The importance of Data Governance

Data describes the facts and figures that a company processes, it only becomes valuable information after it has been processed to add relevance. Data governance is the overall management of information available, it provides context for using the correct data, defines policies and standards for the proper use of data, and ensures that data management is aligned to the strategy of the entity concerned. It is important to develop a policy that specifies who is accountable for the various portions of data within a business and how accurate it is. A set standard and procedure must be followed, so as to ensure ongoing compliance with governance regulations.

Previously, data was managed solely by technologists. However, business intelligence is fast advancing, key decision makers are now required to have sufficient and accurate business data to make logical and profitable decisions. The interpretation of business assets, liabilities and equity is key information to a prolific business. A Data Governance programme is designed to shape the corporate philosophy of data acquisition, management and archiving. Business advances now require both business and IT components of the business to syndicate in order to define data elements. New data-orientated business functions and roles will emerge, and this should present accountants with a good opportunity, as they are well placed to fulfill some of these functions and roles.

Read more  http://bit.ly/2q9WO9e

 

50 Drivers of change & The 7th annual public sectors conference

The global economic and business landscape is changing with unprecedented speed and uncertainty. Accounting professionals will be expected to look beyond the numbers and collaborate, think, behave more strategically and lead in decision making.

 

There is global consensus that public sector finance needs to adapt in the face of a changing economic landscape. With modernising economies, digital influence and evolving economic sectors, Africa’s public sector finance is confronted by 50 key drivers of change.

 

These 50 drivers of change undertaken in a global study by ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accounts) will have the biggest impact on public sector finance leading into 2026. Financial skills not yet practiced will come into demand under requirement and forever change the face of the public sector accountant.

 

THE KEY FOCUS

Unpacking the study at the recently held ACCA 7th Global Public Sector conference in Johannesburg, industry guests and members showcased practical examples of how these 50 drivers of change will influence public sector finance. Manj Kaler, Head of Public Sector ACCA, gave insight into the drivers and by which order they will begin to influence finance industry.

 

Overarching the drivers and theme of the conference is the increase in demand for integrated reporting in the public sector finance.Integrated reporting will require accountants to shift away from financial analysis to business accountancy, focusing on swift action and financial literacy beyond a spread sheet.

 

The public sector is as complex as it is diverse” – Report: 50 Drivers of change in the public sector

 

Unpacking the above influencers, through a panel discussion, Bukkie Adewuyi – Director, Sizwe Ntsabula Gobodo, Xolisa Dlanga – Senior Financial Analyst, Office of the Accountant General and Martin Turner – former president, ACCA – focused on the importance of transparency and accountability. Citizens now demand accountability more than ever, with a strong focus on aligning public sector finance to presidential term successes. More so in Africa, governments are starting to feel the strain from public backlash from corrupt accountancy and mismanaged public sector finances.

 

CITIZENS AND INTRINSIC VALUE

Presenter Patrick Kabuya, Senior Financial Management Specialist – World Bank Group, highlighted two main goals for the Group particularly in Africa, they are; to end extreme poverty, and to promote shared prosperity. The rise in active citizenship in Africa reiterates these goals, holding intrinsic value to transparent and accountable public servants.

 

Sound management of our public finances is a cornerstone of our development plans.” – Pravin Gordhan – Minister of Finance

 

Countrymen and investors want change. Unpacking this social uprising and other drivers of change, the recent study by ACCA draws on Professor Mervyn King’s King IV principles of integrated reporting ; independence from political influence, performance targeting and variable remuneration based on outcomes.

 

ACCA surveyed over 1,000 senior executives, ACCA members and members of other professional accountancy bodies working in public sector organisations and carried out 12 in-depth round table discussions across 11 countries, including South Africa (around 300 participants) to populate the report.

 

The report is structured in two sections, the first introduces the ranking of 50 drivers of change (split into eight domains of relevance) that are expected to impact the public sector in the next five years and beyond. The second section assesses the impact of the drivers on the future public sector landscape.

 

KEY FINDINGS

  • The overall top, critical, driver of change is: level of economic growth, followed by: quality and availability of the global talent pool.
  • The public sector finance function is also experiencing challenges of its own from changes in technology to greater commercial focus and big data.
  • Professional accountants in the sector will need strong set of skills to meet the challenges including strong technical skills, communication skills, professional judgement, vision and leadership skills. Hence it is most important to invest in nurturing and training students.
  • The ability to make linkages, explore perceived economic growth strategies in order to realise visions and plans of national governments.

