Accountants need to prepare for 50 public sector forces, outlines ACCA report

THERE ARE 50 ‘FORCES’ leading change in the global public sector that accountants need to prepare for, say ACCA.

The top drivers of change are economic growth, quality and availability of the global talent pool, and business leaders’ responsiveness to change, the report stated.  Economic growth is, crucially the top driver of global change, which many respondents in the East rated particularly highly. Access to a global talent pool was viewed as critical for many, but less so for Western Europe – most likely due to their ability to attract talent from other regions.

Although attracting the right talent is a long-term challenge for the public sector, and efforts will be required to close this global “talent gap”, business leaders’ responsiveness to change and disruption is also crucial. Four out of five respondents rated ‘Big Data’ as a key driver of change.

Stephen Emasu, chair of ACCA’s public sector global forum, said: “The scale and pace of change in the public sector is accelerating. Effective governments need to understand which issues should be their top priorities and when they are likely to impact.”

The research findings presented in the ACCA report were based on over 1,000 global online surveys by senior executives, ACCA members and members of other professional accountancy bodies working in public sector organisations from May to August 2016. The drivers of change uncover 50 key forces that will affect the global public sector landscape up to 2021, which encompass challenges from governance and strategy to operations and talent development.

The report focused on identifying key factors of the public sector and assessing the shape of the future that governments will need to handle. Each driver was assessed against; the economy, politics and law, society, business of government, science and technology, environment, energy and resources, the practice of accounting and the accountancy profession to determine the likely and timely impact on the sector.

Helen Brand, chief executive at ACCA said: “Collectively these drivers of change are making the public sector environment more fluid and forcing it to evolve. There is a huge opportunity to help shape the public services of the future, achieving value for money and long-term sustainability.”

Brand continued: “Arguably, there are few other areas that provide the diversity of challenge and fulfilment found in the sector. To perform their roles well, public sector finance professionals need to be able to navigate the present and prepare for the future to ensure that the best value is obtained from public funds.”

Related reading