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                             INVITATION TO COMMENT
Guide for Commentators
This Consultation Paper, Competent and Versatile: How Professional Accountants in Business Drive
Sustainable Organizational Success, aims to (a) increase awareness of the important roles of
professional accountants in business, and (b) generate debate on what professional accountants in
business need to do to meet the needs of their employing organizations.
IFAC’s Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) Committee would like to receive comments on
all matters addressed in this Consultation Paper and is particularly interested in comments on the
matters set out below:

Discussion Questions
1.   Does the paper fairly and usefully represent the diverse roles and domain of professional
     accountants in business? Please suggest ideas on how we can enhance the paper to become a
     useful tool in (a) creating awareness of the important roles professional accountants play in
     creating, enabling, preserving, and reporting value for organizations and stakeholders, and (b)
     identifying how IFAC could assist its member bodies and associates in enhancing the
     competence of their members.
2.   What additional tools could IFAC develop to assist its member bodies and associates to
     promote and communicate the roles of professional accountants in business to various
     audiences, including employers, governments, and regulators?
3.   Do you agree with the drivers of sustainable organizations that lead to long-term sustainable
     value creation, as identified in Part 2 and described in Appendix 2? If not, what alternatives
     would you suggest?
4.   Would IFAC member bodies and associates find it useful for an international competency
     framework to be developed, covering the roles and domain of professional accountants in
     business defined in this paper?
5.   How would a competency framework be best structured? Could the competences be usefully
     structured using the eight drivers of sustainable organizations, and would it be practicable to
     use the description of the key expectations placed upon professional accountants in business in
     Part 4?




2
Comments are requested by November 30, 2010. Comments may only be submitted electronically
through the IFAC website (www.ifac.org), using the “Submit a Comment” link on the Exposure
Drafts and Consultation Papers page. Please note that first-time users must register to use this feature.




                          Professional Accountants in Business Committee
                              International Federation of Accountants
                                    545 Fifth Avenue, 14th Floor
                                 New York, New York 10017 USA




Copyright © September 2010 by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). All rights
reserved. Permission is granted to make copies of this work to achieve maximum exposure and
feedback provided that each copy bears the following credit line: “Copyright © September 2010 by
the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). All rights reserved. Used with permission of
IFAC. Permission is granted to make copies of this work to achieve maximum exposure and
feedback.”
ISBN: 978-1-60815-071-7



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                                                       IFAC PAIB COMMITTEE
                                                       CONSULTATION PAPER

                                                 COMPETENT AND VERSATILE
        HOW PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANTS IN BUSINESS DRIVE SUSTAINABLE
                         ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS
                                                                   CONTENTS
                                                                                                                                                     Page
Chairman’s Foreword ..........................................................................................................................            5
Overview ..............................................................................................................................................   6
Part 1: Who are Professional Accountants in Business and Where Do They Work? .......................                                                      8
Part 2: Drivers of Sustainable Organizations ...................................................................................... 13
Part 3: Positioning Professional Accountants in Business for the Future .......................................... 15
Part 4: How Professional Accountants in Business Drive Sustainable Performance......................... 18
Appendix 1: Megatrends and Emerging Issues Driving Change in the Business Environment ....... 32
Appendix 2: A Closer Look at the Eight Drivers of Sustainable Organizations ............................... 34




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Chairman’s Foreword
Global recognition of professional accountants as business leaders and strategic partners in building
long-term sustainable organizational success is the vision and central tenet of IFAC’s proposed
Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) Strategy (available at www.ifac.org/PAIB). To achieve
this vision, IFAC needs to collaborate effectively with its member bodies and associates to promote
and contribute to the value of professional accountants in business. As the strategic plan describes,
there are two key complementary activities to pursue:
1.    Increasing awareness of the important roles professional accountants play in creating, enabling,
      preserving, and reporting value for organizations and their stakeholders; and
2.    Supporting member bodies in enhancing the competence of their members to fulfill those roles
      by facilitating the communication and sharing of good practices and ideas.
Competent and Versatile, How Professional Accountants in Business Drive Sustainable
Organizational Success, provides both IFAC and its members and associates with a resource to
enhance the perception of professional accountants in business. It explores the roles that they
perform, and invites consideration of the possibility that this perception might be further enhanced
through development of an international competency framework.
This Consultation Paper builds on the PAIB Committee’s 2005 paper, The Roles and Domain of the
Professional Accountants in Business. However, this new approach provides an objective analysis of
the expectations placed on professional accountants in business by their employing organizations in
the context of a rapidly changing business environment. The analysis is based upon eight drivers of
sustainable organizations, which we believe are widely recognized attributes of organizations well
positioned to achieve sustainable success over the long-term. An employer based view of the
expectations of professional accountants in business is a demand-driven response to understanding
the future roles and expectations placed on such professional accountants.
Highlighting the breadth of roles and characteristics of professional accountants in business and the
expectations that will be placed on them going forward is intended to be useful in communicating to
employers, professional accountants, governments and regulators. Individual professional accountant
members might also find the approach useful in making their colleagues and employers aware of the
scope of their competence, expertise and potential contributions to driving sustainable organizational
success.
I believe this paper is an important contribution to improving common understanding within the
accountancy profession and beyond of the work of our colleagues who work in business and public
service. It will be a better contribution if it is improved through the insights of as many interested
parties as possible. So I strongly encourage IFAC member bodies and associates to respond to the
discussion questions above. I also encourage feedback from beyond the profession. Please help us to
identify how this work can be best exploited to communicate with various audiences, including
employers, governments and regulators. If the perception of professional accountants in business in
your jurisdiction is not as it is described in this paper, I invite you to consider what actions need to be
taken to change the perception and to enhance the recognition of your members and students.
Roger Tabor
Chairman, Professional Accountants in Business Committee
September 2010
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Overview
This Consultation Paper examines the expectations placed on professional accountants in business
(sometimes known as management accountants or finance professionals) and how they create,
enable, preserve, and report sustainable value for their employing organizations in a rapidly changing
economic and competitive environment.
Examining the future roles of professional accountants in business through the lens of organizational
sustainability, and what is required to deliver economic, social, and environmental performance, this
paper aims to help IFAC and its members and associates to increase awareness of the important roles
professional accountants play in driving sustainable value creation. Such an approach will also assist
in ensuring the acquisition and development of required professional skills and competences among
professional accountants in business.
Future expectations governing the way professional accountants in business should support the
development of sustainable organizations are analyzed in light of the emerging challenges affecting
the economic environment, and the eight drivers of sustainable organizations. These drivers have
been identified to form the context of considering (a) how professional accountants should support
their organizations, and (b) the professional skills and competences they will need. This is a demand-
driven response to understanding the future roles and expectations placed on professional
accountants in business.
Sustainable development and the sustainability of organizations have become mainstream issues for
politicians, consumers, and business leaders. From an environmental and social perspective,
sustainability issues are transforming the competitive landscape, forcing organizations to change the
way they think about products, technologies, processes, and business models. From a financial
perspective, the primacy of shareholders as owners and maximizing wealth creation for this
constituency is being challenged, particularly where it has become evident that their short-term
financial interests can be incompatible with their long-term viability. Long-term sustainable value
creation requires responsible organizations to direct their strategies and operations to achieving
sustainable economic, social, and environmental performance. It also requires incorporating wider
stakeholder perspectives and issues into decision making.
Ensuring that organizations pursue sustainable business models and development practices will
require radical changes in the way they do business. Achieving a sustainable future is only possible if
organizations recognize the role that they can and need to play. Effective action by the accountancy
profession and professional accountants to better integrate and account for sustainability is an
essential part of the response.
Governing bodies and business leaders should be focused on the long-term sustainability of their
organization, and they should be confident that their business models will deliver this. Professional
accountants in all types of organization have a significant role in framing business models,
challenging conventional assumptions of doing business and redefining success; encouraging and
rewarding the right behaviors; ensuring that information flows to support decisions; and ensuring that
monitoring and reporting performance go beyond the traditional ways of thinking about economic
success.




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Highlights
Part 1: Clarifies who professional accountants in business are and where they work. This section
includes a description of the four generic roles that they perform as creators, enablers, preservers and
reporters of value, and examples of their roles and responsibilities across conformance and
performance dimensions.
Part 2: Identifies and summarizes the key features of the eight drivers of sustainable organizations,
which are used in Part 4 of the document to organize the expectations placed upon professional
accountants in business. These drivers were defined in light of an analysis of the overarching forces
of change in the business environment and are explained in Appendix 2. The drivers were also
identified by drawing on various sources, including The CIMA Business Success Wheel and
management and quality frameworks, such as the European Foundation for Quality Management and
(US-based) Baldrige National Quality Program.
Part 3: Positions professional accountants in business for the future by highlighting the professional
skills and mindset that will be required of them. This section focuses on the mindset that will be
required, which extends beyond what is taught and tested in a professional education program.
Part 4: Details the expectations of professional accountants in business based on the activities they
will need to perform to support sustainable and successful organizations. The activities are captured
under each of the eight drivers identified in Part 2.