Read more on economic policies and public finance http://bit.ly/2o9xnl7

Saloshni Govender – Top Achiever: P2

Well done to Saloshni for being our top achiever second time around!

Which ACCA resources did you make use of to prepare for the P2 exam?ACCA_StudentProfiles.jpg

I used the material provided on the ACCA website (past papers, notes etc) as well as other material from research on the internet etc, and also study material I obtain from friends also study through ACCA.

Please share tips on pre-exam nerves…how do you stay calm?

 I keep telling myself before a paper just to take each paper as they come and give my all to the one that I am writing and forget the rest.

For study tips visit http://bit.ly/2nEPxxu

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Greg Hodgson – Top Achiever: F8

Well done to Greg for succeeding as top achiever in the December exams. Keep going Greg!

What do you believe being an ACCA member will do for your career?

I believe that being an ACCA member will certainly open a lot of doors for me both locally and internationally. Having those professional letters after your name demonstrates that you not only have the requisite technical knowledge and experience, but also that you have the hard work and determination required to pass demanding professional exams.

photo-gregory-hodgson

How do you stay motivated?

I am motivated by the long, fulfilling and rewarding career that having the ACCA qualification and membership should offer, and the respect it will garner from friends, family and colleagues alike.

What words of encouragement do you have for other students?

I think that setting goals, both short-term and long-term are an important step to remaining motivated and for planning purposes. It is important to remain focused and not allow oneself to get too distracted by the many things that can sway our attention these days like social media and the internet etc.

I also like to remind myself  of the often quoted expression “Nothing worth having in life is ever easy to achieve”, in order to stay motivated.

For study tips visit  http://bit.ly/2jTFYWb

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Digital Darwinism, entrepreneurship and technology

Darwin wrote about natural selection and the need to evolve in order to survive. The same can be said for both digital technology and entrepreneurship. With ongoing technological advances playing a significant part in economic growth, entrepreneurs, if willing to adapt, can benefit significantly from an ever changing digital landscape.

At a recently hosted event on entrepreneurship, ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) along with leading industry panellist raised significant trends into the technology and digital tools that will help entrepreneurs succeed.

Based on the event’s discussion theme; digital technological evolution in business, ACCA used the event as an opportunity to present the report ‘Digital Darwinism: thriving in the face of technology change’. This report focuses on 10 key digital based technology trends that may have direct bearing on business ownership and entrepreneurship:

 

  1. Mobile: Anywhere, anytime access to broadband connectivity from a range of devices, wireless networks, operating systems and applications.
  2. Big data: The massive quantity and variety of structured and unstructured data from internet-connected systems, devices and physical objects.
  3. Artificial intelligence and robotics: The broad range of machines and computer systems that demonstrate limited characteristics of intelligence.
  4. Cyber security: Protection from new forms of cyber risk, attack, crime and terrorism caused by increased reliance on personal and professional digital devices and data.
  5. Educational: Trends and tools that are changing and enhancing educational achievements, developments, techniques and possibilities.
  6. Cloud: Internet-based technology resources – such as software applications, computing power and data storage – provided remotely as a service.
  7. Payment systems: New, evolving and emerging internet-enabled software applications, currencies, payment platforms, devices and services.
  8. Virtual and augmented reality: Technologies that use computer modelling to simulate, overlay and supplement reality and enable people to interact.
  9. Digital service delivery: New technologies used to provide online, interactive, self-service, business processes, software and services.
  10. Social: Technologies that support social interaction and are enabled by communications technology, such as the internet.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY BY UNDERSTANDING YOUR CUSTOMERS

Notwithstanding the merits of the 10 digital trends outlined above, it is important to mention that entrepreneurs should be aware of their market, and choose the right technology for their business. There is no need to embrace all 10 technologies, or to over-engineer digital products, rather be selective and with the help of a clear business plan choose the right technology that can help move your business forward.

Knowing your customer’s needs and preferred technological platforms will help reduce the choice of technology you may need to engage with.

Understanding of your customers, market and your key performance indicators is as important as choosing the right technology that can help your business move forward.” – Zolani Ngange, Chief Executive Officer at NexBrill Capital

For further details on ACCA’s entrepreneurship initiatives and up and coming events, e-mail:  Nomsa.Nkomo@accaglobal.com

Visit http://bit.ly/2nY5cZv to read on ways to deal with technological impacts.

