Strategic measure applied:

Best Companies employee engagement index


Why we use this measure

It is a wide-ranging index that assesses how engaged and fulfilled our employees are, and enables us to identify those drivers that are likely to affect their contentment and motivation.

This is also a widely used framework for assessing employee engagement, which means we can benchmark our performance against leading employers.

Five-year performance Actuals Targets
2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2018-19
Best companies employee engagement score 643.8 (One to Watch status) 649.5 (One to Watch status) 654.3 (One to Watch status) 666.1 (1 Star status) 678.4 (1 Star status) 659.5 (1 Star status)

Based on 82.4% global response rate.

We’ve strengthened our Best Companies 1 Star status again in 2018-19, increasing our overall score by more than 12 points since last year, our largest year-on-year increase to date.

Seven of the eight factors that make up the Best Companies measures have increased, while the eighth measure, Giving Something Back, held steady. The scores also showed that people managers are held in ever higher regard, and we also saw solid improvements in the leadership and wellbeing measures.

Last year we shifted our emphasis to support a more transformational, everyday approach, and this has helped build a more effective and resilient culture.

In the coming year, we will be supporting our leaders in leading and managing change, through understanding what good change leadership looks like, key behaviours and comprehensive communication support.

The second focus will be further people management development, with particular emphasis on holding constructive conversations, creating a feedback culture and building trust.

Employee diversity


  • Female
  • Male


  • Female
  • Male

*Executive team and their direct reports (most senior 37 people in the organisation).

UK gender pay gap

ACCA’s mean gender pay gap for 2018 in the UK was 12.5% (8.8% in 2017) and the median gender pay gap was 13.3% (9.3% in 2017).

Although ACCA’s overall gender pay gap remains below the average national pay gap of 17.9%, both our mean and median pay gap figures have increased over the course of the year. Our analysis shows that the widening of the gap is mainly due to the changing demographics across the workforce over the relevant period. Executive team changes since the snapshot date of 5 August 2018 used for the gender pay data mean that senior management moved from being 80% male to gender balanced during the course of the year. In future years, this will therefore have an effect on the balance of senior management remuneration.

We’re committed to gaining a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the underlying reasons for our gender pay gap and are equally committed to taking action to address it. We see this as a key part of our holistic approach to diversity and a critical component in creating a balanced and inclusive workplace for employees.

Modern slavery act commitment

We are committed to acting ethically and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships.

We act on this commitment by implementing and enforcing effective systems and controls to ensure that modern slavery is not taking place in our organisation or in any of our supply chains.

We expect the same high standards from our suppliers, contractors and other business partners, and as part of our contracting process we include prohibitions against the use of forced, compulsory or trafficked labour or anyone held in slavery or servitude. We expect that our suppliers will hold their own suppliers to the same high standards.

Our Executive team has overall accountability for ensuring that our organisation complies with this policy and for monitoring its use and effectiveness, as well as the auditing of internal control systems and procedures.


Strategic measure applied:

a basket of customer service measures (calls answered within 20 seconds, call abandonment rate, emails answered within two days, web chats picked up within 30 seconds, web chat abandonment, online applications processed within three days, year-on-year improvement applications completed, member customer experience, student customer experience), which provides a rounded picture of overall customer service.

Five-year performance Actuals Targets
2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2018-19
Customer service Service Level Agreement (SLA) 97% 87% 88% 96% 94% 80%

Strong performance has been delivered across the elements that make up our basket of measures. This has been underpinned by three key areas of focus 2018-19:

Focus areas 2018-19 deliverables include
Greater partner focus
  • B2B portal introduced for employers and learning providers
  • Strategic partner account management
  • Improved financial processes, with 79% rating ACCA very highly in terms of ease of doing business.
Improvements for our members
  • Frequency of issuing member certificates
  • Refund process simplified, with a turnaround time down from ten to five days.
Enhance student and affiliate experience
  • Exemption and payment processes streamlined, including moving turnaround time on exemptions from 12 to five days
  • Data quality improvements, with 300,000 records now cleaned up through the process.


Strategic measure applied:

operating costs per student and member against benchmark, which shows the cost-effectiveness of ¬our service, compared with key competitors, and is taken as a proxy for the efficiency of our operations as a whole.

Five-year performance Actuals Targets
2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2018-19
Cost per student and member £254 £260 £247 £265 £262 £263


Strategic measure applied:

80% of digital experience service level agreements (SLAs) a basket of measures comprising website availability, website response time and digital customer satisfaction, and which provides time and quality metrics on our main digital services.

Five-year performance Actuals Targets
2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2018-19
Digital experience SLAs N/A 100% 91% 100% 92% 80.0%

In 2018-19, we continued to invest significantly in digital offerings, especially around the changes to the ACCA Qualifcation and our underlyng digital infrastructure. We’ve begun a multiyear programme to improve our core digital capabilities under a comprehensive transformation programme. Deliverables this year have included the launch of a mobile-friendly ACCA website; a new self-service B2B portal for key learning providers and employers that allows them to adminster student accounts in a more user-friendly way; a new HR management solution; and extensive upgrades to digital applications for our employees.