A ground-breaking study into the accountancy profession in Africa shows 55 per cent of accountants are optimistic about Africa’s economic prospects, but skill shortages, especially in the areas of technology and strategy are a major concern for respondents.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Pan African Federation of Accountants(PAFA) and PwC joined forces to develop the state of the profession in Africa report, polling more than 1,750 professionals to capture their views about the profession’s contributions on the continent, as well as the challenges, threats, and opportunities ahead. The report also captures feedback from over 100 participants at various business and public sector roundtables, held to capture opinions of experts across Africa.
The research was analysed under four themes – capacity building, partnerships, influencing for socio-economic development, and future-readiness of the profession.
Focussing on capacity building, technology (53 per cent) was the biggest skills gap identified, followed by strategy planning, market intelligence and performance management (49.3per cent).
The results revealed a startling paradox for the profession in building ethical and sustainable business while lacking in environmental, social and governance (ESG) acumen. Some 57 per cent say this is limiting the involvement of Professional Accountancy Organisations (PAOs) and their members in climate change and ESG agendas.
Alarmingly, 92 per cent of accountants working in the mining industry do not see ESG among the industry’s top three future-altering trends, and 40per cent of all surveyed members highlighted the ability to incorporate climate change and ESG into financial reporting as a major skills gap.