Apr 26 - May 2, 2010

One of the hallmarks of sustainable enterprise is a strong finance function. Organisations, whether in public or private sectors, benefit strongly from the discipline that comes with financial management, and the embedding of financial awareness within the organisation from the most senior, board level, down to the most junior employees.

Finance and accountancy professionals around the world are critical human resources in a way that they are required by all organisations, big or small, manufacturing goods or providing services, commercial or non commercial and belonging to any sector of the market. One could not think of a single organisation that would not need an accountant or at least some basic accounting expertise.

Accountants today perform a range of tasks not limited to their conventional roles but also risk management, business analysis, business consultancy and strategic thinking etc.

The Rozee.pk Top 10 Careers in Pakistan study ranked Finance and Accounting as 8th hottest career track in the country, projecting five-year salary growth rate for this field at 261 per cent.

The accountancy profession has long embraced the value of accountants in business. Accountants add considerable value to business by driving down costs and identifying drivers of value and profitability and never more so than in the current environment. They are instrumental in obtaining access to finance and strengthening the balance sheet. The professional judgement of the accountant and the drive of the profession to ensure ethical practices are adopted throughout the business and vital as they steer their way through difficult trading conditions, while seeking to keep their eye firmly on their longer-term goals.

The CFO has become more important in recent years as a guardian of financial performance and a key player in creating long-term value.

It is no accident that professional accountants are found on the boards of listed companies around the world. And the outward-facing role of CFOs has broadened and he is today the guardian of the brand, ensuring that the company adheres to good sustainable practices.

Accountancy is arguably emerging into a golden age - and not just because financial skills are needed in a time of difficult economic conditions. Recent surveys by ACCA show that demand remains high for accounting skills around the world, in developed and developing nations

To become a qualified professional accountant aspiring students take exams on subjects ranging from technical accounting skills to business management and strategy. They also study professional ethics to make sure they work to the highest standards. Given recent accounting scandals, this aspect is especially relevant, and is highly valued by employers globally.

Trainees also have to complete relevant practical experience often achieved while taking exams - to prove that they can use their accounting knowledge in the workplace.

It must be said that accounting studies are not an easy option - and if they were, the profession would not be held in such high regard. A career in accountancy demands concentration, diligence, and determination, but is the ideal choice for anyone who enjoys working with figures, is interested in how business works, or wants to stretch their intellectual abilities.