Developing the Accountancy Profession

Progressing IFAC’s New Approach to Advancing Accountancy Education

Alta Prinsloo | August 7, 2020

Much has happened since IFAC and the International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB) announced in 2018 the transition to a new approach to advancing accountancy education in the public interest.

The IAESB fulfilled its work program and ceased operations in 2019 after completing a revised set of high-quality International Education Standards focused on enhancing accountants’ technology and skepticism skills, and related practical implementation support for technology, business, and the public sector.

International Panel on Accountancy Education

The new International Panel on Accountancy Education met for the first time in September 2019. With a mandate to provide strategic advice, facilitate access to resources, and advocate for quality education for future-ready accountants, the Panel has already contributed to the development of an accountancy education key outcome and related strategic actions for IFAC (see below), providing the foundation for IFAC’s 2020-2021 Accountancy Education Work Plan. In between virtual engagements, the Panel continues their dialogue in an online community. And, in early 2020, we issued a call to action urging PAOs, organizations, and individuals to take steps to re-imagine the future accountant.

IFAC: Advancing Accountancy Education At the Global Level

Key Outcome

Professional accountancy organizations (PAOs) actively contributing to the development of a future-ready accountancy profession—relevant, reputable, valued, sustainable—that is attractive to diverse individuals and meets the needs of public and private sector organizations and society.

Strategic Actions Under IFAC’s Strategic Objectives

Speaking out and engaging as the voice for the global profession

  • Lead a call on PAOs and other stakeholders to embrace and take advantage of the disruption and the implications for the profession and accountancy education.
  • Promote the relevance, reputation, value, and sustainability of a profession that embraces and takes advantage of disruption and is attractive to a diversity of individuals.

Leading and developing a future-ready profession

  • Support the journey—accountants doing the same things differently—through knowledge sharing and capacity building.
  • Facilitate the re-imagination of the profession and accountancy education—accountants doing different things—through thought leadership.

Contributing to and promoting the development, adoption, and implementation of high-quality international standards

  • Support the adoption and implementation of IES through knowledge sharing and capacity building.

International Forum for Accountancy Education Directors

The International Forum for Accountancy Education Directors held in February in New York provided a valuable platform for sharing knowledge about current and future actions. We plan to soon launch an additional online community dedicated to accountancy education directors from PAOs and firms that will enable them to share knowledge and continue this dialogue.

To shape our dialogue on competency and skills-based changes, we have explored with the Panel and accountancy education directors the direction in which the profession might be heading.

Interestingly, responding to a survey question about where their organizations are placing emphasis, most participating accountancy education directors indicated somewhere between accountants doing the same things differently and accountants doing different things. What is the case for your organization?

Accountancy Education E-Tool

IFAC also built an interactive platform for our accountancy education stakeholders. The Accountancy Education E-Tool, which is grounded in the International Education Standards, is more than an electronic handbook. It is an electronic tool that links the standards and practical implementation support. It is available anywhere and at any time.

COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 is presenting unexpected and extreme challenges for organizations of all sizes and sectors across the world. It is quickly changing how entities operate and how individuals live and work. As a knowledge convener, IFAC has developed a dedicated web page with essential resources, guidance, and advice from our PAOs and other stakeholders. Recognizing the challenges faced by many PAOs in transitioning from in-person to online continuing professional development (CPD), we launched an Online CPD Services for PAOs page where PAOs can share information about their online CPD resources for use by other PAOs for their members. In June, we facilitated a virtual knowledge sharing event for PAOs considering moving to online examinations. Lastly, we are holding a series of conversations with representatives from key accountancy education stakeholder groups on accountancy skills development, responding to the current crisis, and preparing for the next normal.

Stay in Touch

We hope that you enjoyed our first Accountancy Education eNews issued in June. If you are interested in participating in the International Forum for Key Accountancy Education Stakeholders and have not yet registered to be included in our database, please complete this form.


Alta Prinsloo

Alta Prinsloo

Cheif Executive Officer

Alta Prinsloo is the Chief Executive Officer of the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA). She is an executive who is accomplished in strategic planning, capacity building, program implementation, and partnership development. Ms. Prinsloo previously served as Executive Director of IFAC with primary responsibility for IFAC’s approach to advancing education for future-ready professional accountants. Ms. Prinsloo joined the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board in 2002, and served as deputy director before transitioning to IFAC, where she has served in various executive roles, including governance and nominations, strategic planning, risk management, finance, operations & information technology, human resources and intellectual property. She has also overseen a wide variety of initiatives, including accountancy capacity building, Accountability.Now.—an initiative focused on transparency and accountability in the public sector—the IFAC Member Compliance Program, professional accountants in business and in small- and medium-sized practices, and the IFAC Global Knowledge Gateway. From 1997 through 2002, Ms. Prinsloo worked at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, becoming its technical director in 2000. In 1996, she worked at Amalgamated Banks of South Africa where she was responsible for professional development of the internal audit function. Prior to that, she worked in the national technical and training office of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Ms. Prinsloo is originally from South Africa, qualified as a Chartered Accountant (SA), and holds a master’s degree in financial management. See more by Alta Prinsloo


Join the Conversation

To leave a comment below, login or register with


Thank you for your interest in our publications. These valuable works are the product of substantial time, effort and resources, which you acknowledge by accepting the following terms of use. You may not reproduce, store, transmit in any form or by any means, with the exception of non-commercial use (e.g., professional and personal reference and research work), translate, modify or create derivative works or adaptations based on such publications, or any part thereof, without the prior written permission of IFAC.

Our reproduction and translation policies, as well as our online permission request and inquiry system, are accessible on the Permissions Information web page.

For additional information, please read our website Terms of Use. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.