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Earlier this year, IFAC convened over 150 chief executives and senior leaders of professional accountancy organizations around the world, together with its Board of Directors, to discuss issues regarding the future of the accountancy profession. In particular, the relevance and sustainability of IFAC’s member organizations remains a critical matter as associations navigate different recovery contexts and timelines. The interactive session on PAO Transformation & Evolution proved to be a thought-provoking conversation—so much so that IFAC has made all recordings available and with options for translated subtitles in Arabic, French, Spanish, and Russian. The messages shared by speakers are important and IFAC wants to ensure these messages are accessible to as many PAOs as possible.

To access the translations for each video, first click the [CC] icon on the bottom-right of the video. This will turn on subtitles/closed captions in the video. Secondly, click on the settings (gear) icon on the bottom-right. This will open the video settings in a pop-up window. Click Subtitles/CC in the settings pop-up. This will open a list of all the available subtitle languages for this video. Select your preferred subtitle language and this will automatically switch the video's subtitles to the selected language!


Introductory Panel

To begin, Asmâa Resmouki, IFAC Deputy President, emphasizes the importance of seizing new opportunities and collaborating as a community. Barry Melancon, Chief Executive Officer, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), Helen Brand, Chief Executive, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA Global), and Dr. Chen Yugui, President, Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) then speak on the following themes:

  • Revenue Diversification & Growth
  • People: Wellbeing & Resiliency
  • Relevance and Reputation
  • Member & Stakeholder Engagement
  • Digitalization of Operations and Services

Their remarks highlight the need for PAOs to be:

  • agile,
  • quick to adapt and allocate resources efficiently,
  • continuously looking forward and understanding the market,
  • conscientiously strategizing revenue diversification,
  • building partnerships to deliver value, and
  • leading with empathy, accessibility, and inclusivity
Case Studies

To illustrate how PAOs were addressing related challenges in real-time, the session turned to three case studies.

1. Fanisa Lamola, Chief Operating Officer/Executive Director, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), presents SAICA’s strategy to address the interconnected nature of relevance and sustainability as part of enhancing member value in a crisis.

2. Batkhuyag Myagmar, Deputy Director, Mongolian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MonICPA) shares MonICPA’s ability to pivot quickly during the pandemic’s onset and ensure continuity of its education system and flow of students and professionals into the pipeline and market.

3. And, Robert Mul, Director, Public Trust, Deputy CEO, Nederlandse Beroepsorganisatie van Accountants (Royal NBA) introduces the Royal NBA’s initiative to structure operations and governance to foster innovation for the PAO of the future (Association 3.0).

Question & Answer

No interactive session would be complete without opportunities for Questions & Answers. All six panelists engaged in a rich dialogue and answered pressing questions, such as:

  • How can PAOs diversify income streams, raise funds, and look toward efficiencies?
  • What are examples of initiatives around attracting the next generation?
  • What is one key suggestion for attracting and retaining the best talent for your organization?
  • Sustainability-related information will quickly be a crucial item for reporting. How do PAOs ensure they have the right people to address this and remain relevant in giving assurance?
  • How can we drive a change in mindset within our PAOs and persuade key constituents of the need to change?

The messages and themes from this session should be one resource to PAOs as they look to enhance their sustainability and resiliency. Change is coming and we must be not only be prepared to embrace it but thrive on it. IFAC would love to hear how your PAO has or is planning to carry forward some of the topics discussed here!

Recent events have presented a wide range of challenges to organizations of all sizes around the world. The operational realities of COVID-19 are causing businesses to create and adapt processes and procedures, reassess organizational customs and norms and establish new ways of working. Explore more resources and prompts for PAOs on operational resiliency and sustainability from the IFAC PAO Development & Advisory Group on IFAC’s new series webpage: Building Resilience & Value During Uncertain TimesIFAC also invites you to explore our COVID-19 collection of resources, research and thought leadership to help you, your clients and your business navigate the challenges ahead and build towards a reimagined future.

Sarah Gagnon

Senior Manager, IFAC

Sarah Gagnon is a Senior Manager at IFAC where she provides membership and development services for IFAC's member organizations across Central, Southern, and Eastern Europe. Sarah also leads IFAC's Member Compliance Program and spearheads the external & internal strategic communications and reports on adoption & implementation of global accountancy standards. Prior to joining IFAC, Sarah worked at the SEEP Network in Arlington, VA to support research and membership services for SEEP's global membership of microfinance associations. She holds a bachelor's degree from Union College in Political Science and a graduate degree in Latin American Studies/Development from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.