8

Stakeholder engagement and materiality

We actively manage a range of key stakeholder relationships, recognising that our success and sustainability depends on their input and involvement.

As part of our work on the strategy to 2025, we have developed updated value propositions for all our stakeholders in order to maintain a strong focus on meeting their different needs.

Our stakeholders

Members

Members

We support members’ career success by using our global voice to build the forward-thinking and ethical reputation of ACCA. Our cutting-edge insights and continuous learning keep them ahead, and our global community opens doors to new opportunities including connections with fellow professionals, employers and forward thinkers.

Future Members (ACCA students and affiliates*)

Future members

We open doors to an exciting range of career opportunities through in-demand qualifications that give our future members a competitive edge. We help them succeed by connecting them to each other and to our wider global community that includes influential and supportive employers, educators, mentors, members and forward thinkers.

Employers

Employers

We partner with organisations, helping them access and grow the finance talent they need to succeed through our trusted forward-looking qualifications and continuous learning. Our cutting-edge business and technical insights keep them ahead, and our global community opens doors to new opportunities including connections with ACCA professionals, new talent, potential partners and forward thinkers.

Educators

Educators

We enhance business opportunities for educators through our in-demand qualifications. We help them succeed, encouraging and recognising quality, and co-create innovative solutions with them for today and tomorrow. We open doors to new opportunities through our community, including connections with employers, future members, forward thinkers and other educators.

Governments and regulators

Governments and regulators

We openly share our expertise, bringing a global perspective to national challenges to assist governments and regulators in developing policies that build strong, thriving societies. Our relevant qualifications develop future-ready people with the capabilities vital to economic growth. We help them prepare for the future, by connecting them to our technical and policy insights and community of policy makers, business leaders and forward thinkers.

Employees

Employees

We offer the opportunity to be part of a dynamic organisation that makes a difference to societies around the world. We nurture forward thinkers who live our values and embrace the diverse perspectives of our global community, working together to create exciting solutions. We invest in our people, helping them grow, and reward them for their role in delivering our vision.

International organisations

International organisations

We’re driven by our vision to build the accountancy profession the world needs. We recognise how financial skills and capabilities create trust, boost economic development and improve living standards. We bring a global perspective, extensive expertise in developing qualifications, and experience of shaping and implementing international standards. We work with nations and international organisations to create sustainable, long-term solutions that develop the profession.

The public

Thep ublic

ACCA-trained people support individuals, businesses and organisations in making good decisions and doing the right thing. We build public trust by creating an inclusive profession with people from all backgrounds, bound by a code of ethics and committed to updating their skills to meet ever-changing needs.

Suppliers

Suppliers

We rely on a number of key suppliers and providers to deliver services and support, particularly IT services and our international examining network.

*Affiliates are students who have completed all ACCA’s examinations but have yet to apply for membership, most commonly because they are still working towards the practical experience requirement.

How we create value for them

We support members’ career success by using our global voice to build the forward-thinking and ethical reputation of ACCA. Our cutting-edge insights and continuous learning keep them ahead, and our global community opens doors to new opportunities including connections with fellow professionals, employers and forward thinkers.

How we engage with them

We have a network of member panels across the world, which bring members together and allow them to feed into our strategy and governance, both independently and via ACCA’s International Assembly. Our Council, which is our main governance body, is composed entirely of elected ACCA members.

We engage and inform members through regular communications, including our monthly Accounting and Business magazine, email campaigns and quarterly seminars delivered by Council members, and connect members to opportunities through our global ACCA Careers online jobs portal.

How we create value for them

We open doors to an exciting range of career opportunities through in-demand qualifications that give our future members a competitive edge. We help them succeed by connecting them to each other and to our wider global community that includes influential and supportive employers, educators, mentors, members and forward thinkers.