FUTURE LEADERS VS TODAY’S ACCOUNTANT

After the stock market crash of the 1940’s, businesses had to change to survive, and they did. Roaring through the 50’s business adapted, and so did the CFO. Business today has to evolve too in order to navigate through tough financial territory. In the aftershock of the 2008 global meltdown, it seems the local economy is struggling to find solace in a playing field marred by one downturn after the other. In an essence, it is a market filled with bears and few bulls.

The role of an accountant is changing too, moving out from behind office partitioning, to playing center field. The reality is that in order for companies to remain competitive, then every adaptive CFO has to step in and be the driver of change.

By hosting the “Future Accountants – Employer event” on the 14th September, ACCA aimed to drive this message of change amongst human resource professionals and shift focus on employment practices. The main message: HR specialists need to think ahead, and ensure that future CFO’s joining their companies are equipped for the progressively fastening rate of financial change.

Through a host of panel experts, the event unpacked ACCA’s recent report titled “Professional Accountants – the future”. The report, created through global collaboration, unpacks tell-tale signs of the future of accountancy and how HR could benefit from employing the “right type of accountant”.

RIGHT TYPE OF ACCOUNTANT

What will the right type of accountant be? Through the advent of the digital age, accountancy practice will be integrated into every aspect of the companies DNA and the accountant would be required to be equally available to dissect, analyse and drive decisions based on the information at hand. If the 24-hour drive-through revolutionised the takeaway industry in the 1980’s then the 24-hour accountant will do the same for the 2020’s.

In many countries, HR employment practices are already changing. Companies are realising the importance of hiring the future CFO opposed to the today’s accountant.

DRIVERS OF CHANGE

Tax, audit assurance, corporate reporting, strategic planning for better governance risk, financial management, and ethics were earmarked as the main drivers of change. Identified in the report, these drivers of change carry significant impact in employment practices in South African and abroad. Financial and business planning is becoming a global affair. Even if a company is solely based in South Africa, global effects can be far reaching.

Consider this as a well-established movement by ACCA, aimed to merge good corporate governance with credible employment processes, decreasing possible risk faced by employment practices” – Trudy Naidoo, Associate Director, Assurance, EY Inc. Africa

ACCA believes that now is the time to introduce companies to the benefits of employing globally relevant, integrated CFO’s. Through ongoing training initiatives and a strong focus on good governance, it is essential for CFO’s to evolve into digital aware, collaborative leaders. The future of business depends on it.

For further information on the ACCA Report “Professional Accountants – the future” please visit http://bit.ly/2cPNoGp

Taking care of the future CFO

Every finance leader knows predicting the future of finance is not an exact science. What is certain though is the speed of change and how this change is altering expectations on what the future CFO may look like. There is an incredible value, as a CFO, in understanding what the finance sector may look like, but the greater value is in knowing what future skills to garner.

This type of insight will further help re-shape educational institutes and curriculum ensuring today’s students can be tomorrow’s leaders. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), recently released a future gazing in-depth report on the future of finance titled; Professional Accountants – the future. This report synthesises the results of this qualitative and quantitative global and national research. The report deals with two main elements; firstly the drivers of change that will have the most impact, and secondly the future skills required of professional accountants to respond to those changes. Outlining these possible future outcomes, pitfalls, skills requirements ensures that as a world leading association, ACCA is driving educational changes in order to build a better finance sector.

EDUCATION EMPOWERMENT THROUGH COMPETITIVENESS

One of the platforms ACCA has chosen to drive change is through education empowerment. This alignment with some of the top education institutes in Africa will ensure success for future finance leaders. Such an alignment is the CFO Case Study Competition – an international, annual multi-round business management competition, hosted by Charter Quest. It challenges young people who aspire to be top CFOs and/or Global Business Leaders to demonstrate their potential by competing to solve a set of real-life complex finance, managerial and strategic problems that beset a “hypothetical” African company. As an endorser of this event, ACCA is passionate about ensuring its future members are well armed with educational and experience tools to navigate successfully through their journey as future leaders.

ACCA seeks to bring added value to the evolving finance role in a number of ways, namely, through engagement with employers and aligning our qualification to complement strategic business acumen. “ Patience Semenya, Head: ACCA South Africa

The CFO Case Study Competition is currently in its second round – the public voting stage – where the public has the opportunity to vote for the best videos submitted by the top 6 teams.

The semi-finals and finals will be held on the 13th and 14th of October respectively. The team finalists will be asset by the following criteria’s:

  • Finance & Technical
  • Diversity & Business
  • Ethics & People
  • Presentation, Question & Answers
  • Decisiveness & Leadership
  • Innovation & Integration

To view more details on the competition visit: http://bit.ly/1SWgm4O