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Part 1: Who are Professional Accountants in Business and Where Do They
Work?
Worldwide, more than one million professional accountants work to support organizations in
commerce, industry, financial services, the public sector, education, and the not-for-profit sector in
making them more successful and sustainable. They are a very diverse constituency, and can be
found working as employees, consultants, and self-employed owner-managers or advisers in
commerce, industry, financial services, the public sector, education, and the not-for-profit sector.
Within organizations, many professional accountants are business leaders in a position of strategic or
functional leadership, or are otherwise well placed to partner with colleagues in other disciplines to
create long-term sustainable value for their organizations. Business leaders typically perform in
director and management roles, while strategic business partners support and participate in decision
making and direction at various levels of the organization.

What Roles Do They Perform?
Professional accountant roles can broadly be categorized as creators, enablers, preservers, and
reporters of sustainable value for their organizations in two key dimensions:

A Performance Dimension
     As creators of value in organizations, by (a) taking leadership roles in governance, strategy,
     and performance management, and (b) overseeing the allocation of resources to ensure long-
     term sustainable value creation. Examples of job roles within which value creation is a key
     activity include chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO)/financial director
     (FD), treasurer, or other executive director role.
     As enablers of value in organizations, by influencing and supporting those who make
     decisions, and challenging assumptions and conventional thinking. Examples of job roles
     within which enabling value creation by others is a key activity include business unit
     controller; business, financial, or performance analyst; management accountant; and cost
     accountant. In other words, these are professional accountants who will typically assist and
     guide managerial and operational decision making and implementation of strategy as business
     partners.

A Conformance Dimension
     As preservers of value in organizations, by identifying, prioritizing, managing, and controlling
     strategic and operational opportunities and risks. Examples of job roles primarily dedicated to
     the preservation of value include director of governance or operations, risk, and business
     assurance manager, financial risk manager, compliance manager, and internal auditor.
     As reporters of value in organizations, by (a) measuring performance, capturing financial
     transactions and non-financial measures of performance, and (b) preparing high-quality
     business and financial reporting to stakeholders, including investors, customers, employees,
     regulators, and suppliers. Examples of job roles within which reporting on value is a key
     activity include group controller, head of reporting, investor relations manager, and financial or
     management accountant.


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These examples of positions are not limited to the aspect of the role they illustrate here, and a
professional accountant in business might perform elements of all four dimensions within one job
function. This is particularly so in leadership positions: for instance, within the role of chief financial
officer, some elements will focus on creating value (e.g., strategy development and striving for
growth); some on enabling value (e.g., supporting the governing body and senior management in
making decisions and facilitating the understanding of performance of other organizational functions
or units); some on preserving value (e.g., mitigating strategic risk and implementing effective internal
control systems, and asset management); and some on reporting value (e.g., ensuring relevant and
useful internal and external business reporting). Professional accountants in highly specialized roles
in areas such as tax planning also typically operate across various dimensions, as will those in small-
and medium-sized enterprises who usually perform multiple roles (see Part 3).

                  Figure 1: The Domain of Professional Accountants in Business




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The domain of professional accountants in business (Figure 1) spans the four roles as well as
capturing how the roles align to the internal working of organizations, represented here by describing
the widely used management (Deming) cycle steps: plan, do, check, and act.
The performance and conformance dimensions are derived from IFAC’s International Good Practice
Guidance, Evaluating and Improving Governance in Organizations. The principles in the guidance
support an appropriate balance between conformance and compliance on the one hand, and business
performance, and value enabling and creation on the other. The professional accountant in business
plays a key role in both these dimensions and in optimizing the balance between the two (see
“Balancing Performance and Conformance Responsibilities”).


 Balancing Conformance and Performance Responsibilities
 Conformance responsibilities include providing assurances to senior management and boards as
 to whether:
       Strategic, operational, and financial risks are effectively identified, prioritized, managed and
       controlled, mitigated, and reported
       The organization is working effectively and efficiently in achieving its strategic and
       operational goals and objectives
       The systems generating financial and non-financial information are working within
       prescribed standards of accuracy and reliability, and such information reflects the true
       sustainable performance of the organization
       Management’s fiduciary responsibilities, such as external financial reporting, fraud risk
       management, and adherence to governance codes are being carried out

 Performance responsibilities focus on strategy, value creation, and sustainable resource
 utilization, and include:
       Helping organizations make sustainable strategic decisions, implementing appropriate
       strategies, and evaluating their ongoing relevance and success
       Understanding the organization’s appetite for risk and its key drivers of sustainable
       performance
       Identifying critical points at which the organization needs to make decisions, and supporting
       these with relevant insight and analysis
       Allocating resources efficiently and effectively to achieve strategic goals and objectives




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Characteristics of Professional Accountants in Business
The professional designations for accountants around the world vary,1 but among the most common
are Chartered Accountant (CA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered or Certified
Management Accountant (CMA), Expert Comptable, and Contador Público. Although the
professional designations differ, professional accountants around the world share the same
characteristics.
The distinguishing mark of the accountancy profession is its responsibility to act in the public
interest. To do so, a professional accountant:
      Meets the standards of a professional, defined as having skills, knowledge, and expertise tested
      by examination and continuous development in a structured and monitored context; is
      committed to the values of integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care,
      confidentiality, and professional behavior (via a code of ethics); and is subject to oversight by a
      body with disciplinary powers; and
      Is recognized as an accountant, defined as belonging to a recognized accountancy body and
      upholding professional standards and approaches in the discipline of recording, analyzing,
      measuring, reporting, forecasting, and giving advice in support of the drivers of sustainable
      organizations identified in Part 2.
These characteristics underlie being a professional accountant in business and qualify him or her to
manage the drivers of sustainable organizations.

The Needs of Society, Financial Markets, and Organizations
The financial and economic crisis starting in 2008 and the uncertain path to recovery for many
countries is of overwhelming significance for governments, regulators, and financial markets—
likewise, for public and private sector organizations and the professional accountants they employ.
The crisis and its aftermath bring into focus significant challenges, most notably:
      Moving to a model of sustainable economies and corporate responsibility where organizations
      pursue more sustainable strategies and actions and take into consideration a broader range of
      stakeholders;
      Balancing compliance requirements with the need to drive organizational performance and
      remain competitive within an increasingly global economy; and
      In some jurisdictions, the need for significant and rapid reduction of government expenditure
      and debt, and increased accountability and transparency in governments.
The current uncertainty puts into the spotlight those core issues that need to be addressed to foster
sustainable economic growth. These include (a) more effective governance, regulation, and
oversight, as well as (b) more effective political and organizational infrastructures and processes to
minimize the risks associated with globalization and to ensure inclusive growth,2 particularly in



1
    See the various professional designations among IFAC’s membership.
2
    See World Bank definition of inclusive growth.


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emerging economies. Long-term sustainable success requires responsible organizations to direct their
strategies and operations to achieving sustainable economic, social, and environmental performance.
The charting of a new course from crisis to recovery presents an opportunity to position the global
accountancy profession and professional accountants as organizational and financial navigators,
contributing to the implementation of measured and effective responses to help foster sustainable
economic growth.
This will require IFAC, working in partnership with its members, to ensure that the education,
training, and continuing professional development of professional accountants in business remains
aligned with the changing needs of organizations as employers of professional accountants.