How we engage with them

In addition to what is delivered through our learning providers, we have built up a wide range of student and affiliate qualification support and services, such as our ACCA learning community, free webinars and digital support, including an online mentoring programme. We connect students and affiliates to opportunities through our global ACCA Careers online jobs portal. We also engage in-market with students and affiliates to offer targeted, face-to-face support.

Our investment in closer working relationships and support for learning providers, working in partnership with them to support local market needs, also directly benefits students. This has helped us develop significant additional offerings around digital support and study resources.

How we create value for them

We partner with organisations, helping them access and grow the finance talent they need to succeed through our trusted forward-looking qualifications and continuous learning. Our cutting-edge business and technical insights keep them ahead, and our global community opens doors to new opportunities including connections with ACCA professionals, new talent, potential partners and forward thinkers.

How we engage with them

We have dedicated employees around the world who manage our relationships with employers in-market and ensure there is two-way dialogue between ACCA and the employers we serve. We also survey key employers globally every year on their satisfaction with, and perceptions of, ACCA, and act on these findings.

How we create value for them

We enhance business opportunities for educators through our in-demand qualifications. We help them succeed, encouraging and recognising quality, and co-create innovative solutions with them for today and tomorrow. We open doors to new opportunities through our community, including connections with employers, future members, forward thinkers and other educators.

How we engage with them

Senior employees around the world manage our relationships with learning providers and ensure there is two-way dialogue. We also hold regular global and regional conferences for ACCA learning providers, and survey them at least annually on their perceptions of ACCA’s brand and the service and support we provide for them.

Following our programme of ACCA Qualification change, we have worked more closely than ever with our learning providers, through an active programme of support – including global training for ACCA tutors across the world – and closer collaboration on business initiatives. We also have a dedicated support section for learning providers on our website.

How we create value for them

We openly share our expertise, bringing a global perspective to national challenges to assist governments and regulators in developing policies that build strong, thriving societies. Our relevant qualifications develop future-ready people with the capabilities vital to economic growth. We help them prepare for the future, by connecting them to our technical and policy insights and community of policy makers, business leaders and forward thinkers.

How we engage with them

These relationships have dedicated relationship management within ACCA at a national, regional or global level.

How we create value for them

We offer the opportunity to be part of a dynamic organisation that makes a difference to societies around the world. We nurture forward thinkers who live our values and embrace the diverse perspectives of our global community, working together to create exciting solutions. We invest in our people, helping them grow, and reward them for their role in delivering our vision.

How we engage with them

We run an extensive programme of internal engagement and support including skills and culture training, wellbeing support and other development. We have developed a range of services and support for our global employee community including a social intranet, digital collaboration tools and more formal forms of sharing, such as an annual global virtual conference, town halls twice a year with the chief executive and executive directors, and a monthly briefing from the chief executive.

Employee engagement and satisfaction is measured through a global survey, which will become more frequent in 2020-21, as well as shorter snapshot surveys of sentiment.

How we create value for them

We’re driven by our vision to build the accountancy profession the world needs. We recognise how financial skills and capabilities create trust, boost economic development and improve living standards. We bring a global perspective, extensive expertise in developing qualifications, and experience of shaping and implementing international standards. We work with nations and international organisations to create sustainable, long-term solutions that develop the profession.

How we engage with them

We have a dedicated team within our Markets directorate, devoted to ACCA’s contribution to the development of the global accountancy and finance profession, through capacity building, best practice sharing and building partnerships with national, regional and global bodies.

How we create value for them

ACCA-trained people support individuals, businesses and organisations in making good decisions and doing the right thing. We build public trust by creating an inclusive profession with people from all backgrounds, bound by a code of ethics and committed to updating their skills to meet ever-changing needs.

How we engage with them

Outreach is achieved through media and ACCA’s public communication channels, including our website and our social media accounts.

How we create value for them

We rely on a number of key suppliers and providers to deliver services and support, particularly IT services and our international examining network.

How we engage with them

All key suppliers have dedicated relationship management at a team, directorate, market office or global level, depending on the scope and nature of the supplier arrangement.

