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Digital transformation is crucial to the sustainability and resilience of professional accountancy organizations (PAOs). Although digital transformation is a long-term endeavor for most PAOs, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting current environment accelerated the need to use digital technologies to create new, or modify existing, business processes, including member and student experiences, to meet changing business and market requirements.

Given the importance of digital transformation to PAOs’ long-term sustainability and resilience, IFAC is taking a two-pronged approach to help our members through a partnership with cloudThing to create a PAO Digital Readiness Assessment Tool and Resources Series. cloudThing is one of the fastest-growing tech companies in the UK and that led digital transformation programs for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Assessing where your organization is digitally is very challenging without knowing what is happening across the industry. IFAC and cloudThing are uniquely positioned to collaborate and offer impartial scoring, resources, and expertise to our member organizations to make the most out of technology on an ongoing basis. With IFAC’s support, PAOs are able to benefit without committing to their own external vendor.

PAO Digital Readiness Resources Series

In addition to the Tool, IFAC and cloudThing will also publish a continuing series of resources on the IFAC website to help PAOs continue their journeys. IFAC will also offer workshops for PAOs after they use the Tool to help our members understand, interpret, and prioritize their results. We will also hold topic-specific workshops on priority areas—such as examinations and continuing professional development—as identified by our member organizations.

Digital Support Structures

Having adequate technology is only one part of the story. Digital transformation also requires organizational leadership support and buy-in, building workforce capabilitiesempowering peopleto work in new ways, and increasing effective communication throughout the transformation. In our Resources Series and throughout our workshops, we will continue to discuss these crucial components that are also crucial.

Through this partnership, IFAC and cloudThing are able to offer our member organizations impartial scoring, resources and expertise to help PAOs make the most out of technology on an ongoing basis. With IFAC’s support, PAOs are able to benefit without committing to their own external vendor. Digital transformation requires continuous improvement. You are not alone in this journey. We support your sustainability and resiliency. Let’s collaborate and progress this agenda together.

PAO Digital Readiness Assessment Tool

Launching November, the web-based PAO self-assessment tool will help PAOs gauge where they are on their digital journey. The Tool will use 11 pillars and 120 aspects of digital transformation to provide a score, and will be available in Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish. This score, and accompanying information, will help PAOs begin or continue their journey and determine the next steps.

The Digital Readiness Assessment Tool will be rolled out with tutorials and material to help PAOs complete the Tool. After completing the Tool, each participating PAO will receive a results report with recommendations on where and how to progress their digital agenda.

Manuel Arias
Manuel Arias

Principal, IFAC

Manuel Arias serves as a Principal at the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), where he plays a pivotal role in enhancing membership engagement, shaping policy, and organizing data collection within the financial regulatory landscape. Manuel coordinates with diverse stakeholders across Latin America, North America, and select European regions. His collaborations extend to professional accountancy organizations, regulatory bodies, public authorities, professional firms, development banks, and various non-accountancy entities, fostering robust partnerships and advancing the profession's objectives.

Manuel started his career in the Colombian Red Cross before transitioning into the accountancy profession with the Colombian National Institute of Public Accountants, leading the strategy and public policy before joining IFAC in 2014, where he has helped to drive the organization's strategic initiatives.

Manuel has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Universidad de Los Andes—Colombia and a degree in Economics from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia.      

Megan Hartman

Megan Hartman is a principal on the Communications team. She joined the team in 2011 after working with a number of international organizations, primarily in the not-for-profit sector. Megan holds a master’s in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University as well as a bachelor’s from George Washington University.