CFO series with PwC: How to navigate risk and regulatory complexity and Grow and create competitive advantage

Embracing robotic automation during the evolution of Finance with CA ANZ and KPMG

Supporting the
global profession

The Sustainable Development Goals: redefining context, risk and opportunity across Africa

Tenets of good corporate governance

Social mobility and the public sector

Thinking small first: towards better auditing standards for the audits of less complex entities

Tax as a force for good: rebalancing our tax systems to support a global economy fit for the future

Technology tools and the future of tax administration

G20 public trust in tax: surveying public trust in G20 tax systems

Showcasing good practices in Public Financial Management

Scale-up success: what do SMEs need to supercharge their growth?

The passionate practitioner: developing the digitised small and medium practice

Global economics

Quarterly Global Economics Conditions Survey with IMA, the largest regular economic survey of accountants in the world

Growing globally – how SMPs can unlock international ambitions

Professional accountants
— the future

Business models of the future: systems, convergence and characteristics

Learning for the future

Emotional quotient in a digital age

Governance and risk

Governance needs of SMEs: how vision and strategy helps small business succeed

Each of the reports is mapped to ACCA’s professional quotients so that members and students can apply knowledge gained from engaging them effectively to their skills and capabilities development.

All these professional insights reports are freely available to members and other ACCA stakeholders on and promoted widely through conferences and events and ACCA’s digital and other media channels.

When it comes to the impact of ACCA’s thought leadership work, 75% of ACCA members, students and affiliates say that ACCA shapes the agenda of the global accountancy profession (up 0.2 percentage points over the past 12 months).

This year, 84% of employers we surveyed had engaged with ACCA’s professional insights in the past year and 81% agreed that they reflect the key business and finance issues they are facing (up 1 percentage point in the past year and 16 percentage point increase since 2016-2017). In addition, 84% of employers rate our insights as beneficial and 83% said our thought leadership work makes them feel more positively towards ACCA.


ACCA at the World Congress of Accountants 2018


The World Congress of Accountants (WCOA), organised by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) every four years, is the largest gathering of professional accountants in the world. In November 2018, over 6,000 people from over 130 countries converged in Sydney for the event, marking the 20th anniversary of this global conference for the profession.

ACCA was a gold sponsor of WCOA 2018, giving us the opportunity to demonstrate our leadership and showcase our research, including our joint initiatives with our strategic alliance partner, CA ANZ, to a global audience. The work and professional insights we showcased at WCOA included:

  • a new report on robotics process automation (RPA) and its implications for the finance function, produced in collaboration with CA ANZ
  • new research on the power and importance of developing emotional intelligence in a digital age, including an innovative emotional intelligence diagnostic tool
  • insights into learning for the future and how professional bodies can ensure knowledge transfer responds to the needs of the digital world and the expectations of today’s members and students. This report was formally launched at the International Association for Accounting and Research Conference, the global academic forum run alongside WCOA
  • a series of ‘10 talks’ held at our exhibition stand, ten minute power-sessions delivered by senior ACCA members and technical experts on the ten issues that matter most to the profession, now and in the future.


We were also joined by over 1,200 ACCA members from 90 countries at our exclusive ACCA reception. At the event, Alan Johnson FCCA, was confirmed as deputy president of IFAC, making him the first ACCA member to be elected to this post in IFAC’s history.

Ten talks at WCOA

— Ayla Majid FCCA

Ayla Majid FCCA, one of ACCA’s Council members based in Pakistan, was part of a small team that presented on our topical issues during the ten talks programme. Ayla’s own talk focused on the Belt and Road Initiative, outlining its scope, the countries impacted by its development, and how ACCA members can play a role in addressing the infrastructure gap and more widely – all in ten minutes.

‘Having the opportunity to highlight such a wide range of ACCA’s insights on our WCOA stand was very powerful’ says Ayla. ‘Because our members and other professional accountants receive so much information on emerging trends and technical developments, it can be challenging to keep up. Presenting the essential points on key issues in such a sharp and succinct way was really valuable for all sorts of people visiting the ACCA stand. It also provided a forum for Q&As from the audience on the practical applications of BRI for them.’

It was clear from the conversations Ayla had as a result that ACCA is genuinely leading in this field. ‘Some very senior people from countries not on the BRI route were new to the topic and had not come across it in other technical and thought leadership arenas. It was great for ACCA to be the one introducing them to this significant initiative – and to be speaking with them professional to professional.’

The talks were also highly impactful in promoting the ACCA brand more widely. ‘After the talks, we had members of other professional bodies asking how they could join ACCA, impressed by the value and relevance of our professional insights and how they can contribute to building the global profession.’

‘Having people being motivated to become an ACCA member themselves as a direct result of presentations on our thought leadership is great endorsement of the quality of the work.’