*Affiliates are students who have completed all ACCA’s examinations but have yet to apply for membership, most commonly because they are still working towards the practical experience requirement.

Since adopting integrated reporting in 2011, we’ve consulted annually with stakeholders across a range of markets on the content and presentation of our integrated report. This has been an iterative process that has enabled us to build a picture of how our reporting can best address readers’ needs while also meeting the requirements of the international <IR> framework.

Our material issues

Our material issues have been arrived at through detailed analysis of the profession and key global competitors, and are reviewed annually for relevance against our strategy and the external environment.

This year, we have undertaken a more comprehensive process of reviewing and updating, using our work on the 10 disruptors in the future and our professional insights work on professional accountancy careers in the coming decade, alongside a review of competitor reporting and key pieces of external research on global risks and issues. The language of the descriptors has also been refreshed and updated, to match that used in our strategy to 2025.

Together with this validation and sense-checking, we also looked to see where we could potentially reduce the number of issues, either by combining or challenging whether they were still relevant.

As a result, we’ve reduced the list of material issues from 21 last year to 18 this year.

2020 relevant matters

1

A customer-centric organisation

We will put customer needs at the centre of our decision-making and be able to respond quickly to stakeholders’ changing needs.

2

ACCA’s global presence

Our footprint; number of countries we operate in; network of national offices; access to international networks; and strength of our communities.

3

Acting for public good

Promoting responsible and ethical conduct in the accountancy profession. Supporting economic growth by building capacity where it is most needed in the profession worldwide.

4

Agile, innovative and motivated workforce

Recruiting and developing people and teams that are adaptable, ready and eager to embrace new thinking and technology, and deliver solutions at speed.

5

Attractiveness, relevance and integrity of the ACCA Qualification

Ensuring the ACCA Qualification remains fit for purpose; applying uniform global standards in qualification requirements; continuous improvement and innovation; products that are of relevance to students, members and employers, thereby increasing employability prospects.

An accessible and flexible qualification that provides a broad range of skills and the ethical compass demanded by employers in every sector around the world. Innovative, market-leading assessment and learning support, enhancing the flexibility and relevance of our qualification through technological solutions, which maintain or improve the rigour and security of assessments and provide the student with an online experience.

6

Best-in-class digital capabilities and infrastructure

Keeping pace with digital developments across our operations; proactive, responsive and efficient delivery through our digital capabilities. Single source of truth for data that drives effective decision-making; speedy, flexible, flawless and reliable service; and technology-enabled infrastructure. Awareness and combating of cyber threats, including digital privacy and data protection.

7

Brand recognition

Being recognised as #1 in developing the accountancy profession the world needs. Shaping the future of the accountancy profession and enabling individuals and organisations to unlock their potential. Brand value, media recognition and share of media voice in different markets. Reshaping what it means to be an accountant as the guidance role grows – it is about insight, professionalism and ethics.

8

Creating inclusion

Providing opportunity and open access to all people of ability throughout the world; no artificial barriers to entry; access to high-quality learning for all, providing options for individuals to gain relevant skills that reflect the changing nature of the accountancy profession to the level they require.

9

Effective internal governance and compliance

High standards of corporate governance and accountability; effective compliance with policies and legislation; effective internal audit and corporate assurance, including anti-corruption; speed of response to changing environments and legislation.

10

Environmental sustainability of ACCA’s operations

Promoting environmental sustainability in our operations and in our supply chain.

11

Financial sustainability

Ability to invest in ACCA’s future and keep pace with stakeholders’ changing demands and expectations. ACCA’s financial performance and reporting of it; balance-sheet strength (including pension deficit).

12

Learning provision: reach, resilience and quality

The reach, resilience and quality of ACCA’s learning provision; its affordability to students; learning providers’ commitment to enabling ACCA to operate effectively, including innovating and embracing new technologies that enhance students’ learning experience and meet the demands of the workplace.

