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Seeking perfection: be the perfect finance professional

Faye Chua explains how you can become the perfect professional accountant

January 2017

No one can afford to ignore the fact that the world is changing. More than ever those looking to become financial analysts, economists, lawyers or indeed accountants need to ensure they have the right skills to meet the complex needs of prospective employers, their clients and the world of business.
We continue to see global business regularly changing with technology, on-going globalisation and the evolution of governance models playing an important role in this new landscape. Against this backdrop, professional accountants need to make sure they are not only highly skilled in technical areas but that they have vision and a strategic mind-set.
ACCA’s executive director of strategy and development, Alan Hatfield, wrote in PQ magazine’s November issue about an in-depth global research project from ACCA involving input from 2,000 business and finance professionals around the world. The project, called ‘Professional accountants – the future’, showed that an optimum blend of skills, experience and intelligence is now needed by professional accountants.
ACCA’s ‘Professional accountants – the future’ is a project which is close to my heart. My team and I have worked on it for the past two years, and in doing so we identified that to add value for their employers and clients the professional accountants of the future will need an optimal and changing combination of professional competencies. A collection of technical knowledge, skills and abilities, combined with interpersonal behaviours and qualities. ACCA has called these ‘professional quotients’. By 2020, all professional accountants will need to develop and balance the components of these professional quotients to fit their role and stage of career if they are to keep pace with the demands of their employers.
Technical knowledge, skills and abilities and a strong ethical compass – the professional accountant’s technical and ethical quotient (TEQ) will remain the core quality underpinning their success. It is technical expertise and the integrity with which it is applied that makes a professional accountant unique.
Students studying accountancy today need to be trained to the highest professional standards, looking beyond the numbers and with a global mind-set.
To define what the finance professional of the future must look like, ACCA has developed a set of seven professional quotients – a mix of technical knowledge, skills and abilities formed with interpersonal behaviours and qualities.
Technical and ethical competencies (TEQ): the skills and abilities to perform activities consistently to a defined standard. Often based on a professional qualification.
Intelligence (IQ): the ability to acquire and use knowledge: thinking, reasoning, and solving problems.
Creativity (CQ): the ability to use existing knowledge in a new situation, to make connections, explore potential outcomes and generate new ideas.
Digital quotient (DQ): the awareness and application of existing and emerging digital technologies, capabilities, practices, strategies and culture.
Emotional intelligence (EQ): the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others, harness and apply them to tasks, and regulate and manage them.
Vision (VQ): the ability to predict future trends accurately by extrapolating existing trends and facts, and filling the gaps by thinking innovatively.
Experience (XQ): the ability and skills to understand customer expectations, meet desired outcomes and create value.
In a rapidly changing world, professional accountants must continue to promote good governance, facilitate sustainable access to finance for business, and apply the highest professional and ethical standards in their work.
Having the right qualities will be crucial to being successful. In order to be able to deal with forces such as volatility and uncertainty now part of our day to day world, these technical and ethical competencies will play a key role to making a well-rounded finance professional.
As the world changes, more responsibility will be placed on the accountancy profession. We cannot afford to sit back. We must meet the challenges of the future. ACCA’s innovations set a new standard, fully integrating deep, broad and relevant technical expertise with ethics and professional skills.
As a diverse group of individuals, what ties us together is the profession we love and work so hard to be a part of. We know accountants will continue to be at the heart of whatever happens in the years ahead.
ACCA’s research shows that by embracing these characteristics we will not only have the edge within the profession, but we will be called upon to demonstrate the leadership that will be needed.

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