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Part 2: Drivers of Sustainable Organizations
Clarifying and promoting the roles, activities, and professional skills of professional accountants in
business needs to be done (a) within the wider context of understanding the attributes of high-
performing sustainable organizations, and (b) with an appreciation of the emerging trends and
developments in the business environment.
The eight drivers of sustainable organizations provide the framework for understanding how the
global accountancy profession needs to support the development of professional accountants in
business so that they can help organizations achieve sustainable value creation. The drivers are:
      Customer and Stakeholder Focus
      Effective Leadership and Strategy
      Integrated Governance, Risk and Control
      Innovation and Adaptability
      Financial Management
      People and Talent Management
      Strategy Execution
      Effective and Transparent Communication.
These drivers represent what organizations need to do to achieve and sustain high performance and
success. They are core elements of every organization striving to be truly sustainable over the long
term. The drivers were defined in light of an analysis of three megatrends:3 globalization,
complexity, and technology, which futurists and business commentators highlight as influential
overarching forces of change. The megatrends are described in Appendix 1 and highlight the main
long-term trends and forces influencing organizations, whether in the private, public, or not-for-profit
sectors. These trends bring opportunities and challenges to the business environment and drive (a)
change in organizations’ strategies and structures, and therefore (b) the nature and location of the
activities of finance functions.
Because, collectively, these drivers will determine the long-term success of organizations, they are
used in Part 4 as the basis of defining the key future activities of professional accountants in business.
They are summarized in Figure 2 below, and described in more detail in Appendix 2. Although the
drivers are not hierarchical, the first driver reflects the overriding need for all organizations to be
customer and stakeholder focused. The underlying premise is that an organization’s sustainability
will first depend on satisfying its customer and key stakeholder needs, with which all other aspects of
the organization can be aligned.




3
    Megatrends means a general shift in thinking or approach affecting countries, industries, and organizations.


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               Figure 2: Drivers of Sustainable Organizational Success




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Part 3: Positioning Professional Accountants in Business for the Future
The ability of professional accountants in business to help drive sustainable value creation will
depend on (a) gaining a range of professional skills, (b) a particular mindset and attitude, as well as
(c) undertaking certain activities based on the drivers of sustainable organizations identified above.
This paper focuses on establishing the expectations placed on professional accountants in business in
terms of the activities they will need to undertake (explored in Part 4), thereby extending beyond the
knowledge and skills that will be taught and tested in a professional education program. This section
highlights the professional competences and mindset needed by professional accountants in business.
The performance of a professional accountant in business derives from the acquisition of professional
skills and competence, as well as the demonstration of a mindset that represents an attitude of mind
and a way of thinking that governs the way professional skills are applied in practice.

Acquiring Professional Skills
International Education Standard 3, Professional Skills and General Education,4 usefully defines a
list of professional skills for professional accountants:
      Intellectual skills;
      Technical and functional skills;
      Personal skills;
      Interpersonal and communication skills; and
      Organizational and business management skills.
These professional skills are part of the set of capabilities required by professional accountants to
demonstrate competence. These capabilities include knowledge, skills, professional values, ethics,
and attitudes. The standard classifies a list of required skills (not exhaustive) under the five headings
above, and recognizes that not all these skills will be fully developed at the point of professional
qualification. Professional skills will be partly acquired during initial qualification and training, but
will need to be developed and honed throughout a career, often by performing different roles within
an organization and by undertaking continuing professional development and education.

The Mindset of Professional Accountants in Business
Gaining experience in different roles will also help with the acquisition of a mindset that
differentiates the most successful professional accountants in business. Employers are demanding a
broader range of professional and general business skills, which, if developed, improves the
versatility of the professional accountant in business. In addition, with experience, the most
successful professional accountants in business can typically also be characterized by a distinctive
attitude, outlook, or way of thinking. In this paper, we call this the “mindset” of a professional
accountant in business. Mindset encompasses an instinctive focus on financial performance and the
strategic allocation of resources in pursuit of organizational goals, supported by an analytical


4
    Issued by the International Accounting Education Standards Board.


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approach based on evidence. It facilitates the deployment of financial navigational skills that permit a
successful course to be charted for the organization, by overcoming organizational challenges and
proactively identifying opportunities. It also incorporates a resolve to challenge flawed analysis and
unsound, or unethical, decisions. The mindset complements formally taught skills, but cannot easily
be examined or regulated. The professional accountant’s mindset will need to embrace:

       Professionalism and ethical behavior
       Professional accountants should uphold high ethical standards in accordance with the Code of
       Ethics for Professional Accountants,5 which requires accountants to encourage an ethics-based
       culture in an employing organization that emphasizes the importance that senior management
       places on ethical behavior (see paragraph 300.5 of the Code). Therefore, professional
       accountants in business can support an organization’s code of conduct and ethics through their
       own behavior and actions.
       IFAC’s guidance on Defining and Developing an Effective Code of Conduct for Organizations
       highlights the important role that professional accountants play in driving and supporting
       organizational ethics and fostering a values-based organization. By applying a values-based
       approach, rather than relying only on written policies and rules, they can promote a culture that
       encourages employees to internalize the principles of integrity and to “do the right thing” by
       allowing them to make appropriate decisions given specific circumstances.

       Professional judgment
       Professional accountants in business carry out their roles in different modes, including
       directing, influencing, evaluating, and informing. Furthermore, the vast range of circumstances
       and situations that can arise in organizations of any type, industry, and size renders detailed
       prescription of rules ineffective for guiding management decisions. Therefore, the quality of
       professional judgment exercised becomes a differentiating factor for high-performing
       professional accountants in business. This includes having a healthy professional skepticism
       that relies on seeking evidenced-based decision making and challenging “received wisdom.”

       Organizational and environmental awareness
       As integrators, professional accountants in business can (a) link functional disciplines and
       organizational units, as well as (b) facilitate a common and unifying perspective on an
       organization’s business model and key success factors in relation to changing circumstances
       and environmental factors and trends. To play the role of integrator requires professional
       accountants in business to be cognizant and knowledgeable of other disciplines, such as
       technology, people and project management, and managing and measuring non-financial
       activities and performance, such as a carbon footprint. They should also be able to reconcile the
       big picture with the detailed aspects of operational performance.




5
     Issued by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants.


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      Being comfortable dealing with change, uncertainty, and complexity
      The professional accountant in business will have to apply professional skills to exercise
      rational, disciplined, objective, and rigorous analysis and judgment to often ambiguous and
      imperfect information. This will involve facilitating processes and behaviors that ensure high-
      quality useful financial and non-financial information to support governing bodies (boards),
      management, and other decision makers. Professional accountants in business will need to (a)
      show an ability to provide timely and accurate management information efficiently, and (b)
      combine business and financial expertise to inform decision making. Furthermore, given the
      complexity of international financial reporting standards and the gap between how information
      is reported externally and internally (for management), the ability to integrate internal and
      external reporting to give a useful picture of performance to all stakeholders is vital.

Large Versus Small- and Medium-Sized Organizations
The career and developmental path for professional accountants in business varies depending on the
type of organizations for which they work. In larger organizations, professional accountants in
business may pursue a range of roles to acquire specialist and generalist skills. Sometimes referred to
as a T-shaped professional, such an individual will have broad generalist finance knowledge and
strategy skills, complemented with a deep technical specialty in, for example, profitability analysis
and cost management, risk management and analysis, or financial reporting.
Professional accountants working in small- and medium-sized organizations will usually perform
multiple roles applying a broad range of skills, and will often act as generalists. Recognizing that
professional accountants play an important and varied role in such organizations, the PAIB
Committee published interviews with 10 senior-level accountants on their experiences in mid-sized
enterprises (MEs), titled The Crucial Roles of Professional Accountants in Business in Mid-Sized
Enterprises. The interviews provide an insight into the unique challenges that MEs confront and how
professional accountants can help to address these challenges:
(a)   Professional accountants are enablers of MEs’ performance. They provide crucial contributions
      to streamlining business plans; installing and improving management information systems;
      implementing process improvements; mitigating risks; strengthening relations with banks and
      investors and attracting capital; and other activities that enable the current and future success of
      their companies; and
(b)   Professional accountants operate as generalists in MEs. Although they specialize in finance and
      accounting management activities, they serve as an integral part of the management team and
      fulfill a wide variety of responsibilities beyond the finance and accounting discipline. They
      should be able “to wear many different hats and juggle many different balls at the same time.”




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Part 4: How Professional Accountants in Business Drive Sustainable
Performance
It is the thesis of this paper that the principal expectations of professional accountants in business are
derived from the activities they will need to perform to support the development of sustainable
organizations. Key activities are highlighted below under each of the four broad dimensions of the
roles professional accountants in business play: creators, enablers, preservers, and reporters of
sustainable value.
The format of the presentation is to, in relation to each of the drivers (a) summarize the required
activities of professional accountants in business, (b) provide a context, and (c) capture the key
expectations for professional accountants in business by role.
A summary of the key expectations for professional accountants in business is in the matrix at the
end of Part 4.
Each driver can be quickly accessed via the hyperlinks embedded in the diagram below (ctrl-click).