13

Member and student retention and growth

Recruitment of students who are informed, motivated, supported and equipped to progress through our qualifications and to obtain and retain membership if that is their end goal. Using data and insights to determine areas for potential growth and being cognisant of market-specific circumstances.

14

Member professional and career support

Providing members with ready access to knowledge to ensure that they remain relevant when the skills required of professional accountants are constantly evolving; networking opportunities; CPD; career portal; online forums, helping to market members to employers and enhance the employability of members.

15

Stakeholder engagement and responsiveness

Engagement level and relationships with members, students, employers, learning providers, standard setters etc and responding to developments in their worlds (eg value for money, changing nature of their careers etc).

16

Statutory recognition and licence to operate

Statutory recognition and licence to operate; ensuring that the ACCA Qualification is recognised and accepted across all markets and all sectors; overcoming or minimising restrictive or protectionist challenges that may prevent growth or entry into new markets.

17

Strength of relationships with partners

Our learning provider partners will be committed to ACCA and our employer partners will champion our value because we work together to deliver successful, employable students and members. We will work with national bodies and other partners to build the profession.

18

Thought leadership and public influence

Leading the policy and technical agenda through expert research and professional insights; contributions to public policy and regulation; participation in key international, regional and national forums.

This year, we invited members of our network panels around the world to take part in online workshops to rank the 18 material issues we’ve identified. We also additionally consulted with representatives from our strategic learning partners. These results form the external view of our material issues.

ACCA’s employees on our Leadership Group also undertook the same exercise to provide the internal view of material issues.

Overall 2020 ranking (internal and external) Material Issue
1 Attractiveness, relevance and integrity of the ACCA Qualification
2 Brand recognition
3 Acting for public good
4 Member professional and career support
5 A customer-centric organisation
6 Thought leadership and public influence
7 Statutory recognition and licence to operate
8 Member and student retention and growth
9 Financial sustainability
10 Agile, innovative and motivated workforce
11 ACCA’s global presence
12 Stakeholder engagement and responsiveness
13 Best-in-class digital capabilities and infrastructure
14 Strength of relationships with partners
15 Learning provision: reach, resilience and quality
16 Effective internal governance and compliance
17 Creating inclusion
18 Environmental sustainability of ACCA’s operations
Overall 2020 ranking (internal and external) Material Issue
1 Attractiveness, relevance and integrity of the ACCA Qualification
2 Brand recognition
3 Acting for public good
4 Member professional and career support
5 A customer-centric organisation
6 Thought leadership and public influence
7 Statutory recognition and licence to operate
8 Member and student retention and growth
9 Financial sustainability
10 Agile, innovative and motivated workforce
11 ACCA’s global presence
12 Stakeholder engagement and responsiveness
13 Best-in-class digital capabilities and infrastructure
14 Strength of relationships with partners
15 Learning provision: reach, resilience and quality
16 Effective internal governance and compliance
17 Creating inclusion
18 Environmental sustainability of ACCA’s operations

Because of the changes in descriptions and the reduction of the overall list, it is not possible to provide reliable and meaningful comparisons with last year’s rankings on every issue.

However, looking in general, we have seen ACCA’s need to act for public good becoming much more highly rated and greater prominence being attached to the capabilities demonstrated by ACCA’s workforce.

Elsewhere, rankings of issues are very consistent with 2018-19, with the attractiveness, relevance and integrity of the ACCA Qualification as the highest ranked issue, showing the continued belief that investment here is fundamental to ACCA’s future success.

Once again this year, internal and external rankings are very strongly correlated. We’ve seen these two sets of rankings continue to move closer together during the strategy to 2020, as we have deepened engagement and consulted more closely on strategy and direction with our member network representatives and learning providers.

The materiality matrix

Scores out of 7 where 7 = ‘most important’ and 1 = ‘not very important’

  • Internal ranking
  • External ranking