New capability model to help shape profession of the future

CA ANZ has developed a new Capability Model to help guide our work shaping and strengthening the accounting profession of the future.

In brief

  • New Capability Model to inform and guide the development of the accounting profession
  • Capabilities of ‘accountant of the future’ explained in model backed by extensive research
  • The Model will improve firms’ and individuals’ ability to be flexible, innovative, adaptable and responsive

The model outlines the ideal skills, knowledge, personal attributes and experiences of accountants at different stages of their career. It is the product of extensive research and broad consultation as a strategic response to the disruptive changes in the profession with advancing technology and business processes worldwide.

"Our findings highlight that future leaders in the profession will be critical thinkers, problem solvers and great communicators and collaborators – and that these capabilities, when complementing technical knowledge, are becoming more and more critical in ensuring career success and sustainability."
Peter Rupp FCA, President CA ANZ.

New technology has disrupted almost every job and profession, affecting people's roles and work activities, and radically changing employers' expectations of the skilled workforce they need to navigate future growth.

As part of our strategic response to these changes, CA ANZ has released a new Capability Model to inform and guide the development of the accounting profession.

The model arose from an extensive process of research and consultation that began in late 2017. It included scientific analysis of 10 recent global accounting and leadership frameworks, surveying 2000 members, holding workshops and focus groups as well as collaborating with academics and global partners undertaking similar research in other fields.

Participants were asked:

  • Which non-technical capabilities are most relevant to current work and important to develop for future work roles?
  • Which capabilities are perceived to be the highest priorities for Chartered Accountants ANZ members?
  • Which capabilities should Chartered Accountants ANZ focus on to build a sustainable future for our profession?

As part of the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA), we drew on the research and competency frameworks developed by member institutions, in particular, from Canada, Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, South Africa and the Accounting Professional Ethical & Standards Board.

We held follow-up workshops and focus groups with a broad cross-section of participants, from students to mid-career accountants and executives, as well as academics, business leaders and others engaged with the accounting profession.

The Capability Model is structured around four 'Domains' – Business (business context), Leadership (people and future), Personal (mindset and intellect) and Technical (professional expertise). These are applied to the three different stages of an accountant's career: early-career, leader and executive.

The Model will improve firms' and individuals' ability to be flexible, innovate, adapt and respond with agility and maintain resilience in the face of challenges.

The domains also consider emotions and cognitive factors to provide an insight into the skills, knowledge, personal attributes and mindsets that an accountant should develop throughout their career. Employability in a world where the nature of work is changing will be invaluable.

The Capability Model's scaffolding is mapped to the tertiary training available for prospective accountants, specifically the graduate attributes or learning outcomes that are a regulatory requirement.

As a professional body, CA ANZ sought to ensure that the Capability Mode responds to what we know employers are looking for. Our research demonstrates that these professional skills extend beyond discipline-specific curricula.

The model links the development of these capabilities to the CA Program itself and informs the continuing professional development (CPD) that reinforces the lifelong journey of a CA ANZ member.

Our research suggests that accountants of the future will face exciting and creative roles, helping to:

  • expand and deepen business relationships with clients in all industries, with more flair dynamism and online contact. translate complex data and present it to clients in an easily understandable and relevant format.
  • formulate strategy for clients, conduct feasibility studies, business cases, compliance audits, risk analysis and evaluate transformation programs, as they become an integral lever in their clients' progress.

The Capability Model is a conversation starter and an impetus to encourage people to reflect on the capabilities critical for their future success, individually or as leaders within their own businesses or firms.

The model will inform the creation of self-assessment tools and professional development courses and is central to our efforts to help our members, their organisations and communities stay relevant, succeed and prosper. We plan to have a renewed CA Program in place by late 2021.

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