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New tech to be built into ACA qualification

ICAEW is collaborating with Inflo, a leading provider of financial data analytics software to the accounting profession, to develop the skills required by advanced technologies, through knowledge and practical learning and examinations.

"Digital

October 2019

The collaboration will first focus on audit and assurance exams. Auditors in practice are increasingly using more advanced approaches to interrogate client data, applying techniques like data analytics to perform work such as risk assessment or fraud testing. ICAEW has been exploring ways the analytical and interpretive skills such techniques require can be incorporated in ACA training and assessment.

The collaboration will then expand into Corporate Reporting exams, with potential extension into other exams across the ACA qualification, recognising the relevance of data analysis techniques to a broad range of accounting services.

Mark Protherough, ICAEW Executive Director, Learning & Professional Development said: “We plan to incorporate the use of Inflo in each of the Audit and Assurance and Corporate Reporting exams, from 2021 onwards.

This change is important in order to ensure that the ACA qualification remains relevant and practical. Hands-on use of data analytics techniques will enable the exams to reflect the current and future workplace and enhance assessment of professional judgement, scepticism and the use and interpretation of data analytics.

Employers have been consulted globally on this issue as part of the consultations on the future of the ACA, and there is strong support for embedding technology across the syllabus.

ICAEW has already performed pilot testing, where current students with a broad range of technology experience attempted modified Audit and Assurance and Corporate Reporting exams. Feedback was very positive, in particular that the skills being taught and assessed better reflected how many students now work.

Mark Edmondson, Inflo CEO said: “Having qualified with ICAEW myself, I have experienced first-hand the opportunities presented by obtaining the ACA qualification. Yet the world of business is different now from when I sat my exams.

The role of accountants is rapidly changing and technology is the accelerant behind this change. Through embracing the resultant skills challenge and by incorporating emerging technologies within the ACA, ICAEW is ensuring that the accountancy profession remains attractive to those at the beginning of their career, while providing the skills and experience needed to have a long and successful one.

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