Mark Lester, Chief Partnerships Officer for FourthRev

Fourthrev (@fourthrev) and ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, @ACCANews) are announcing today their partnership, beginning with the launch of a global ‘Financial Analytics Programme’. The online programme is designed for integration into the curriculum of accounting and finance degrees and can also be used standalone by recently qualified accountants. Addressing feedback from the accounting and finance industry, the programme will enable learners to develop their mindset, communication and modern financial analytics capabilities essential for forward-thinking finance professionals in the age of big data. The programme, totalling 150 hours of study and developed to meet the academic standards for undergraduate level courses, will be guided by leading financial experts and built-in collaboration with industry partners including Tech Mahindra to provide authentic business projects.   

The programme was created following interviews with several major accounting firms and multinational corporations in the UK, India and SE Asia including EY, Baker Tilly, KPMG, and Tech Mahindra. These interviews revealed that the accounting profession is fundamentally changing as big data, technology and AI automate up to 42% of traditional finance activities, according to a study by McKinsey. Most new accountancy positions require graduates to be able to act more like business partners, who are able to question, evaluate, and interpret operational and financial information to generate insights and convey those insights appropriately to stakeholders, informed by wider industry knowledge. But according to this consultation prospective accountancy graduates not only need education in modern financial analytics, but crucially in the ‘human’ skills that will enable graduates to effectively engage and advise stakeholders across an organisation.

As a result, the programme has a fundamental focus on combining ‘human’ skills with key technical capabilities and will support learners in developing:

  • Critical thinking skills to ask the right questions of data to address business requirements
  • Frameworks and approaches to conduct financial analytics, drawing upon datasets and their wider knowledge of the company/industry
  • Technical skills with Excel and Tableau to perform analytics and develop insights and dashboards
  • Methods to create compelling narratives to convey insights in slide presentation
  • Best practice ways to communicate with internal and external stakeholders 
  • Positive behaviours around continuous learning and taking initiative 

Mark Lester, Chief Partnerships Officer for FourthRev commented:

“We are delighted to announce our partnership with ACCA and our work together to build up the new skills needed for the future of the finance and accountancy profession.  Across the globe the role of finance and accounting professionals is fundamentally changing, leaving many of today’s graduates less equipped for an increasingly advisory and consulting role. For a successful career they now require a whole new set of skills. This programme will align graduate skills with the future of accounting and prepare learners for the changing world of work.”

Lalit Katyal, CFO – Enterprise America Business Unit at Tech Mahindra said:

“We are strongly supportive of the skills being developed by this programme for the benefit of the wider industry.  The programme will provide newly qualified accountants with the human skills that are most in-demand today. Crucially it will do so in the context of real-life projects and case studies which we are excited to develop alongside ACCA and FourthRev. It is essential that we address the employability deficit in accounting and finance graduates at universities across the world, and this programme is a huge step towards that.”

Debbie Talbot, Global Partnerships Lead at ACCA said:

“Accelerated digital transformation has vastly increased the amount of data and information available to us. With this influx of data, we can generate new insights and support effective decision making, and so it is essential that ACCA members are equipped for this analytics revolution. The ACCA Qualification prepares our future members for a digital future, and this programme is an excellent addition to our offering. Accountancy is a cornerstone profession of society and addressing this ongoing skill need is therefore imperative.”

The programme is taught with authentic analytical projects which will provide students with concrete outputs that showcase their ‘human’ or soft skills at an interview setting. Learners will also gain confidence and capabilities on several leading enterprise tools and technology.  The pilots will open in the first half of next year with several universities and full rollout following shortly thereafter.

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