The future of the young CFOs


In this post we borrow the age-old adage from the wisdom of conservationists, as they observed that, We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”.

It would seem that ACCA had this adage in mind when we released our latest report entitled ‘Carbon Accounting for Small Businesses: How Accountants Can Help Everyone Be Greener’. In the report ACCA engages with its students seeking to understand their expectations about their future and how they think the future will affect the finance profession. The deterioration in natural resources, the instability of financial markets and the explosion in global population came under scrutiny when ACCA conducted a survey that saw 4 500 of its students from all over the world offer their opinions. The findings of this survey varied from continent to continent, but they all led to one conclusion. 81% of the students believe that the deterioration in natural resources would have the most impact on businesses in 2024. While in the Africa, South Asia and Western Europe, 70% of students believe that the growth in global population would have the most impact in business. 67% of respondents in the Caribbean and Africa believe that the instability in financial markets would leave its effects in business operating there.

In this ever evolving world of business, the CFO stumbles upon another reason to redefine his role and adapt in order to be a better contributor in business. In the anticipation of the pressures of the future, Ewan Willars said, “The ACCA finance professionals of the future see the next 10 years as being one of change – they know that as finance professionals they will have to do more to provide businesses with more decision-making insight than now – such as forecasting and reporting on what might happen in the future, rather than recording what has happened”. The CFO’s is required to observe the world he lives in, absorb as much information as possible and see how his work can improve these factors. “The macro global trends are a major factor in the financial professional’s role”, says, Karen Smal, Acting Head of ACCA South Africa, “a CFO cannot ignore socio-economic, environmental and all factors that impact a financial professional whether now or in the future”.

The survey engaged with students that will be active players in the economy in the future. It is this cohort that needs encouragement to adopt accounting for sustainability; they need to be taught earlier on in their young careers to approach the financial discipline understanding that their role has to positively impact the world around them.

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