                            Customer and
                          Stakeholder Focus



                                                                         SUSTAINABLE ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS
                     Effective Leadership and
                              Strategy

                      Integrated Governance,
                          Risk and Control

                             Innovation and
                               Adaptability

                       Financial Management

                          People and Talent
                            Management

                          Strategy Execution

                    Effective and Transparent
                         Communication

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    Driver 1:    Professional Accountants Driving Customer and Stakeholder Focus

    To successfully drive (changes in) customer and stakeholder focus, professional accountants in
    business need to:
         Support an organization in its efforts to engage customers and stakeholders, and to facilitate
         an understanding of how they view the organization and its performance
         Develop in-depth knowledge and understanding of the critical drivers of customer and
         stakeholder value6
         Align the role of the finance function with wider organizational efforts to deliver customer
         and stakeholder value

Context
A sharper customer and stakeholder focus is vital to achieving sustainable success and is
facilitated by globalization and new technologies that, for example, (a) allow greater
decentralization, where decision making is close to the customer, and (b) facilitate greater
innovation by fostering collaborative relationships in a global network of strategic partners and
alliances. On the other hand, increased complexity means that organizations need to direct their
attention to many issues, which can easily cloud their view of changes in customer and other
stakeholder needs and necessary adjustments to their business model.
Professional accountants in business need to be a part of the effort to meet customer7 and other
stakeholder needs, and supporting their organizations in aligning all (other) drivers of sustainable
organizational success towards achieving increased customer and stakeholder focus. They should
also be positioned to work in partnership with other organizational functions to address
complexity and access customer insights. This will help to identify what customers want and
define value from their perspective, to ensure the cost-effective delivery of relevant products and
services.
Exactly how professional accountants help to nurture a customer-focused organization depends
on their position in an organization. At a leadership level, they should be positioned to help
foster a strong link between business strategy, governance, and sustainability, so that
organizations can ensure that customer and stakeholder focus goes hand in hand with the
objective of achieving sustainable value creation. In other positions, professional accountants, for
example, identify, understand, and monitor groups of customers and stakeholders to provide
appropriate decision-oriented information on changing customer and stakeholder needs.
A sharper focus on the internal customer is required, especially as organizations can increasingly
be seen as networks of customer-supplier relationships. Professional accountants in finance
functions have to fully support other functions, such as innovation, sales, and operations, and


6
      Stakeholder value is defined in the International Good Practice Guidance, Evaluating and Improving Governance in
      Organizations.
7
      In the public or governmental sector, customers might be referred to as public service users.


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proactively adapt their services to the changing needs of internal customers and help them in
their efforts to create value for customers.

Key Expectations on Professional Accountants in Business

 As creators of value            As enablers of value          As preservers of value          As reporters of value

 Facilitate a focus on           Ensure organizations make     Monitor and ensure that         Effectively communicate
 sustainable value creation      sustainable customer- and     organizations effectively       how value is delivered to
 by ensuring a strong link       stakeholder-focused           and efficiently achieve their   customers and stakeholders
 between strategy,               strategic and operational     strategic and operational       to internal management and
 governance, and                 decisions, implement          targets and goals               operations and, where
 sustainability to support the   appropriate strategies, and                                   appropriate, within external
 delivery of value to            evaluate their ongoing                                        reporting, such as the
 customers and stakeholders      relevance and success                                         annual report


 Driver 2:      Professional Accountants Driving Effective Leadership and Strategy

 To successfully drive (changes in) leadership and strategy to achieve sustainable value creation,
 professional accountants in business need to:
        Provide ethical and strategic leadership
        Evaluate strategic options with respect to the organization’s risk profile and appetite, and
        recommend optimal strategies
        Effectively articulate strategy and business case(s) for pursuing strategic options, and establish
        a strong business case to highlight how improved environmental and social performance can
        translate into enhanced business performance
        Support the strategic planning and implementation process with insight and analysis of the
        organization and its environment, and by understanding the information and decision needs of
        internal customers of the finance function

Context
Experienced professional accountants should be in a position to provide ethical and strategic
leadership in executive (C-suite) positions and senior management roles. This will involve (a) adding
value through setting the tone in the organization, (b) participating in strategy and planning to chart a
course for the organization, as well as (c) providing information and analysis and maintaining
strategic control and financial navigation to ensure execution of strategy. Professional accountants in
business should play a part in the key areas of strategic leadership: strategy (what do we want to
achieve?); values and attitudes (what do we stand for?); and the business model (how do we organize
to create, deliver, and capture value—economic, social, or other?).
They should also be positioned to influence the way their organizations integrate governance and
sustainability into their objectives, strategies, management, and definitions of success. Facilitating
sustainable organizations and ensuring sustainable value creation will involve professional
accountants in business in:

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      Challenging conventional assumptions of doing business, identifying risks, and seizing
      opportunities;
      Redefining sustainable success so that it is relevant in the context of the organization;
      Establishing appropriate performance targets;
      Encouraging and rewarding the right behaviors; and
      Ensuring that information flows to support decisions and to monitor and report performance go
      beyond the traditional ways of thinking about economic success.

Key Expectations on Professional Accountants in Business

 As creators of value           As enablers of value           As preservers of value          As reporters of value

 Set strategic direction by     Frame key questions and        Identify, prioritize, manage,   Provide management, as
 defining a value proposition   issues for consideration,      control, and mitigate           well as external
 that takes advantage of the    and providing managerial       strategic and operational       stakeholders, with analysis
 organization’s strengths and   and operational decision       risks within the context of     and insights on drivers of
 weaknesses, and being          makers with relevant insight   the adequacy of governance      sustainable value creation
 aware of the critical points   and analysis                   processes and practices
 at which an organization
 needs to make strategic
 decisions


 Driver 3:      Professional Accountants Driving Integrated Governance, Risk and Control

 To successfully drive (changes in) integrated governance, risk and control, professional accountants
 in business need to:
        Provide leadership on how risk and control integrates with leadership, strategy, and
        governance to ensure both compliance and performance
        Integrate governance, risk management, and control into the strategy, operations, and
        stakeholder communications of the organization
        Link effective governance, risk management, and control with ethical leadership, so that risk
        and control failures do not arise out of poor governance or unethical behaviors and practices
        Evaluate and improve governance, risk and control methodologies, systems, and processes in
        line with social, environmental, and economic changes.

Context
Professional accountants in business should be positioned to perform significant roles in integrating
and fostering close links between governance, risk management, and control so as to ensure that they
are not dealt with in functional silos. As integrators, professional accountants should be able to
ensure that control systems and processes support the delivery of the wider strategic objectives of an
organization, helping to identify opportunity and risk, as well as providing (internal) control over
financial reporting.

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Current terminology often refers to integrating governance, risk, and compliance (GRC), and is
increasingly associated with technology and how it can ease the burden of organizations of managing
and sharing information and dealing with risk and controls, given the sheer complexity of their
operations. The rising interest in the convergence of governance, risk, and compliance focuses on
better integration of policies, procedures and processes, and technology (systems) to minimize risk
exposure and comply with external and internal regulations, policies, or mandates. However, this
perspective (a) can inhibit reaching the ultimate objective that governance, risk and control will be
used to advance organizational objectives and execute strategy, and (b) can also mask the importance
of the behavioral factors that create sustainable value creation and ethical performance, such as
culture and values.
The role of professional accountants in business in evaluating and improving governance, risk and
control systems is a key theme of IFAC’s International Good Practice Guidance, Evaluating and
Improving Governance in Organizations, which emphasises that governance, risk and control
activities should be directed not only to meeting the demands of regulatory compliance
(conformance), but also to supporting the creation of value for stakeholders (performance).
Governance, risk and control, if effectively integrated, should result in an enterprise-wide control
system that:
      Supports executives/managers in moving an organization forward in a cohesive integrated and
      aligned manner to improve performance, while operating effectively, efficiently, ethically, and
      legally within risk-taking tolerances; and
      Integrates and aligns activities and processes related to planning, risk management,
      policies/procedures, culture, competency, internal audit, financial management, monitoring,
      and reporting.
Examples of poorly integrated governance, risk and control are provided in the analysis of the drivers
of sustainable value in Appendix 2.
In respect to risk management, professional accountants in business need to play a leading role in
ensuring that enterprise risk management forms an integral part of an organization’s governance
system and is delivered by line management. Professional accountants in business are increasingly
looked on to take the lead on risk management, in particular by orchestrating a common view on an
organization’s risk profile. Therefore, they should be seen to be able to facilitate the identification
and communication of the organization’s risk appetite and risk capacity, and to help to balance the
avoidance of risk with seizing opportunities in accordance with an organization’s risk appetite. In
encouraging an integrated enterprise approach to risk, professional accountants in business can also
ensure that risks are viewed and managed in a more holistic way, so that individual risks are not
assessed and dealt with in isolation, or in a linear, unconnected way.
Specifically in relation to (internal) control, professional accountants in business should help to
ensure that controls are embedded in processes with clear lines of accountability, rather than relying
on the adequacy of assurance from outside the process. Professional accountants in business should
also be able to document and demonstrate business processes and how owners are managing the
various risks and applying appropriate controls.



