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Future accounting leaders: do you have the right skills?

If you attend accounting conferences or peruse accounting websites, certain topics will come up again and again. Is AI going to make me redundant? Regulators are at it again; what’s the latest change? How can we make better decisions under extreme uncertainty? What about really big problems like climate change? How can accountants be part of the solution?

Future accounting leaders

Future industry leaders will need to deal with issues like this.

But how do we currently train accountants?

To become a professional accountant, one must pass a rigorous series of exams and acquire relevant work experience. This is a good thing! It ensures that a professional accountant has a baseline mastery of financial reporting, managerial accounting, audit, tax, etc.

But there is a gap between this type of training and the skills required to lead a team, an organisation, and a profession through the uncertainty,ambiguity, and complexity that seems to be increasing.

Where are accountants going to get these skills? Continuing professional development requirements? In-house corporate training? Online courses?

These can be good resources, but the gap persists.

Bridging the gap

Universities are in a unique position to meet this need. How? Ideally, a university should:

  • immerse students in relevant knowledge, relationships with peers and faculty, and the culture of the university
  • aggregate experience by bringing the best experts in the university and the world into the classroom, in person or virtually
  • bring together an international group of students for a truly global experience
  • explore all sides of complicated issues from a neutral perspective.

The Cambridge Master of Accounting integrates these strengths in a global accounting leadership programme for professionals who want to bridge the gap.

Our curriculum

Our curriculum encompasses three broad topics:

  1. Change leadership. What are the shortcomings in current systems and processes related to financial reporting, audit, and governance? How can they be improved? How can the choice of “what gets measured and how” change an organisation, or even society? How will technologies like blockchain and AI change the industry?
  2. Decision making under uncertainty. How can you apply cutting-edge data analytics tools to answer crucial questions? How can you effectively interpret and persuasively communicate your results?
  3. Interpersonal dynamics. How can you develop and refine relationships and interpersonal skills necessary to lead change? How do you navigate power dynamics in an organisation?

Our programme features eight quarterly residential weeks in Cambridge over two years, with robust online engagement between visits.

Successful candidates will demonstrate a track record of impact in an organisation, an interest in preparing for leadership roles in the field of financial information, and ability to perform academically at a high level.