Two months into her spell as president of ACCA, Moyra Kedslie has already begun to bring her influence to bear on the association as it reforms and expands in the UK and overseas. ACCA this year not only launched a new syllabus following a four-year consultation period, but also unveiled web-based training and exams online for the first time. ‘We consulted industry, employers and employees worldwide,’ she says. ‘Some people thought a four-year research programme was too long but it was important to get this syllabus as right as we could. The core message we received was the importance of financial professionals having a broad vision and being highly professional technical specialists. We think we have managed to capture this essence.’ There is no doubt ACCA has moved on at a fair rate of knots since its proposed merger with CIMA failed to realise a tie-up in 1997. However, there is plenty of work still to be done. ‘I would like to be known at the end of my time in this chair as a president of ACCA when it enjoyed a period of moving forward. On a personal level I am keen members regard it as a user-friendly organisation that wanted to help them – that all the way down to the grassroots our value, use and contribution is recognised,’ she says. A former management accountant in the textiles industry, Kedslie has taken up her year at a time when the presidents of all six main accountancy bodies appear to know each other well and share a similar sense of humour. ‘We all got to know each other last year when we were invited onto a working party. Of course I recognise there may be disagreements between us, but essentially it is pleasant to work with people that get along.’ Links with the other accountancy bodies would appear to be an important facet for ACCA as its plans to merge with their rivals are still bubbling under the surface. ‘We have moved on since the proposed merger, but the plans are still there and on the table. The accountancy profession is involved in changes on a worldwide scale. As a global organisation with representation in every significant market in the world we have to respond to the changes. ‘The future is global and national barriers are disappearing fast from the accountancy exams. International standards are becoming more important while national standards are becoming less so,’ she adds. ‘Over the next 10 months I want to help ACCA move forward. The council has a vision of what it intends to be and that’s what is exciting about being involved with them.’ Kedslie has had to deal with public criticisms of her tenure as a head of department at Hull University’s School of Accounting, Business and Finance. But she says now: ‘There was very little lasting impact on me at Hull,’ she says. ‘I did not lose any friends or my sense of humour throughout the episode. If you work with integrity that is the best you can do. But you cannot please all the people all the time, but at all times I retained the full backing of the council.’ With these distractions out of the way, Kedslie is determined to make a success of her term while keeping her feet firmly on the floor. ‘Being president is hard work and humbling. It is humbling when I go and meet our new members and see what ACCA means to them – it is then you see the enormity of what we are doing worldwide. It is certainly very moving.’ ACCA’s first president from the Scottish borders is certainly in no mood to pass up the opportunity to move the association on in light of the modernised syllabus and to flirt with new technologies. With the institute’s worldwide tentacles – a presence in 160 countries – coupled with more than a quarter of a million students and members, Kedslie is going to need to call on every ounce of her experience and Scottish steel at her disposal. If the next 10 months become too taxing, however, she will doubtless find sanctuary in her classical record collection. Personal favourites include the works of Elgar and Finnish maestro Sibelius. www.acca.co.uk THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MOYRA KEDSLIE 2000: ACCA president. Director: Accounting and Executive MBA Programmes, Dearne Valley Business School, Doncaster. 1999: ACCA deputy president 1996: Joined ACCA Council 1983: FCCA 1978: ACCA Other jobs: Ten years in financial and management accounting in the electronics and textiles industries in the Scottish borders. Lecturer at the University of Dundee. School of Accounting Business and Finance, Hull University.
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