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Key Expectations on Professional Accountants in Business

 As creators of value            As enablers of value          As preservers of value        As reporters of value

 Facilitate an understanding     Implement enterprise risk     Evaluate policies,            Provide management, as
 of an organization’s            management and control as     procedures, and processes     well as external
 appetite for risk and deliver   a strategic activity and an   to manage governance, risk    stakeholders, with
 aligned and effective           integral part of an           and (internal) control        information on the
 governance, risk and            organization’s governance     systems, including control    organization’s opportunities
 control practices to achieve    system, as well as into all   objectives that support the   and risks, and the
 a balance between               other decision-making         delivery of an                performance of its
 conforming with rules and       processes in the              organization’s mission and    governance, risk
 regulations and driving         organization                  strategic objectives, in      management, control
 sustainable organizational                                    accordance with an            processes, and systems
 success                                                       established risk appetite


 Driver 4:      Professional Accountants Driving Innovation and Adaptability

 To successfully drive (changes in) innovative and adaptive capability, professional accountants in
 business need to:
        Assess how to approach managing and measuring the impact of innovation activities
        Facilitate the implementation of revised working methods, processes, and systems to support
        new products/services or approaches to their delivery
        Identify and facilitate the role of the finance and accounting function in supporting innovation
        and research and development (R&D), including incentivizing behaviors to support an
        adaptive capability

Context
Professional accountants in business should be able to support innovation in both the finance
function as well as in the wider organization, whether in relation to the way of doing business, or to
product or process.
In the wider organizational context, professional accountants in business should participate in
measuring, reporting, and evaluating innovative and adaptive performance and in improving the
innovative and adaptive capability of the organization.
As business partners, professional accountants can also be involved in and support each of the key
stages of innovation development, including innovation and opportunity selection, concept and
design definitions, product realization, and required production and service support. They should also
be able to manage the change management aspects of product and process innovation and change,
obtaining the buy-in of users where needed. In this regard, professional accountants will be expected
to ensure that new developments are properly researched, meet user requirements, and are thoroughly
tested and successfully implemented and embedded within the organization.
Within the context of the finance function and accounting innovations, professional accountants in
business should be able to adapt to changing circumstances, and to deliver innovative approaches to

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finance and accounting structures and processes, whether it be in relation to (a) delivering shared
services or outsourcing, (b) providing expert services (e.g., tax, risk management, merger and
acquisitions, and due diligence), or (c) providing financial leadership and support to the wider
organization. Regarding new accountancy innovation and adoption: tomorrow’s management
accountants should endeavor to understand the different opportunities innovations offer. This allows
them to shape the design and use of the innovation for their own organization. Making sensible
choices about which innovations to pursue, and driving those choices to the implementation stage, is
likely to become a key role for management accountants. This role might well stretch their technical
capabilities, but will also require an understanding of the broader (e.g., social and behavioral) issues
involved in implementing those innovations.8

Key Expectations on Professional Accountants in Business

    As creators of value         As enablers of value            As preservers of value        As reporters of value

    Manage innovation in the     Participate in the evaluation   Implement measures of         Report on innovative
    finance and accounting       and improvement of              innovation that objectively   capabilities and results and
    function to facilitate its   processes and incentives        assess their financial and    the impact of R&D
    development, and to          that facilitate and nurture     non-financial impact and      investment, and on future
    support its input into       innovation and adaptability     identify possible areas of    plans and priorities in
    developing an                                                improvement                   relation to R&D and other
    organization’s other                                                                       innovation activities
    innovation and R&D
    activities


    Driver 5:      Professional Accountants Driving Financial Management

    To successfully drive (changes in) financial management, professional accountants in business need
    to:
           Establish appropriate financial strategies and objectives, and a business and financial planning
           process to deliver an organization’s strategic objectives
           Evaluate financial implications, capital requirements, and expected returns of strategic options
           Ensure the efficiency, integrity, and effectiveness of processes and systems in financial
           reporting, and manage changes to financial reporting standards


Context
Financial management and navigation are, and will continue to be, at the core of what many
professional accountants do in organizations. The main activities of professional accountants should
continue to include:


8
       Risk Manager or Risqué Manager, The New Platform for the Management Accountant, Baldvinsdottir G., Burns J.,
       Nørreklit H., and Scapens R.


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      The provision, analysis, and interpretation of information to management for formulation
      of strategy, plans, decision making, and control;
      Performance management through cost determination and financial control, budgeting, and
      forecasting; and
      Corporate finance, including establishing financial objectives, capital planning and
      budgeting, working capital management, raising finances, and financial risk management.
The application of these roles will be no less important in the public sector. The Chartered
Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA’s) report, The Role of the Chief Financial
Officer in Public Service Organizations, also includes a principle on the role of the public sector
CFO in driving good financial management: The CFO in a public service organization must lead
the promotion and delivery by the whole organization of good financial management so that
public money is safeguarded at all times and used appropriately, economically, efficiently, and
effectively.9
Executive and independent board directors, in particular, need finance staff to provide clear and
concise information to support decision making and understanding of risk. To gain trust in their
abilities as both business stewards and as partners, professional accountants will need to
understand the needs of a range of decision makers at various organizational levels to provide (a)
value-added analysis, (b) high-quality advice that promotes solutions, and (c) interpretations of
financial issues and impacts.
A strong finance function underpins quality financial management, and will continue to involve
professional accountants in business who can deliver (a) effective and efficient enabling finance
operations (transaction processing, planning and budgeting, financial and business reporting,
financial and fraud risk management, etc.), and (b) wider business support to the organization in
the form of high-quality management information and decision support and financial leadership.
Effective financial management will also involve identifying disconnects and failures across
functional interfaces and process streams that detract from customer focus, hinder service
delivery, and increase operating costs. Professional accountants in business will need to be
prepared to look beyond their traditional departmental functions and targets and work effectively
with other support functions to learn about the effect of their actions on the overall support
services required in the organizational whole, and how it might affect the delivery of customer
and stakeholder value without waste (i.e., minimizing non-value-adding activities).




9
    CIPFA also provides a public financial management process architecture and a whole system context for financial
    management in the public sector that underpins the delivery of public services and helps achieve sustainable social
    outcomes.


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Key Expectations on Professional Accountants in Business

 As creators of value       As enablers of value           As preservers of value        As reporters of value

 Understand and interpret   Support directors,             Examine systems that          Provide a detailed
 the financial health of    management, and                generate financial and non-   knowledge of financial
 organizations and play a   operations in understanding    financial information and     reporting standards to
 leadership role in         the financial health of        ensure that they are          ensure that they are
 developing and             organizations and progress     working within prescribed     correctly applied
 implementing a financial   in delivering financial        standards of accuracy and
 strategy to deliver an     objectives, and providing      reliability, and that such
 organization’s strategic   the information and analysis   information realistically
 objectives                 needed to improve              reflects the performance of
                            sustainable value creation     the organization


 Driver 6:     Professional Accountants Driving People and Talent Management

 To successfully drive (changes in) people and talent management, professional accountants in
 business need to:
       Support the development of human resource and talent management strategies and policies
       focusing on skills requirements, career development, and retention of critical staff (whether in
       the finance function or the wider organization)
       Manage the finance function and its performance, including the quality of “business
       partnering” to the wider organization, and how it is perceived by customers of finance and
       accounting
       Understand how a talent management program and specific human resource policies and
       activities can apply to the finance function, for example in relation to ensuring adequate
       recruitment, retention, developing future finance and business leaders, effective succession
       planning, meeting future skills requirements, and recognizing high-performing employees and
       teams

Context
Professional accountants working as business leaders and managers will need to be able to deploy
people and talent management strategies, especially to retain critical staff and to engage talent. This
will also involve (a) exploiting new technologies to engage talent and expertise outside the
organization, and to stimulate collaboration and partnerships across organizational boundaries, and
(b) ensuring the alignment of incentives of all employees and collaborators with the accomplishment
of the organization’s strategic and operational objectives. Professional accountants working in
smaller organizations without human resource departments will often be expected to undertake
strategic and operational people management activities.
The development of the finance function to better support the wider organization to fulfill its
business objectives and to provide adequate stewardship and challenge (of flawed analysis and
unsound, or unethical, decisions) also requires leadership, talent management, and human resource


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policies and practices that support (a) hiring and retaining critical finance staff, (b) succession
planning, (c) the development of competence and skills of individuals and teams, and (d)
empowerment of finance staff. Greater empowerment of the finance function could also require a
clear mandate from the board and senior management to encourage a culture of scrutiny and
challenge, and to deal with cultural issues, such as a cultural reluctance in some offshore locations to
challenge experts and those in authority.
Professional accountants in business should be positioned to manage their own career path
development, as well as to manage the development of others when in managerial positions. A part
of this will also be designing reward structures and incentives to (a) encourage desired behavior, (b)
nurture the potential of key staff, and (c) foster a long-term view of sustainable value creation.

