The latest report by the Professional Accountants in Business Committee (PAIB) of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) provides insight into how the role of the finance function is changing, shifting away from just accounting for the balance sheet and more toward accounting for the business. The 14-page report, titled “Future-Ready Accountants in Business,” was developed based on an interactive workshop of key PAIB committee members and stakeholders this past spring. It covers:

  • Finance function transformation, with a case study from Prudential Financial, Inc.
  • Building data science and analytics capabilities
  • Supporting accountants in professional ethics
  • Effective risk management and internal control
  • Examining the role of the audit committee

Among those who contributed to the report’s development was Larry White, CMA, CFM, CSCA, CPA, former IMA Global Board Chair and current Global Board member. White, the executive director of the Resource Consumption Accounting (RCA) Institute, emphasized, “CMAs and IMA members are well positioned for the future of the accounting profession if they read and engage with IMA publications and training products. IMA is highly active and is a leading contributor to developing an international vision for how accountants and finance professionals can expand their ability to create value in a digital economy.”

In his opening remarks in the report, PAIB Committee Chair Charles Tilley said, “The opportunities for professional accountants in business are huge, but only if they accept change as inevitable and work proactively to shape their future roles within business.” Tilley cited a 2018 survey report by McKinsey & Company, “The New CFO Mandate: Prioritize, Transform, Repeat,” which highlights the active role CFOs are playing in business transformation, and the opportunities and challenges of stepping up their role as change leaders, both within the finance function and across the organization.

The report references other IFAC/PAIB resources that are also now available:

As a member of IFAC, IMA contributes to the organization’s mission of strengthening the accounting profession through global initiatives, including the PAIB Committee. IFAC is composed of over 175 members and associates in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing almost three million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce. The PAIB Committee provides leadership and guidance on relevant issues pertaining to professional accountants in business and the business environments in which they work.