Recently, the ACCA published a paper ‘Professional Accountants – The Future’ in which they outlined key drivers of change and future skills of accountants in public practice. In this report, the ACCA outlined 7 professional quotients as necessary requirements for future accountants.
This paper suggests that to add value for their employers and clients, the professional accountant of the future will need an optimal and changing combination of professional competencies: a collection of technical knowledge, skills and abilities, combined with interpersonal behaviours and qualities. By 2020, all professional accountants will need to develop and balance the necessary professional quotients to fit their role and stage of career.
Each accountant’s professional quotients (PQ) will reflect their competency and skill across seven constituent areas. Technical skills and ethics (TEQ) and experience (XQ) will be combined with intelligence (IQ) and digital awareness (DQ); interpersonal behaviours, skills and qualities will be reflected in quotients for creativity (CQ), emotional intelligence (EQ) and vision (VQ). Just as individual IQ scores can be raised (sometimes significantly) by appropriate teaching, experience, training and development, so too can TEQ, CQ, EQ, VQ and XQ.
Although technical expertise is vital, and will remain so, over the period to 2025 some areas of technical knowledge and skills will increase in value, others will decrease, and new knowledge and skills will be required. What is considered the ‘optimal’ mix will vary across specialist domains, roles, organisations, industries and geographies, and it will evolve in response to change. The requirement for professional accountants at all levels of seniority and in all roles to maintain the highest levels of ethical conduct, independence and professional sceptism will remain constant.