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The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has this week released a discussion document entitled “accountants and strategic leadership.” The paper looks at the way in which changes to IR requirements may result in accountants taking their role “beyond financial reporting and into broader notions of corporate stewardship and success.”
The report is sprinkled with notions which may surprise those who have traditionally thought of the role of the accountant as being primarily concerned with dry numbers. Phrases such as “enabling entrepreneurial spirit,” “strategic leader” and “ethical stewardship” all speak of a future in which those in the finance function step away from contained silos and into a role which helps to shape, define and drive company culture and ethos.
Acknowledging that this change of role may not sit easily with some the report looks at different scenarios and attempts to identify the implications of each one. It does appear there may be some way to go as a survey revealed that only 18% of accountants believed that if their business adopted integrated reporting, their role would be to lead the initiative rather than act as a contributor.
The report concludes that “IR” has potentially wide ranging implications for the way in which corporations communicate with investors and the public at large. As a result of this ACCA believes that “the profession needs to realign itself and that accountants should aspire to be changemakers.”