"Young professionals will no longer need to be a good "Accountant" or "Auditor" to be a successful ACCA. They will be required to be agile, tech-savvy Trusted Advisors."
The traditional Audit profession is shifting towards other assurance services, which already represents over 25% of assurance work in countries like the UK. This means a steady development in advisory type services centred around risk, governance, controls, performance efficiency, operational resilience and data analytics in the coming years. Young professionals will no longer need to be a good "Accountant" or "Auditor" to be a successful ACCA. But they will be required to be agile, tech-savvy Trusted Advisors.
ACCA provides a strong platform for success. However, career success does not depend only on academic results. Good attitude to professional development and wise career choices in the next 5 to 10 years will define their success for the next 40 years. Easy choices are usually not the most rewarding in the long run. Short-term sacrifices could mean long-term success. Professional instincts will have to be followed. The right decisions will have to be made. Success will not happen overnight.
What I see in the market are organisations expecting more and more from us. At PwC, our purpose is to “build trust in society and solve important problems”…. This is a very telling sentence. Problems are more and more complex and varied requiring sophisticated and value-add solutions. At PwC Mauritius, we recruit 50+ graduates every year. Very few put in what they need to grow to their potential to meet market expectations. Many will happily end up in a routine, unchallenged job. To avoid this they need to step up and develop their business acumen. Invest the required time and effort to achieve long-term success.
The ACCA prize winners are the “crème de la crème” with high potential, the finest pool of “leaders-to-be”. They are the future of our economy. But their real challenge starts now! They will have to remain patient. Remain agile. Make their own decisions. Not be like everyone else. Make the right choices to ensure they grow, every day. They are in charge. Their future starts now.
It's Halloween today and no one has dared coming as a zombie or a vampire including me. It's an honour to be invited today. Madhavi, thank you for the introduction.
I don’t want to spend a lot of time about myself but I think it is important to spend 1 minute to put you in context. It's only to show how ACCA has played a critical role in my career. I started as most people would start in the 90s with DCDM, who used to be Anderson at the time and I actually started my ACCA straight after school. No degree, I started in 1997 after finishing my studies at St Joseph and I started with DCDM Business School at Quatre-Bornes. At that time, it was only 50 students. Today, I think it has grown a lot.
I spent 2-3 years with them doing the traditional accountancy practices, external audit, until I moved to the UK to finish my ACCA. When I qualified and told the recruiter agent that I was ACCA qualified, my phone didn’t stop ringing.
The economy was quite strong in the UK early 2001, still just shows the strength that ACCA has, even in the UK where ICAEW is still dominant and recognised as a professional body. I started my career in the UK government. That was a very very interesting experience, doing value for money work. Basically, ensuring that the money given to projects are being spent as intended. Then I moved in the National Health Service where I was more involved in risk management and advisory work.
Then while doing that, I was doing my MSc and I decided to go back to the private sector, because I had a very keen interest in construction. This is where I really sharpened my internal audit skills on very complex projects. Then, I moved into the oil and gas at Subsea 7, which is a very very large company, where I had the opportunity to audit oil and gas projects. One project could be as big as 1Bn US dollars.
Then I came back to Mauritius in 2011 in a firm that used to be called M&A. It is now UHY, which is a medium size firm. I think they are ranked 8th or 9th in the world. I joined as a Partner there and I opened their internal audit practice until PwC asked me to run their Risk Assurance services. Internal audit is more than focus and graph review. 2015, and since then, it has been 3 years with PwC.
So, I think the main message in this is that ACCA was the start of everything. And then, ACCA gives you the platform to come and build what you like on top. The profession is changing so much today, that you don’t need to be an accountant to be a successful with ACCA.
In fact, some of you might be working in practice so I will just summarise the trends in the profession today. In the world of assurance, which used to be external audit as we know it, which still represents the majority of fees of most practice firms today, only 3 years ago, 95% was external audit. 5% were crumbs, internal audit and all the things around that.
