Growing our markets: The view from Irene Teng

Executive vice-president – Global markets

Irene Teng

‘Through roundtables and conversations, our research has repositioned us in the eyes of our partners.’

It is a fact that more than 80% of the Association's members and students are concentrated in two countries: the UK and the US. The economic picture globally, however, is different. Growth over the next five to ten years will be moving eastwards; and PwC predicts that by 2040 the E7 (China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, and Turkey) could be double the size of the G7. The Association's carefully thought out growth plan for 2020—2025 fits well with this analysis: Three of our priority markets for growth and brand positioning are China, India, and Indonesia. We also aim to substantially increase our presence and influence in Nigeria, South Africa, Poland, and the US.

International Monetary Fund figures illustrate clearly the strong position of China, India, and Indonesia. China has a total population of 1.4 billion and is forecast this year to have a 19% slice of the world's GDP (on a purchasing-power-parity basis). India has a population of 1.3 billion with 8% of world GDP, and Indonesia has a population of 270 million with its GDP climbing to 2.6% of the global share this year.

It is also clear that the demand for professional qualifications in these countries is very high, with qualifications conferring status and increasing employ-ability. Many finance professionals and managers currently have skills gained from working in industry but do not have a full professional — or academic — qualification. This means an accelerated pathway to achieve our professional qualification would be of great benefit, and we have already taken steps in this area. For example, our CFO programme, aimed at C-suite executives in countries including China, India, Malaysia, and Singapore, enables those with the necessary experience to apply for membership after sitting the Strategic Case Study exam.

Ensuring that members can progress in their careers is key — the Association enables upskilling through a range of products that are delivered at a time and in a way that is most convenient for members. These include face-to-face CPD programmes, as well as online learning products via the CGMA and AICPA stores.

As part of our strategy to promote the CGMA designation globally, we are also encouraging students — in addition to studying for our professional qualification — to take certificates in related subjects. India provides a good example of this. We offer students there certification in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as a bundled product. With the use of IFRS by public companies required in more than 120 countries, this qualification gives a clear competitive advantage to our own students.

One of the Association's core commitments is to make sure our qualification and members' skills remain relevant. Our Future of Finance research feeds into that, but the research has a further role: We are now seen as shaping the future profession. In Asia, the research has opened doors. It has allowed us to engage with academics and employers — especially on how technology will impact the finance professional in the years ahead.

Through roundtables and conversations, our research has repositioned us in the eyes of our partners — we are perceived as much more than a professional body. Increasingly, we can add great value to organisations by providing solutions to some of the day-to-day business challenges such as hiring the right people and closing existing talent gaps.

This bodes well for our future as we seek to push further into our growth markets and take advantage of how the world's economic order is changing.