Zoya Malik, Group Editor, International Accounting Bulletin and The Accountant caught up with Narayanan Vaidyanathan Head of Business Insights, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) presenting at the virtual DAF 2020 & Awards to hear about how digital innovation can help improve career progression

Zoya Malik: What is the service your company offers to the accountancy industry?

Narayanan Vaidyanathan: ACCA’s a global professional accountancy body, offering qualifications for people to qualify as Chartered Certified Accountants. We also regulate our members and practising firms. We operate in 176 countries, working with governments and other professional accountancy bodies to build the profession the world needs, adhering to our values of innovation, integrity and inclusion.

           ZM: What is the topic of your presentation? Why is this this important now?

NV: My presentation is Meaningful work for the digital professional. It’s an insightful session about a recent report of the same name we published with EY. I’ll be exploring how digital promotes careers that are intellectually stretching and driven by a renewed sense of purpose. These opportunities are particularly relevant as experience in new ways of working due to Covid-19, with an acceleration of the digital agenda. Work satisfaction is a fundamental building block of a happy and successful life, and for accountancy and finance professionals, digital tools offer new possibilities for that, outlasting the economic challenges posed by the global pandemic.


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ZM: What value is there for your organisation to partner with the DAF  2020 & Awards conference?

NV: There’s immense value for ACCA, especially in these very unusual Covid-19 times. This conference is an opportunity for us to connect with new audiences, and work with others on a very relevant event.


ZM: How are you tackling Covid 19 challenges for your clients and partners?

NV: We’re being proactive, thinking and looking ahead to create professional insights that are relevant and timely – such as our report Digitisation and the global pandemic. This explores ACCA’s Act, Analyse and Anticipate road to recovery framework, with a specific focus on the digital environment. The role of the profession is critical for this recovery; and digital technology is a very important component too.

ACCA’s a massive network of connected members, future members, employers, learning providers and others, so there’s a huge sense of strengthening that network during Covid-19. We’re all in this together, so sharing ideas, advice and innovative thinking is essential – and events like DAF 2020 help us do this even more.

ZM: What are any new products and services your organisation is launching in H2 2020?

NV: Linked to this digital theme, we’ve recently launched three courses of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for our members – a Fintech Track including Robotics in finance – the future; Machine learning: an introduction for finance professionals; and Cyber security – the role of finance leaders. From October 2020, we’ll be focusing on ethics and sustainability. These are exceptional times, and society’s values are shifting faster than ever as citizens seek a fairer and more ethical world. There’ll be a body of work from my Professional Insights colleagues on this theme, looking to answer questions such as how are businesses and economies recovering in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis? What’s the impact on the natural world and which livelihoods have been most impacted? And what’s the profession’s role in all this?