Key Expectations on Professional Accountants in Business

 As creators of value          As enablers of value           As preservers of value        As reporters of value

 Participate in identifying    Focus individual and team      Ensure a questioning          Report on how
 and implementing people       development on enhancing       mindset capable of            organizational investments
 and talent management         generalist skills, including   identifying risks and         in human capital
 strategies and policies for   an understanding of            opportunities and serve as    development lead to the
 the wider organization and    business context and           promoters of integrity,       generation of shareholder
 the finance function,         priorities, providing high-    transparency, and expertise   and stakeholder value
 including the alignment of    quality management
 incentives                    information and analysis
                               and “business partnering” to
                               gain trust within wider
                               organization


 Driver 7:      Professional Accountants Driving Strategy Execution

 To successfully drive (changes in) strategy execution, professional accountants in business need to:
        Implement performance management and measurement approaches and systems, including
        establishing performance metrics in light of strategic and operational goals and objectives, and
        evaluating performance against these
        Identify operational performance gaps for process and supply chain improvement so as to
        provide products and services with zero defects, on time, and at target cost
        Link different parts of the finance function so as to ensure high-quality internal financial and
        business management reporting feeds into effective external communications to stakeholders


Context
Professional accountants in business should be placed to manage financial and non-financial
resources and performance through the understanding of strategic goals and objectives and the
drivers of stakeholder value.



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As well as being able to implement frameworks and systems for measuring progress towards the
achievement of strategic goals and objectives, professional accountants in business should also be
positioned to design and implement process measurement and reporting systems, providing adequate
information and analysis to support operational feedback and continuous improvement activities.
Achieving operational excellence will continue to involve helping to ensure that products and
services are delivered with zero defects, on time, and at target cost. This will involve the strategic
deployment of management approaches, such as lean (total quality) management and Six Sigma.
Professional accountants in business should be in a position to use and advise on these management
approaches, as well as on the application of advanced management accounting tools, such as process
analysis, strategic and operational cost management, and resource consumption accounting.
Implementing performance measurement frameworks and systems to help foster a common view on
performance, and providing information that non-accountants find useful and understandable at an
operational level, involve being organizationally aware and attuned to the needs of others.

Key Expectations on Professional Accountants in Business

 As creators of value           As enablers of value         As preservers of value        As reporters of value

 Manage resources and           Support implementation of    Review strategic and          Design and implement
 performance through            strategic and operational    operational performance       performance-driven
 understanding the drivers of   performance management,      gaps for process and supply   strategic and process
 shareholder and stakeholder    measurement, and reporting   chain improvement and         measurement and reporting
 value and aligning             systems and processes        ensure that processes and     systems, and provide
 individual and                                              controls to detect and        adequate information and
 organizational goals and                                    prevent fraud are put in      analysis to support delivery
 objectives and rewards to                                   place                         of performance insights
 these drivers


 Driver 8:      Professional Accountants Driving Effective and Transparent Communication

 To successfully drive (changes in) effective and transparent communication, professional
 accountants in business need to:
        Implement business communications that respond to the expectations of stakeholders and
        connect business and financial reporting to all the drivers of sustainable organizations
        Evaluate and improve financial and business reports and enabling systems and processes,
        particularly to capture wider non-financial measures of social, environmental, and economic
        performance
        Prepare financial statements and business reports in compliance with standards and regulatory
        requirements by efficiently managing and adapting financial accounting and other
        performance measurement systems to respond to current and future developments




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Context
Flowing from their responsibilities in providing (a) financial leadership and navigation, (b)
performance management and measurement, and (c) the recording of financial transactions,
professional accountants in business have to support organizational transparency and credibility
through reporting and communication with internal and external stakeholders about strategy, its
execution, and performance of their organizations. This role will take on ever greater significance as
globalization, complexity, and technology increase the number of stakeholders and their information
needs. The enlarged social, environmental, and economic footprint of many organizations causes a
greater demand from various stakeholder groups for accountability information. Furthermore,
organizations and their operations are not only becoming increasingly more complex, but also have
to deal with more complex rules and regulations. This challenges their ability to report and
communicate in a concise and understandable way. These developments have led to increasingly
voluminous, complex, and compliance-focused business and financial reports.
And to add to the challenges, regulators and standard setters across jurisdictions have often acted
independently of each other, meaning that many organizations are confronted with multiple sets of
compliance and reporting requirements. Professional accountants in business should be placed to
support their organizations by implementing better approaches and emerging techniques such as
short form reports, XBRL, and video streams to better meet stakeholders’ demands. Professional
accountants in business will also be expected to take the lead in helping investors and stakeholders
understand historical, current, and potential performance by providing clear messages and narratives
to explain an organization’s strategy, execution, and performance.

Key Expectations on Professional Accountants in Business

 As creators of value         As enablers of value            As preservers of value         As reporters of value

 Prepare high-quality         Support transparent             Internal audit of              Capture financial
 business and financial       communication and               information systems and        transactions and non-
 communication and            reporting internally and        processes, as well as the      financial measures of
 reporting to enable          externally with material        performance information        performance, and prepare
 managers, investors, and     information and analysis        itself, so as to ensure        high-quality business
 stakeholders to make an      and effective presentation to   objectivity both in fact and   reporting to stakeholders,
 informed assessment of the   investors and other             appearance                     including investors,
 organization’s performance   stakeholders, while at the                                     customers, employees,
 and prospects                same time ensuring that                                        regulators, and suppliers
                              financial statement
                              presentation fairly
                              represents an organization’s
                              performance




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Summary of the Expectations Placed Upon Professional Accountants in Business

                                     Roles     Creators of value                    Enablers of value                    Preservers of value                 Reporters of value
                                               Typical job titles:                  Typical job titles:                  Typical job titles:                 Typical job titles:
                                                   Executive director                   Business unit controller             Risk and business assurance         Head of financial or business
                                                                                                                             manager                             reporting
                            Drivers of             CFO/FD                               Manager of finance and
                                                   Controller                           accounting department                Governance and compliance           Financial/performance analyst
                            Sustainable                                                 Management information/              manager                             Investor relations manager
                                                   Director/Head of strategy and
                            Organizations          planning                             analysis department manager          Internal audit department/
                                                                                        Financial or performance             business assurance manager
                                                   Change management
                            ↓                      lead/coordinator                     manager/analyst


                            Customer and       Facilitate a focus on sustainable    Ensure organizations make            Monitor and ensure that org-        Effectively communicate how
                                               value creation by ensuring a         sustainable customer- and            anizations effectively and          value is delivered to customers
                            Stakeholder        strong link between strategy,        stakeholder-focused strategic        efficiently achieve their           and stakeholders to internal
                            Focus
     IMPACT OF MEGATRENDS




                                               governance, and sustainability to    and operational decisions,           sustainable strategic and           management and operations
                                               support the delivery of value to     implement appropriate                operational targets and goals       and, where appropriate, within
                                               customers and stakeholders           strategies, and evaluate their                                           external reporting, such as the
                                                                                    ongoing relevance and success                                            annual report

                            Effective          Set strategic direction by           Frame key questions and issues       Identify, prioritize, manage,       Provide management, as well as
                                               defining a value proposition that    for consideration, and providing     control, and mitigate strategic     external stakeholders, with
                            Leadership and     takes advantage of the               managerial and operational           and operational risks within the    analysis and insights on drivers
                            Strategy           organization’s strengths and         decision makers with relevant        context of the adequacy of          of sustainable value creation
                                               weaknesses, and being aware of       insight and analysis                 governance processes and
                                               the critical points at which an                                           practices
                                               organization needs to make
                                               strategic decisions

