Adrian Perera, the newly elected Chairman Member Network panel of ACCA Sri Lanka, believes that to develop and prosper, every country needs the core skills of professional accountants to build transparency and accountability for strong, sustainable government, companies and societies. “Accountants need to have ethical standards and competencies, ask the right questions and know how to put the information together. This is where ACCA comes in to assist this process for both Private and Public enterprises through our qualifications that are aligned to meet these criteria. Therefore to me this is an exciting time to lead ACCA as we try to achieve our vision of being number one in developing professional accountants the world needs,” he said.
The future finance professional
He identified three challenges for today’s organisations: people, process and pace of change. “In terms of people, it is about having the right people with the right skills, whereas for processes it is where, companies must get to grips with the changing technological landscape and be able to align the finance function in a manner that will be beneficial to organisations.”
As for the pace of change, Adrian feels that it is important for accountants and finance professionals to play a bigger role in facilitating change within an organisation, and to apply the essential principles of entrepreneurship. “I see accountants in the future playing the role as trusted advisers for businesses. We as practitioners need to be at the forefront of changes and developments and be aware of what’s happening in the economy and business landscape so that we are able to advise our organisations to help them navigate issues and challenges and manage them,” he says.
Driving value and enhancing member networking
“Hence at ACCA, we are working to make sure the qualification remains fit for this purpose. We will be organising as we have done in the past a series of workshops that are relevant to the challenges that are facing businesses today such as Cyber security, International Taxation and many more so that our members are updated and knowledgeable of the current trends and challenges that businesses face.”
Nurturing the next generation: He also points out that ‘developing professional accountants the world needs’ is pivotal. This means inspiring the younger generation to take up accountancy. “Nowadays one is spoilt for choice and if people don’t come forward to take up accountancy then there will be a shortage of talent. That’s why we intend to continue our quest in building and strengthening our relationships with schools and universities across the country to promote ACCA and to make them understand the value they can derive from the qualification and the role they can play in uplifting the industry in the country and the businesses. A part of the relationships we strengthen will be with school principals and deans of universities who will be the advocates to encourage their students to look at pursuing a professional qualification whist continuing their studies so that upon completion they will be ‘work ready’ and giving them the access to quickly move into the profession. We will also continue to enhance our current programs so that they to meet the evolving needs of the future business landscape.”
He also cited that working alongside with other accountancy bodies to enhance the profession in the country was crucial. “ACCA will continue to foster the relationships that we have with the many professional bodies in the country and will look at building new relationships with other professions as well ,such as HR so that will give added value to the businesses in our country.”
Working with the Public Sector
“Another thing we are trying to expand is the footprint that we have in the public sector in the sense of promoting good governance, ethics, and risk management. Looking ahead, Adrian says that ACCA is seeking to build stronger understanding and relationships between the accountancy profession and interest groups such as legislators, regulators and investors along with the business community.