Most accountants do not believe their “enhanced relevance” following the economic downturn resulting from Covid-19 will last, according to a recent survey conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accounts (ACCA) and PwC.
In the professional body’s ‘Finance Functions: Seizing the Opportunity’ report, only one in three financial services professionals believe their elevated status following the pandemic will continue.
Furthermore, ACCA identified that the accountancy profession has gone through a ‘five years in five months’ evolution due to Covid which has resulted in changing working patterns and priorities.
Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA, said: “Finance functions have responded well to the challenges of the pandemic. In many cases, their reputations have been enhanced.
“There is an opportunity to build an even more relevant function, based on data, insights and collaboration. Finance teams cannot afford to lose sight of this.”
She added: “If finance teams continue to focus purely on financial measures, when cashflow ceases to be the issue, there is a risk that organisations will revert to their pre-pandemic practices. There is a definite need to embrace change and develop skills.”
Brian Furness, partner and global head of finance consulting at PwC, said: “We have seen finance teams step up to the challenge and gain greater respect, and a seat at the boardroom table, bringing valuable insight to help tackle a wide range of business issues.
“Those who have invested in their people, technology and processes over recent years were clearly best able to adapt.”
He added: “The challenge now for finance is to build on the progress made during the pandemic and take a central role in defining business strategy and direction.
“It is critically important they do this at a time when business models are changing and stakeholder interest in broader measures of business performance is increasing.”