                            Integrated         Facilitate an understanding of an    Implement enterprise risk            Evaluate policies, procedures,      Provide management, as well as
                                               organization’s appetite for risk     management and control as a          and processes to manage             external stakeholders, with
                            Governance, Risk   and deliver aligned and effective    strategic activity and an integral   governance, risk and (internal)     information on the organization’s
                            and Control        governance, risk and control         part of an organization’s            control systems, including          opportunities and risks, and the
                                               practices to achieve a balance       governance system, as well as        control objectives that support     performance of its governance,
                                               between conforming with rules        into all other decision-making       the delivery of an organization’s   risk management, control
                                               and regulations and driving          processes in the organization        mission and strategic objectives,   processes, and systems
                                               sustainable organizational                                                in accordance with an
                                               success                                                                   established risk appetite

                            Innovation and     Manage innovation in the finance     Participate in the evaluation and    Implement measures of               Report on innovative capabilities
                                               and accounting function to           improvement of processes and         innovation that objectively         and results and the impact of
                            Adaptability       facilitate its development, and to   incentives that facilitate and       assess its financial and non-       R&D investment, and future
                                               support its input into developing    nurture innovation and               financial impact and identify       plans and priorities
                                               an organization’s other              adaptability                         possible areas of improvement
                                               innovation and R&D activities



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                                   Roles   Creators of value                       Enablers of value                        Preservers of value                      Reporters of value
                                           Typical job titles:                     Typical job titles:                      Typical job titles:                      Typical job titles:
                                                Executive director                      Business unit controller                 Risk and business assurance             Head of financial or business
                       Drivers of               CFO/FD                                  Manager of finance and                   manager                                 reporting
                                                Controller                              accounting department                    Governance and compliance               Financial/performance analyst
                       Sustainable                                                                                               manager
                                                Director/Head of strategy and           Management information/                                                          Investor relations manager
                       Organizations            planning                                analysis department manager              Internal audit department/
                                                                                        Financial or performance                 business assurance manager
                       ↓                        Change management
                                                lead/coordinator                        manager/analyst

                       Financial           Understand and interpret the            Support directors, management,           Examine systems that generate            Provide a detailed knowledge of
                                           financial health of organizations and   and operations in understanding the      financial and non-financial infor-       financial reporting standards to
                       Management          play a leadership role in developing    financial health of organizations and    mation and ensure that they are          ensure that they are correctly
                                           and implementing a financial            progress in delivering financial         working within prescribed stan-          applied
                                           strategy to deliver an organization’s   objectives, and providing the            dards of accuracy and reliability,
IMPACT OF MEGATRENDS




                                           strategic objectives                    information and analysis needed to       and that such information
                                                                                   improve sustainable value creation       realistically reflects the performance
                                                                                                                            of the organization

                       People and Talent   Participate in identifying and          Focus individual and team                Ensure a questioning mindset             Report on how organizational
                                           implementing people and talent          development on enhancing                 capable of identifying risks and         investments in human capital
                       Management          management strategies and               generalist skills, including an          opportunities and serve as               development lead to the generation
                                           policies for the wider organization     understanding of business context        promoters of integrity, transparency,    of shareholder and stakeholder
                                           and the finance function, including     and priorities, providing high-quality   and expertise                            value
                                           the alignment of incentives             management information and
                                                                                   analysis and “business partnering”
                                                                                   to gain trust within wider
                                                                                   organization

                       Strategy            Manage resources and per-               Support implementation of strategic      Review strategic and operational         Design and implement
                                           formance through understanding          and operational performance              performance gaps for process and         performance-driven strategic and
                       Execution           the drivers of shareholder and          management, measurement, and             supply chain improvement and             process measurement and
                                           stakeholder value and aligning          reporting systems and processes          ensure that processes and controls       reporting systems, and provide
                                           individual and organizational goals                                              to detect and prevent fraud are put      adequate information and analysis
                                           and objectives and rewards to                                                    in place                                 to support delivery of performance
                                           these drivers                                                                                                             insights

                       Effective and       Prepare high-quality business and       Support transparent communication        Internal audit of information            Capture financial transactions and
                                           financial communication and             and reporting internally and             systems and processes, as well as        non-financial measures of
                       Transparent         reporting to enable managers,           externally with material information     the performance information itself,      performance, and prepare high-
                       Communication       investors, and stakeholders to          and analysis and effective               so as to ensure objectivity both in      quality business reporting to
                                           make an informed assessment of          presentation to investors and other      fact and appearance                      stakeholders, including investors,
                                           the organization’s performance and      stakeholders, while at the same                                                   customers, employees, regulators,
                                           prospects                               time ensuring that financial                                                      and suppliers
                                                                                   statement presentation fairly
                                                                                   represents an organization’s
                                                                                   performance



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Appendix 1: Megatrends and Emerging Issues Driving Change in the Business
Environment
Globalization
The globalization of trade, resources, operations, products and services, economic cycles, and capital
markets, has been one of the motors for socio-economic development and the creation (and
destruction) of wealth. In an increasingly globalized world, products can be produced anywhere,
using resources located anywhere, by a company situated anywhere, and selling anywhere.
The interconnectedness of increasingly global markets presents opportunities and challenges.
Challenging issues for organizations, governments, and international organizations include the need
for (a) more effective governance, regulation, and oversight, as well as (b) more effective political
and organizational infrastructures and processes to minimize the risks associated with the
globalization process.
Two significant global issues will impact organizations and markets and hence the role of
professional accountants in business. The first is the diffusion of economic power in the global
economy across a wider range of regions and countries, underpinned by the deployment of
information technology, greater economic openness, and the growing size and reach of multinational
companies.10 The second issue is sustainable development, and in particular climate change, which
has now become a defining issue of our era. With this increased attention has come an increased
demand for reliable decision-making information.
The quest for sustainable development is already starting to transform the competitive landscape,
which will force companies to change the way they think about products, technologies, processes,
and business models.11 Increased social, environmental, and economic pressures will also force
organizations across the globe to better meet demands for more transparency, ethical commitments,
and improved approaches to delivering governance, risk and internal control structures and
processes.

Complexity
Complexity drives a multitude of challenges. A growing world population demands new, better,
faster and cheaper products and services with ever more choice and options. This all adds to the
complexity of the economic cycle and the need to implement strategies more quickly and efficiently.
Speed to market, short product lifecycles, narrower profit windows, and fragmentation of mass
markets into niche markets (mass customization) bring significant changes to management
philosophies, structures, strategies for success, and performance and financial management.
This increased economic activity creates all kinds of governance, safety, environmental, and social
side effects that society wants to keep in check. Complexity can also result from a low-trust
environment between business, governments, and the wider public, and is likely to get worse when


10
     Accenture, Strategies for achieving high performance in a multi-polar world
11
     Why Sustainability is now the key driver of innovation, Harvard Business Review, September 2009


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social, environmental, or economic conditions deteriorate. This potentially leads to greater
expectations and regulation unless adequately addressed by organizations and markets.
Complexity is best tackled with a talented and empowered workforce. Information and knowledge
drives innovative answers to complexity, and where it is shared and leveraged is more likely to lead
to speed, innovation, and greater competitiveness. Creative problem solving in multi-disciplinary
teams is essential to economic viability, and protecting the environment and operating in a socially
responsible way.
Regulators and standard setters will also have to accept their responsibility for tackling complexity.
Shifting from more to better and evidence-based regulation and oversight would enable organizations
to more effectively and efficiently create stakeholder value and to properly account for how they are
doing so. In addition, global convergence of standards and regulation, as well as global coordination
of oversight could also help reduce complexity and the cost of business.

Technology
High-speed technological forces continue to create an environment where rapid pace of innovation is
critical to success. Technological evolution opens up new dimensions for further growth with a
constant stream of new products and services, delivered via new development, production,
marketing, and distribution methods. In organizations, technology allows greater decentralization
where decision making is close to the customer and public service user. It also facilitates greater
innovation by fostering collaborative relationships among a network of strategic partners and
alliances.
Improved information and communication technology enables access to greater business intelligence
that drives management insight into customers and public service users and market dynamics. As
greater complexity increases the amount of data held by organizations, analytical and decision-
making capabilities will feature more than ever. Good decisions will, as ever, be rooted in insightful
analysis supported by professional judgment.




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Appendix 2: A Closer Look at the Eight Drivers of Sustainable Organizations
The eight drivers of sustainable organizations have been identified by drawing on the megatrends in
Appendix 1 and various sources, including The CIMA Business Success Wheel and management
and quality frameworks, such as the European Foundation for Quality Management and (US-based)
Baldrige National Quality Program. Such management and quality frameworks enable organizations
to improve overall performance, define what they do, and explain why they do it.
Although it is not the purpose of this analysis to provide a definition of organizational success and
sustainable performance, it is likely to be strongly connected to achieving sustainable value creation
in the longer term or, in the public and not-for-profit sectors, desired and affordable policy and social
outcomes. Long-term sustainable success requires responsible organizations to direct their strategies
and operations to achieving sustainable economic, social, and environmental performance.

