(5/5) Diffusing the Volatility Bomb…

Accountancy in a Hostile Environment, Number 5 of 5 in this series introducing accountants and their role in business.

No, this isn’t an article about the accountants for the SAS, nor is it anything to do with the colonisation of Mars. Rather, it’s about the state of the global economy and the potential for the accounting profession to act as a driver of change, helping business to adapt and evolve in a climate of turbulence and volatility. In 2012, the Department of Futures’ research at the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants – the global body for accountancy professionals) and the IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) published a digest of the Fast Futures Research study entitled ‘100 Drivers of Change for the Global Accountancy Profession’. They identified several themes for the next decade, citing regional shifts in wealth and power, economic uncertainty and political change as the major factors likely to affect businesses worldwide. They recognised that these changes are taking place in the context of, and are to a certain extent driven by, rapid developments in science and technology, and new business models that utilise these technologies. It is certainly imperative, under these conditions, for organisations of all types to develop a ‘Business Radar’; that is, an ability to scan the horizon, looking for key factors that will shape the future for them. Those organisations that lack the ability to do this, accountants included, will surely not survive. Beyond this, the ACCA make several more recommendations. They assert, I think correctly, that we should accept volatility as the norm and learn to leverage technology effectively to accommodate a truly global approach to business, which is just around the corner. They recommend a curious, open mindset and adaptability as key to surviving turbulence and understanding the complex environment in which businesses now operate. Accountants are integral to this process and, with a focus on Trust and Ethical Leadership, can become drivers of the process of change. A modern accountant should take on a strategic role, seeing their input as critical to long-term planning, and even to evolving new business models. They should apply themselves to understanding complexity, and utilising emerging technologies like data mining to find the best way forward for the businesses in which they’re employed. This is the final post in this series. The upcoming series deals with Economic Indicators, ideal for developing your own ‘Business Radar’. The previous post in this series looks at Types of Accounting and Specialties. The other topics are a general Overview, a closer look at Compliance and Added Value Services.

Pointers

  • The state of today’s global economy means the world of business is characterised by turbulence and volatility
  • In this climate there is huge potential for the accounting profession to act as a driver of change, by helping businesses to adapt and evolve
  • The ACCA recommends that we should accept volatility and learn to leverage technology effectively to accommodate a truly global approach to business
  • They cite a curious, open mindset and adaptability as key to surviving turbulence
  • A modern accountant should take on a strategic role, seeing their input as critical to long-term planning
  • They should understand complexity, and utilise emerging technologies like data mining to find the best way forward for the businesses they work for

 

Apr 14, 2015