A survey was conducted by ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) in a report entitled Sustainability and Business: The Next Ten Years, where 4 500 ACCA students were interviewed. This survey was done to get the students’ opinions, as future financial professionals, on how the macro global sustainability trends will affect business and the impact of these pressures on the role of a financial professional.

The report, created from the survey, focuses  on three main factors:

-the instability of financial markets
-the deterioration of natural resources and
-the global population explosion.

The findings of this report varied from continent to continent, but they all lead to one conclusion. A percentage of 81% of the students believe that the deterioration in natural resources would have the most impact on business in 2024. While in South Africa, 70% of students believe that the growth in global population would have the most impact in business. A further 67% of respondents in the Caribbean and Africa believe that the instability in financial markets would leave its effects in business operating there.

“The macro global trends are a major factor in a financial professional’s role”, Karen Smal, Acting Head of ACCA South Africa.

“It is only natural that the accountant should be most qualified to quantify the costs of environmental negligence and sustainability, and report these to other officers”, said one ACCA Student during the survey.

The role of financial professionals goes beyond activities that affect the profit of the organisation they work for, but the role requires one’s activities to positively impact the world they live in, and leave it in a better state than before. The ACCA report seeks to see what professionals believe the business world will be like in 2024. It checks our current patterns to better prepare us for tomorrow.

The question is, do financial professionals care what tomorrow looks like? And if they do, are they prepared to do what is needed in order to make sure the future is brighter than today?

What is ACCA?

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. This organisation aims to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 170,000 members and 436,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers.