In order to create professionals who are both industry- and future-ready, accountants working under the auspices of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) have advocated for a shift in the learning strategies for accountants.
Concerned about the state of the accounting industry throughout Africa, not just in Nigeria, the accountants argued that it must advance to the point where it can outperform artificial intelligence (AI).
Taiwo Oyedele, Partner, Fiscal Policy and Africa Leader at PwC, stated at a round table discussion on the “State of the Profession in Africa” sponsored by ACCA in Lagos recently that this number was not the profession’s issue as there are an estimated 123,000 accountancy and finance professionals who are currently members of Professional Accountancy Organizations (PAOs) in Africa.
Oyedele pointed out that the accountancy profession was crucial to the socio-economic development of Africa while reviewing a report on the state of the profession in Africa that the ACCA, PAFA, and PwC jointly created.
“The concentration and capacity of accounting and finance professionals, on the one hand, and the amount of GDP or overall economic well-being, on the other, are correlated. According to him, the profession must continuously push itself in order to not only stay relevant but also to disrupt itself, reinvent itself, become future-proof, and help shape the future.
He claims that 228 Nigerians were among the 1,762 accountancy and finance experts who participated in the study, which used a 4-phase methodology that included desk research, a quantitative survey, a qualitative survey, analysis, and reporting to compile the report.
He added that there are skills shortages, which necessitates capacity building, and that “we analysed the results through four themes-capabilities, partnerships, influencing and future readiness.
“In order to address the concerns of the public sector, he added, “Emerging areas and tech PAOs are a major driver of development and have prioritized licensing as well as self-regulation.” He also said that student education and Continuing Professional Education (CPE) need to revise their learning strategies.
In crucial areas like curriculum development, the creation of public policies, and actual training, according to Oyedele, strategic alliances between stakeholders must be optimized. It is also crucial to integrate PAO and regulatory responsibilities.
Even though the profession was creating moral and sustainable businesses and helping to professionalize public sector organizations, he claimed that it was still necessary for it to be to be involved in influencing policies and programmes and do more.
Top future-altering trends, digital transformation of the accounting function, expanding skill sets, increased supply and availability of qualified accountants, and increased adoption of global international standards are some of the things the professional needs to do to be future-ready, according to him.
The report “establishes opportunities to focus professional development efforts, informs national and regional development planning, guides engagements with development partners and approach to transforming the profession in Africa,” according to Oyedele.
Onafowolokan Oluyombo, a professor at the Department of Accounting School of Management and Social Sciences, Pan African University, suggested that the profession embrace technology, be aware of emerging issues, and develop professionals to address the skill shortages in the field suggested further to make the professionals industry-ready, those from the industry should be brought in to teach the profession in higher schools as such teachers have industry experience.
He pointed out that the accounting industry has been disrupted by technology and digitization, so accountants need to get ready to not only stay pertinent but also be prepared for the future.