Our ambition is to motivate and empower professionals by generating a more positive and creative vision of auditing and accountancy. We catalyse innovation within institutions by challenging current practices and providing tools for thinking systemically. We create spaces for dialogue, collaboration and experimentation.
Our societies face challenges – economic, social, environmental – unprecedented in their complexity. In the past, accountants channelled their experience and expertise to drive social change. Double-entry bookkeeping transformed trade and gave birth to modern capitalism. Audit developed to build trust between investors and businesses, and allowed corporations to demonstrate ethical behaviour. Today, accountants can again take the lead in the journey to a fairer and more successful society – but only if we reinvent our profession.
Trust in business – and in accountancy – is at a low ebb. At the same time, our profession is facing a crisis of conscience. Bruised by a series of crises and scandals, paralysed by endless discussions about machine intelligence, principles-based regulation and firm consolidation, we stand at a crossroads. It’s time for us to take our future into our own hands. Only by reinventing and reasserting our core values can we begin to restore public trust in our profession.
Until now, the core strategy of enterprises and professions alike has been to innovate and then build barriers to entry. Today, we need to remove the barriers surrounding our profession in order to innovate. Clients are more demanding; resources are overstretched; markets are becoming more diverse and volatile. We can develop more proactive accounting services only by collaborating across and between organisations. If audit is to work effectively, innovators, thinkers and practitioners across the profession must engage with an ever wider range of partners and stakeholders to create solutions that work for the benefit of all. Accountancy began as a tight network of highly trusted individuals; now we have the opportunity to build an open community of interest, established through trust.
Our clients increasingly expect accounting professionals to be more than technically competent. Equally, novice professionals are seeking work that has meaning and purpose. The accountant of the future must embody a wider skillset and a broader mix of abilities than ever before: intellectual curiosity, creative flair, independence of mind and moral sensitivity. If we are to rethink our role in society, we need to align professional aspirations with personal motivation in the people we train, coach and mentor. We must foster an ethos that impels professionals to take the initiative and lead the way.
Problems can never be solved by thinking within the framework in which they arose. At times of unpredictable social, economic and technological change, we need to think about accountancy and audit in radically new ways. We need to design new structures and strategies. We need to embrace vulnerability and build resilience, so that we can create a profession fit for the future.