Customer and Stakeholder Focus
A company must create value for customers to create value for shareholders and stakeholders, and
can only do so without neglecting the expectations of other stakeholders. Customer focus is an
organizational orientation toward satisfying the needs of potential and actual customers. Customer
focus and aligning an organization with the market is a precursor to sustainable performance.
Similarly, in the public and not-for-profit sectors, sustainable performance is strongly linked to
meeting stakeholder expectations and the quality of delivery to service users. Achieving customer
and stakeholder focus involves ensuring that the whole organization, and not just front-line service
staff, puts its customers and key stakeholder groups first.
Sustainable organizations share a common feature in that they configure all activities, from the
planning of a new product or service to its production and fulfillment, marketing, and after-sales care,
around the customer and public service user. In every sector, this can be aided by (a) practicing good
customer relationship management, (b) maintaining a customer and stakeholder relations or
engagement program, and (c) ensuring that all functions, including finance and accounting, are
geared to supporting customer-focused decisions. In a public sector context, a broader view will
include clarifying the desired outcomes of various stakeholders, including processes and capabilities
required to deliver these outcomes to public service users.

Effective Leadership and Strategy
The major attributes of sustainable organizations derive from effective and respected leadership,
which in turn enables coherent and focused strategy and execution. Effective leadership relies on a
deep understanding of (a) customer and stakeholder needs, (b) the organization’s capabilities to
generate the required products and services, as well as (c) the opportunities and threats that stem
from its competitive environment. Above all, effective leadership and strategy focuses on sustainable
value creation over the long term. In decision-making processes, this means that long-term
consequences of decisions should be taken into account, including how they impact operations,
customers, employees, and the reputation of the organization.
Effective leaders articulate vision and strategy, and put into place key enablers of performance,
including strong corporate values, ethical culture, and organizational structures and processes to


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execute the organization’s strategic goals and objectives. Effective leadership creates an environment
in which an organization possesses an ability to learn, and to put into practice what it has learned
more quickly than its competitors to deliver customer and stakeholder value.

Integrated Governance, Risk and Control
Governance, risk and control are key elements in enabling sustainable organizations, as well as
enhancing investor and wider stakeholder confidence. IFAC’s earlier Enterprise Governance case
study research highlighted that failure was attributed to four key governance aspects:
        Culture and tone at the top;
        Dominant CEOs with unfettered power;
        Insufficient oversight and independent challenge from boards of directors; and
        Inadequate risk management and control systems.
Ultimately, sustainable value creation will depend on how well organizations can integrate their
governance, risk management, and control systems in all their activities. Stand-alone or ill-conceived
governance, risk management or control systems usually lead to higher costs and sub-optimal
performance. Examples of poorly integrated governance, risk and control are:
(a)     Compliance- or conformance-focused governance: A focus on conformance covers issues such
        as board structures and roles and executive remuneration. However, the performance of an
        organization requires focus on strategy and value creation. Good governance on its own cannot
        make an organization successful.
(b)     Risk management as a separate function or process: Risk management cannot be outsourced at
        either the strategic or operational level. Boards are responsible for risk oversight, and senior
        management is responsible for integrating oversight and risk management across the
        organization. Line management should deal with risk as part of their roles and responsibilities
        and within the context of the risk appetite and tolerances set by management. Risk
        management and internal control systems should be linked and not treated as silo activities.
(c)     Internal control overly focused on financial reporting: Although providing control in relation
        to financial reporting is important to detecting and preventing fraud, effective control systems
        should link to the wider organizational risks to help an organization exploit opportunities and
        manage strategic and operational risks.
Sustainable organizations integrate effective governance structures and processes with performance-
focused risk management and control systems in all their activities. Fostering good governance is
more than a compliance exercise; governance should permeate all facets of the organization, so that it
becomes part of an organization’s “DNA.”12 Sustainable organizations focus on structure and
process as well as culture, competency, and systems to support effective governance structures.




12
      See IFAC’s IGPG on Evaluating and Improving Governance in Organizations.


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Innovation and Adaptability
Sustainable organizations have an innovative and adaptive capability to meet changing market
demands. They continually innovate their products and services, and adapt their structure, processes,
and systems to changed circumstances.
Innovation can be (a) incremental, allowing for continuous improvement in products/services and
processes supporting delivery, or (b) disruptive, where the innovation changes the nature of the
market and competitive forces. Given the globalization, complexity, and technology trends
highlighted in Appendix 1, organizations are faced with delivering a rapid pace of customer-focused
innovation and adapting continuously to changed circumstances.
Specific opportunities are becoming prominent, for example, the so-called “green” economic
development, which will depend on delivering innovative solutions to current sustainability
challenges. By treating sustainability as a goal today, early movers will develop knowledge and
competence that rivals will be hard pressed to match. That competitive advantage will stand them in
good stead, as sustainability is an integral part of effective innovation and adaption. (Why
Sustainability is Now the Key Driver of Innovation, Harvard Business Review, September 2009).

Financial Management
Sustainable organizations will always have strong financial management underpinning their
decisions and performance, taking into account the opportunities and threats that stem from increased
globalization, complexity, and technology. The financial health of a company supports investment in
future growth and is important in supporting wider social and community goals (i.e., to support
employment and government tax revenues, etc.).
Effective management of financial performance objectives that is based on achieving sustainable
economic growth helps to ensure long-term sustainability. Sustainable organizations ensure that
financial strategy and navigation support long-term economic viability rather than focusing on short-
term earnings performance.
Such organizations have well-developed planning and forecasting at an organizational level, as well
as for specific business processes. A deep understanding of and insight into historical, current, and
potential performance forms the basis of developing strategy and setting credible stakeholder and
market expectations. Confidence in articulating where an organization is going financially helps
improve access to capital and confidence of stakeholders. Effective financial management also
involves delivering financial leadership in tax and treasury, cost and profitability improvement,
mergers and acquisitions, and raising finance and capital.

People and Talent Management
Organizations that retain and attract talent tend to outperform competitors. According to Watson
Wyatt Human Capital Index®: Human Capital As a Lead Indicator of Shareholder Value, superior
human capital practices not only are correlated with financial returns, but also are a leading indicator
of increased shareholder value. Sustainable organizations typically treat people and talent
management as a strategic function and key value driver to their organizational success. It has taken
on greater importance over recent years because, in many markets, skilled labor is in increasingly


36
                                        COMPETENT AND VERSATILE
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short supply. Globalization and technology not only open up access to new talent, they also increase
global competition for such resources.
People and talent management are also significant success factors in the development of financial
leadership and the finance function. The accountancy profession has been impacted by globalization
and the growing economic interdependence of countries, creating an increasingly competitive market
for the services of professional accountants. Enhanced global and regional mobility has created a
transient global finance workforce that puts pressure on an organization’s recruitment and retention
capabilities. Ensuring that finance functions have the right people with the right skills, organization,
motivation, and empowerment will be crucial in managing the uncertain times ahead (Talent and the
finance function, Cutting through the complexity, PricewaterhouseCoopers).

Strategy Execution
Sustainable organizations will generally have a clear focus on key drivers of organizational success
that is widely shared throughout the organization and its key stakeholders. Such a focus is achieved
by cascading strategies downwards into operational and tactical plans. Sustainable organizations are
disciplined in ensuring that (a) resource allocation decisions align with strategic direction, goals, and
objectives, and (b) performance measurement and reporting systems measure progress towards the
achievement of strategic and operational objectives.
To better support decision making and performance measurement, sustainable organizations will
have decision processes and enabling information management and technology to support insightful
financial and non-financial performance information (measures dealing with customers, internal
processes, employees, and suppliers) and analysis. This business intelligence provides insight into the
key drivers of shareholder and stakeholder value, and allows for better alignment of accountability
for results, and rewards and recognitions. Performance insights will also support operational
excellence and help to ensure that products and services are delivered with zero defects, on time, and
at target cost.

Effective and Transparent Communication
Effective stakeholder engagement involves managing stakeholder expectations in a way that does not
compromise the long-term sustainability of the organization. This involves a systematic and carefully
planned approach to engaging and dialoguing with various stakeholders. Investor relations and
business reporting, particularly through effective management commentary and narrative reporting,
are opportunities for management to provide investors and other stakeholders with the (a) longer-
term prospects for an organization, as well as (b) a rationale and explanation for its vision, strategies,
and results. Sustainable organizations tend to excel in their reporting in terms of readability,
usefulness, and relevance.




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