#Stateoftheprofession in Africa

Did you know that around 123,000 of Africa’s 1.3 billion population is a qualified accountant Рthat’s 0.012%! A ground-breaking study into the profession in Africa has now revealed just 55% of these accountants are optimistic about the continent’s economic prospects, and skills shortage, especially in the areas of technology and strategy are a major concern for respondents.

ACCA, the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA), and PwC joined forces to develop the latest State of the Profession in Africa report.

The authors suggest the results revealed a startling paradox for the profession in building ethical and sustainable businesses while lacking in environmental, social and governance (ESG) acumen. Some 57% say this is limiting the involvement of Professional Accountancy Organisations (PAOs) and their members in climate change and ESG agendas.

Alarmingly, 92% of accountants working in the mining industry do not see ESG among the industry’s top three future-altering trends, and worryingly 40% of all surveyed members highlighted the ability to incorporate climate change and ESG into financial reporting as a major skills gap.

Jamil Ampomah, director of ACCA Africa says: ‚ÄúRespondents‚Äô views about ESG are certainly a wakeup call. Hurdles need to be overcome as accountancy professionals have a unique opportunity to lead ESG adoption in their organisations, in their own countries, right across Africa and globally. One of the strong recommendations in the report is for the profession to skill up here ‚Äď the tools and qualifications are available to do this, so the opportunity is waiting to be grasped.‚ÄĚ

The top ten statistics from the report show that:

  1. When it comes to global accounting standards, 81% of respondents say International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) have been adopted across Africa.
  2. 71% of accountants expect that digital transformation of accounting functions would be the profession’s biggest game changer over the next decade.
  3. 64% have seen professional accountants become CEOs or Directors in their organisations.
  4. 53% say stricter regulatory and statutory compliance will have an impact on the profession.
  5. Almost half – 49% – of respondents believe that the accountancy professional contributes to strategic direction and development of business insights in the upper echelons of organisations.
  6. Accountants in Africa are most optimistic about the implementation of environmentally friendly policies and investment in infrastructure ‚Äď each at 30%.
  7. 43% are pessimistic about the uncertain political situation and for 39% it is policy uncertainty.
  8. 45% indicate that most senior professionals in their organisations are involved in the traditional roles of organising, controlling, processing, and reporting on financial related transactions.
  9. 47% say another significant trend is predictive accounting software such as forecasting and data analytics tools
  10. 47% say changes in tax policy is an important future trend.