ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) was the strategic partner at the ‘SAFA International Conference – SAARC Economic Challenges 2017’ held recently in Islamabad. The annual conference seeks to address the rising challenges and opportunities for accountants from the SAARC countries, in the digital era. Ayla Majid, ACCA Council Member and Sajjeed Aslam, Head of ACCA Pakistan were among the distinguished panellists representing the profession from Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Sajjeed Aslam deliberated on the topic ‘Creating functional synergy through accountants’ and Ayla shared her views on the topic ‘Consumer interest – nucleus of organization’s strategy and planning’. “The accounting profession is evolving at a very rapid pace. While professional accountants are expected to be the technical experts, there is now an increasing demand for them to have skills such as emotional, creativity and mastery of the digital world,” remarked Sajjeed in response to a question on what will be the future of the profession.

Being the only female on the panel, Ayla reiterated, “Organisations in Pakistan are now taking an active stand on issues such sustainability and integrated reporting so companies across Pakistan are now becoming more accountable entities. However, in our discussions we should also address topics related to diversity and speak about having more inclusive representation of women on corporate boards.”

SAFA President and ACCA member, A.S.M. Nayeem also appreciated the focus of ACCA on generating research and insights reports. The conference was attended by 200 professionals from across the region and the economic environment of the region was the focus area of the discussion.