A global game-changer

Irene Teng is executive vice-president—Global Markets at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

The Association's Future of Finance research has been a game-changer for the profession. Not only has it meant our members and students are well equipped to thrive in the increasingly digitised business world, but it has also opened doors for our Association across the globe.

Using our Association's resources, during the Future of Finance's research phase we gathered from employers and members their personal and organisational ways of thinking and working — and built them into a composite picture of finance in the digital world.

Guided by the research, we launched earlier this year our updated CGMA Competency Framework and 2019 CIMA Professional Qualification Syllabus. And for current members, we are providing learning that ensures they are up to speed on automation, blockchain, cybersecurity, data analytics, and more.

These are the topics on which employers are now engaging with us — including employers who have not engaged with us before. Recognising that we have occupied the future-of-finance space, this new interest and response from employers is highly proactive and immediate in nature.

Examples of employers who are increasingly interested in our work are many and across all markets. In Kuala Lumpur, we presented to market-leading telecoms company Telekom Malaysia, and it is now keen to know more about tech implementation for the sector, including blockchain.

In southern India, in Bangalore, CFOs at four employers — Deloitte, KPMG, Prudential Insurance, and State Street — have asked that we come and speak to their teams about the development of new skills for the digital environment. The same invitation has been extended by a group of companies in Lahore in Pakistan, including consumer electronics company Orient Group and the leading construction business Banu Mukhtar. In Dubai, initial explanations of our Future of Finance research have led to requests for more detailed presentations to groups of employees from businesses such as PepsiCo and Emirates airline, as well as government organisations.

A roundtable hosted by the CIMA president in South Africa included representatives from a range of employers including Transnet, the state-owned company behind the country's port, rail, and pipeline infrastructure, and the Department of Mineral Resources. The view of senior leaders from these organisations was that more public-sector employees need the CGMA designation — to be relevant and to work with reference to our particular ethical framework.

Earlier this year, in Bucharest in Romania, an event highlighting our Future of Finance work was combined with the launch of our collaboration with PwC's Academy Romania. This close working will involve a range of CIMA learning programmes delivered face to face and by digital media.

We are also engaging with large numbers of employers through conferences in North Asia — for example, the Hong Kong Future of Finance conference in April that was attended by 300 finance leaders.

In all of this work by the Association, we are focused on elevating the relevance and recognition of the CGMA designation — to ensure that employers understand the skills and type of mindset that you, our members, can bring to drive successful businesses.

Irene Teng is executive vice-president—Global Markets at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.