More collaboration, collective action needed to tackle risks: ACCA

Web DeskWeb Editor

09th Jul, 2021. 06:11 pm
More collaboration, collective action needed to tackle risks: ACCA

KARACHI: An un-missable era is dawning for the accountancy profession and its role in effective risk management as a result of the global pandemic, environmental sustainability and economic turbulence, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants said on Friday.

In its new report, “Rethinking risk for the future”, the association asserts that as guardians of information, accountants can help organisations not only detect and better understand the emerging risks and opportunities being faced by them, but also cultivate the mindsets needed to think on a long-term basis.

Capturing the views of its global members, including members in Pakistan, the report also showcases their vital roles in building operational resilience through Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), financial reporting, and predictive data analysis.

The report explains that while Covid-19 is the biggest crisis in a generation, business and society also face huge risks from rapid climate change – perhaps the biggest risk of all.

The risk management has; therefore, been forced to centre stage like never before. The accountants now have an unmissable opportunity to reassess how they can add more value in a post-Covid world where a myriad of pressing environmental, social and economic risks are prevalent.

For the report, Pakistan respondents were asked about what they believed to be the biggest risks to their organisations over the next two years, with 24 per cent saying industry disruption and 22 per cent international trade.

They were also asked what risk activity their organisation would most likely to upgrade in 2021, with 51 per cent saying risk culture for new working conditions; followed by 20 per cent for operational resilience.

Rachael Johnson, report author and ACCA’s head of risk management and corporate governance, said: “What’s clear from our engagement with [the] ACCA members is the need for accountancy professionals to truly understand the strategic and business risks that their organisations face in the short-, medium- and long-term.”

“In this way, through providing better informed decision making, they can help organisations maintain operational resilience and become more sustainable in [the] today’s fast-changing, interconnected environment.”

Helen Brand, ACCA’s chief executive, said: “Because of Covid-19, we have all learned new and vital lessons about effective risk management over the last year, so that disruption preparedness is now top of [the] organisation’s priorities. The challenge is about how this readiness is sustained. Professional accountants are central to all this – that’s why now’s the time for the profession to show in real ways how it helps organisations change behaviour, rethink risk, and how accountants can help set the tone from the very top.”

Rethinking risk for the future concludes that risk can no longer be managed in isolation, with Sajjeed Aslam, head of ACCA Pakistan, saying: “Accountants, given their skills and professional duties, are in a privileged position to optimise their storytelling skills in new ways by creating more dynamic metrics and reporting methodologies.”

“[The] accountants should be taking on a more advisory role in explaining the facts and possibilities behind the numbers, breaking them down and putting them into context for their organisations.”

“This is an un-missable opportunity for accountancy to encourage more collaboration and collective action on environmental, social and governance matters by working with the public policymakers and partnering with leaders to help grasp how digitalisation and new technologies can help avoid harm to people and the planet.”

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