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.
Our main stakeholders
Members are core to ACCA's existence. We work to protect and enhance the value of the ACCA designation and aim to help members maintain and develop their employability by supporting them through their careers, on a global basis.
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 main governance body is composed entirely of elected ACCA members. We also 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.
We support students and affiliates by promoting the value of the ACCA Qualification to employers and, in partnership with learning providers, developing the support and information they need to achieve the qualification.
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, including an ACCA Learning Community, free webinars and digital support. We connect students and affiliates to opportunities through our global ACCA Careers jobs portal.
We also engage in-market with students and affiliates to offer targeted, face-to-face support.
Learning providers are an essential partner. They provide the examination training needed by students and it is important that ACCA works closely with them so we have a shared understanding of the current and future learning landscape. As we introduce significant innovations to the ACCA Qualification, we recognise that supporting learning providers to adopt them is critical to our future success. Creating this readiness to embrace and champion the changes remained a critical part of our focus in 2018-19.
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.
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.
Employers are key stakeholders because their current and future skills needs determine the shape of the ACCA Qualification, how we train members, and how we ensure their skills remain relevant. They are the primary users of the skills of ACCA accountants and provide students with the workplace experience needed for qualification. In this, they play a central role in determining demand for the ACCA designation. Without their support and buy-in, members cannot pursue the careers to which they aspire.
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.
National and international body partners
Through inclusive partnerships, we are able to extend the range of services and recognition available to our members. We also have a supplier relationship with many of these organisations, where we provide contracted services (such as practice monitoring).
These partnerships have dedicated relationship management within ACCA at a national, regional or global level.
Governments, donor agencies, standard setters and regulators
We engage with regulators and standard setters around the world to ensure we have the opportunity to influence the development of standards and regulation, with ACCA members and senior employees serving on influential forums and boards across the international profession. We work with governments to ensure they understand and value the contribution ACCA makes to national economies and support donor projects that encourage capacity building.
These relationships have dedicated relationship management within ACCA at a national, regional or global level.
We rely on a number of key suppliers and providers to deliver services and support, particularly IT services and our international examining network.
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.
In 2018-19, we invited members of our network panels around the world to take part in online workshops to rank the 21 material issues we’ve identified. ACCA’s employees on our Leadership Group also undertook the same exercise to provide the internal view of material issues.
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 re-introduced two material issues previously removed from the list because of consistent low priority for external stakeholders – the Environmental sustainability of ACCA’s operations and Community involvement.
This reflects increasing interest from ACCA’s employees in these topics, as reflected through our annual Best Companies engagement survey, and the growing urgency and intensifying concern around climate change impacts.
|Overall Ranking 2019*||Material issue||Overall Ranking 2018*||Year on year
|1||Relevance and integrity of the ACCA Qualification||1||-|
|3||Statutory recognition and licence to operate||3||-|
|4||Public influence and thought leadership||9||+5|
|5||Member professional and career development||4||-1|
|6||ACCA’s global presence||11||+5|
|7||Public value contribution||8||+1|
|8||Student and member growth and retention||7||-1|
|9||Learning provision: reach, resilience and quality||5||-4|
|10||Effective and efficient internal governance and compliance||14||+4|
|11||Strength of relationships with strategic partners||10||-1|
|12||ACCA’s financial health||13||+1|
|13||Stakeholder engagement and responsiveness||12||-1|
|15||Value for money||16||+1|
|16||Best-in-class customer service||6||-10|
|17||Diversity through accessibility||17||-|
|18||Robust and flexible IT systems||15||-3|
|19||Environmental sustainability of ACCA’s operations||-||Not included in 2018|
|20||Direct economic contribution||19||-1|
|21||Community involvement||-||Not included in 2018|
*External and internal
The prioritisation of material issues is very consistent with last year and, overall and externally, the top three issues in order of importance remained Relevance and integrity of the ACCA Qualification, Brand recognition and Statutory recognition and licence to operate.
Member professional and career development remains highly ranked and there has been a strong increase in the importance attached to Public influence and thought leadership. This is the most strongly correlated set of internal and external rankings we’ve seen since we first started our materiality work in 2011. It suggests we share a common understanding with our most engaged and involved members on the factors that are most relevant to how ACCA creates value, now and in the future.
Overall, there is also a very strong mapping between ACCA’s balanced scorecard and the ranking of material issues, giving us confidence that our priorities are in tune with members’ needs and expectations. This year, to help demonstrate this more fully, we have taken the opportunity to provide additional narrative on how we are addressing the top five ranked external issues for members in this report.
|External ranking||Material issue||Internal ranking|
|1||Relevance and integrity of the ACCA Qualification||1|
|3||Statutory recognition and licence to operate||6|
|4||Public influence and thought leadership||5|
|5||Member professional and career development||7|
|6||Student and member growth and retention||10|
|7||Effective and efficient internal governance and compliance||13|
|8||Learning provision: reach, resilience and quality||9|
|9||ACCA’s global presence||3|
|10||Stakeholder engagement and responsiveness||12|
|11||Strength of relationships with strategic partners||11|
|12||Public value contribution||4|
|13||Diversity through accessibility||18|
|14||ACCA’s financial health||8|
|15||Robust and flexible IT systems||17|
|16||Best-in-class customer service||16|
|18||Environmental sustainability of ACCA’s operations||20|
|19||Value for money||14|
|20||Direct economic contribution||19|
The materiality matrix
Scores out of 7 where 7 = ‘most important’ and
1 = ‘not very important’
- Internal ranking
- External ranking