Association launches CGMA Finance Leadership Program
The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants launched the CGMA Finance Leadership Program (FLP) to employers and universities across Africa, Asia, and continental Europe at a virtual event — "Reimagine Your Finance Team" — at the end of October.
Irene Teng, the Association's executive vice-president—Global Markets and the event's host, said: "The unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 has forced us to rethink and reimagine the finance function to better serve the changed needs of businesses impacted by the pandemic." She added: "Particularly, it has heightened the need to accelerate digital finance transformation."
The CGMA FLP e-learning and assessment platform, which leads to the CGMA designation, is in response to increased demand to deliver remote access and flexible self-paced online learning. It covers competencies in finance, accounting, business, people, and digital skills set out in the CIMA Professional Qualification Syllabus and assesses their application across operations, management, and strategy.
CIMA president speaks at CPA Australia conference
CIMA President Nick Jackson, FCMA, CGMA, was a guest presenter in mid-November at CPA Australia's Virtual Congress, which was themed "Taking Care of Business". Jackson, who is a finance digital transformation leader at software technology company Oracle, presented on "Responsible Financial Leadership: The Opportunity for Finance" as part of the broader topic of trust, ethics, and resilience.
Citing the challenges presented by COVID-19, Jackson spoke about the need for organisations to take a broader perspective to create value for all stakeholders. He argued that now is the right time for finance professionals to reimagine their role and reinforce their reputation as trusted advisers who can grow public confidence in business.
More than 8,000 finance and accounting professionals from around the globe registered to hear a range of high-profile speakers, including Ben Bernanke, Ph.D., former chairman of the US Federal Reserve; Carla Harris, vice-chairman, Global Wealth Management, and senior client adviser at Morgan Stanley; and Amal Clooney, international law and human rights barrister.
Institute publishes social media guidance
Social media has become an important part of many people's personal and work lives, and it can be an incredibly useful tool. However, it also carries risks. CIMA has published guidance for members and students (available at cimaglobal.com) that is designed to support members and students in using social media effectively and in a way that ensures they maintain their professionalism at all times.
Finding tomorrow's European business leaders
The 2020 CGMA Emerging Leaders Competition took place in Europe, with more than 100 teams from almost 30 universities in ten countries (Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechia, Slovakia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Russia) taking part.
The final round was held virtually on 30 October between the three remaining top teams. The Going Concern team from Azerbaijan took first place, with the ICFO team from Ukraine in second, and the Fortune team from Russia in third.
Jakub Bejnarowicz, regional director—Europe at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, said: "Evidence shows that top employers do not recruit people only based on their formal qualifications and technical skills. They now also look for the skills and competencies such as critical thinking, decision-making, flexibility, [and] commercial awareness. In short, skills that will add long-term value to their organisation."
He added: "By taking part in the competition, [students] get a taste of what it means to make business decisions that swing fortunes by the millions — getting used to the processes, answering questions, and coming up with viable business strategies."
The 2020 competition was organised in partnership with multinational bank UBS and tuition provider Kaplan.
Sri Lanka holds taxation and the digital economy event
CIMA Sri Lanka held a CPD webinar at the end of October with an expert panel moderated by EY tax partner Nishtar Sulaiman, ACMA, CGMA, that discussed the benefits and opportunities of digital taxation.
Keynote speaker Hsin-Yee Wong, partner, International Tax and Transaction Services at EY Singapore, described the challenges faced by companies since the launch of the OECD's BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Sharing) Action plan in 2013, which seeks to modernise international tax rules. Using the examples of France and Singapore, she explained how countries have introduced digital services taxation, and provided best practice for companies in this area.
The value of being a charity trustee
In its May 2020 report, Regulating in the Public Interest, the Charity Commission for England and Wales said: "Charity trustees are the first-line defence in upholding the good name of charity generally and in making sure that their organisations comply with charitable law in particular."
The trustees' role is to further the charities' purposes for the public benefit. All charities have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, as key sources of funding such as events, direct donations, income from retail shops, and grants have significantly reduced.
Elaine Smyth, associate director—Professional Standards at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, said: "Charities are now having to do more with less as the crisis has increased the numbers of those who need to access charitable services.
"Being a trustee is a fantastic opportunity where members and students can use their CIMA skills to benefit society.
"CIMA offers strong accounting fundamentals with strategic and business skills that include analysis, risk, planning, and communication — all of which are underpinned by professionalism and commitment to a code of ethics. [It's] the perfect combination."
To be effective in its leadership and decision-making, a charity board must identify with the community it benefits, and so board diversity is essential. In the UK, not only does diversity include the nine protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010 but also different backgrounds and life experiences. Diversity is one of the seven principles of the Charity Governance Code for charities registered in England and Wales, which can be read at charitygovernancecode.org.
A consultation was run in 2020 to improve the code and to better address requirements such as leadership, integrity, and diversity. The responses were published in August at charitygovernancecode.org. More information on the publication of the refreshed code can be found at charitygovernancecode.org.
Association report highlights digital progress during COVID-19 and beyond
Throughout the global pandemic, organisations around the world have turned to digital solutions to navigate economic uncertainty. Digital Transformation Reimagined: Accountants' Lessons Learned and Tips for Moving Forward, a recent report by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, examines how finance professionals helped their organisations overcome COVID-19's business challenges and their strategic role as they ready their companies for sustainable success.
Based on interviews with the Association's members on five continents, the report details how small and medium-size organisations are reimagining every aspect of their businesses. According to the accountants and finance professionals interviewed:
- The pandemic has demonstrated that not only is a digital-first environment feasible, but it can also be adapted to many situations. Among the numerous examples discussed is an apparel manufacturer for international brands in Sri Lanka that has used digital transformation to design and distribute under its own brand, and a landscaping business in the UK that now uses tablets to supervise employees working remotely, among others.
- Digital transformation is about far more than upgrading information technology systems. It's about using technology to reimagine how, when, and where an organisation does business, as well as the effects on staff, customers, and others.
- The solutions can be scalable and affordable for small and medium-size organisations. For many companies, there may be no need to invest in expensive or elaborate systems at first or, perhaps, ever.
A road map to success
The report includes a comprehensive three-stage road map that offers guidelines on how to: lay the groundwork for transformation by assessing certain factors; collaborate with employees, vendors, and customers to get their input; and fine-tune an implementation plan that includes goals and milestones.
Given the importance of leadership buy-in, the report also features a list of six reasons to digitally transform that can be used to make a case for change. Examples are the tangible benefits, the organisation's enhanced appeal to customers, and advantages in recruiting and retaining top people.
As organisations work to maximise the value of digital solutions, finance professionals can use the report to understand the opportunities, chart a strategy for success, and access many Association resources. Access the report at cgma.org/digitalforward.