By 2020, we are expecting to reach 20% of other assurance services and that includes anything that goes around risk management, governance, control advisory, integrated reporting, and performance management. I’ll add to that, cyber-security and all the technology side
In the UK, in south-east, in the London region, it is already 40% today. And, we expect that by 2030, over assurance services will represent a larger portion than traditional external audit. The reason for that is, external audit is changing. We are expecting, now, that you will be able to audit accounts by robots. You’ll be able to audit 100% of every transactions going in any general ledger, live. So, the auditors have to re-invent themselves and over assurance services is the way forward.
I will highlight these. These 5 particular pillars of service we do and that’s completely technology oriented. Now, technology is key. There’s no future for any ACCA who doesn’t know how to turn on a laptop or use a tablet. Business continuity, cyber-security is on the top 3 risks of most large companies today. They are paranoid about cyber-security and anything to do with efficiency and processes, and anything that got to do with data analytics is huge. So, this is the trend.
As ACCA, and I think the curriculum now, is adapting to that. ACCA is no longer forming accountants, they are forming business men. They are sharpening your acumen for making you think outside the box and this is I think an important trend in the profession.
Now, this is PwC’s learning and development programme. Only 10% represents classroom training, so ACCA will be part of that. Those 10% sets you up in your career and you being the best of the crop, you are today at the best place to be successful. But, it only represents 10%.
The vast majority of your development as a professional will come here, in the 70%. Coaching is basically your manager coaching you, your supervisor coaching you or a partner coaching you on the job you are doing. But, this is what you learn - the challenging things you learn at work. You make mistakes, you’ll learn from it. And, this also depends on the choices you will make.
So, if today you want to go, because everyone is doing this, I will be doing this? You might miss the train there. If you like something like Risk Management, go for it. There will be a career for you. If you like something like cyber-security and you want to go in technology, go for it. There’s a lot of opportunities for you.
This is where you need your investment, in terms of choices. Before I go on the final slide, I would say that – I don’t want to damper the atmosphere, because you are the best but what I want to say is everything is starting now. A strong academic result or a strong academic qualification, will not make your career. It will help you make your career. But, you need to couple that with good attitude in developing yourself.
Clients nowadays are becoming more and more demanding, and I am talking practice, I am serving clients, dozens and dozens of clients every week. But, even if you work in a company, boards are becoming more and more demanding on yourself and you will need to find a way to fix their problems by finding solutions every single day. And, for that you’ll need to sharpen your skills set and you need to know the trend. The trend is risk management, the trend is technology, and the trend is data and cyber-security.
And then, there's no reason why among you, will be the future CEO, COO, CIOs, CROs, CEs, all the C-Suites you can think of, of the biggest companies in Mauritius and globally. Mauritians are known to be very successful abroad. There hasn’t been one country I’ve been to where I haven’t met one Mauritian who has done well. Even in Eastern Europe, or in Brazil or in Nigeria or in Malaysia.
You always bump in Mauritians who do well. So, we have a lot of acumen there, we have a lot of skills, but we just need to make the right decisions. An easy decision in the short term is not necessarily the good one in the long term, a lot of sacrifice.
What we see at PwC is we recruit 50 plus graduates every year. Most of them will do ACCA as a main qualification and unfortunately, the majority will take the easier route. The one who takes the difficult sacrifice in the first 5-8 years of his career, will be at the best place to have a longer term successful career. You have 40 years of career ahead, so a decision taken in year 3 should not have an impact on your success when you retire.
So, my final message to you is your real challenge starts now but you are the future of Mauritius. Just be patient, be agile, make your own decision so don’t do like anyone else. Everyone is doing this, I am doing this. There’s no need to be like anyone else. Make the right choices. You are in charge. Your future starts now!
Courtesy: Maurice Info
Julien Tyack with Madhavi Ramdin-Clark, Head of ACCA Mauritius.
Julien Tyack at ACCA Mauritius
Group picture of ACCA Awardees
Associate Director, PwC Mauritius
Tel: +230 404 5210