Jessani Symposium Experience
By Akbar Jessani
Akbar Jessani is a senior consultant working in Ernst and Young Ford Rhodes Sidat Hyder. He is also a member of ACCA and a associate member of Certified Fraud Examination having over 5 years of experience in audit and advisory services (including review of systems and internal controls) within various financial and industrial sectors. He Has also been awarded Presidential Educational Award from President Bush“
“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.” William Jennings Bryan
The success of the conference has been achieved as it attracted a good number of senior level delegates to show their presence and support the symposium. With the theme ‘Accountancy Futures Symposium-critical issues for tomorrow’s profession’, a packed two-day conference programme offered discussions on the four critical issues, which are being faced by the organizations and accountants in Pakistan. The symposium was planned in a way to give delegates ample time and opportunity to network with delegates from other organizations.
The main theme of the symposium was to discuss how the role of the accountants and auditing profession will look like in the years to come and how will the industry be able to cater this transition. The symposium was attended by representatives from various sectors and by professionals from different occupational backgrounds.
The conference commenced with a welcome address by Mr. Arif Masud Mirza, Head of ACCA Pakistan. It continued with a critical issue discussion on “The value of Audit in the modern world” which really emphasized on the modern perspective of what audit should include. The panelist shared their views regarding how the modern value of audit will be considered by the audit firms and what are the views of the industry regarding the modern value of audit. The representatives from both professional firms and of industry were part of the panel discussions.
The panelist came to the conclusion that audit should not be just focused on financials but should also highlight the business model and strategic aspects of the organization. Also the regulators will have to think out of the box to enhance the value of modern audit in future.
The conference continued with the discussion regarding “The Generation Y: Realising the Potential” in which all the panelist were from generation X and they debated on the potentials of the generation Y to be recognized by the generation X. Participants raised various question on which considerable ideas were shared by the panelist.
However, the discussion focused on the communication gap between the two generations and how it can be bridged. The discussion concluded with the understanding of what are the expectations of generation Y from generation X. Generation Y should be given a clear path for their future by providing them opportunities to be better team member of the organization.
Further, the issue discussed was focusing on the “Demonstrating Responsibility: Reporting Futures”. The main aspect of the discussion on future reporting was the volume of narrative reporting shall be increased within the annual report and also about the usefulness of an integrated annual report for an organization. The panelists discussed the impact of narrative reporting on business decision and the response of stakeholders of enhanced narrative reporting for transparency within the organization.
The discussion came to a conclusion on annual reporting that it shall not only include the financial statements but should also incorporate narrative reporting (integrated reporting). The panelists also raised the question about the constituents of narrative reporting. Due to the vast number of preferences available about the constituents of narrative reporting, it turns out to be an open ended question. Upon which the panelists suggested that a survey of the preparers of annual reports should be conducted and their views on what shall be included in the narrative reporting constituents.
One of the aspects of Narrative (Integrated) Reporting should be sustainability reporting. The panelists suggested that companies should have commitment to sustainability reporting at the top board level and should be included in a company’s business model.
In addition, the panelists suggested that the regulatory requirements of narrative reporting needs to be expanded, as organizations have started realizing that it is a very useful channel through which wider stakeholders can be addressed.
The conference concluded with a comprehensive discussion on the “Accountants: SMEs Best Friend”. The focus of this topic was the role of accountants in the SME sector, as the panelists discussed, what major role the accountants can play to develop and enhance the SME sector. SME is playing a greater role in economic growth and development of Pakistan, this sector with the help of accountants (whether in-house or as external consultant) can better equip itself in playing a major role in the economic development of Pakistan.
Further, the panelist discussed practical ways through which accountants can improve their performance within the SME sector. The session was concluded with a concern that SMEs can take support from the accountants not only in the financials arena but should also consider taking advice from professional accountants in the areas of strategic business improvements. The panelists also suggested that there are various opportunities in the SME sector for young professionals to grow and become the future economy of Pakistan.
During the presentations and panel discussions, a number of questions were asked, which were meticulously answered by the panelists. All the sessions were appealing and very informative. ACCA arranged the symposium quite extensively with covering all the aspect a professional conference should include from discussions on current issues to networking opportunity.
The conference was closed with a vote of thanks to all the panelists and the delegates for attending and making this symposium a success.