I am writing this column just before travelling to Pakistan for the first time in my life. It’s an exciting prospect – and not just because it has long been on my wishlist to visit. It’s also my first chance to speak in public about ACCA’s fascinating report, Global talent trends 2023, which was published earlier this month.

I can’t do full justice to the scale and sweep of this impressive document in this short column, but it occurs to me that Pakistan is a perfect place to talk about its impact and importance.

Among the many highlights is a section on inclusion and the encouraging message that 68% of more than 8,000 professional accountants surveyed globally believe their organisation is inclusive. The number is slightly higher in Pakistan, and that reflects what I know of our members’ progress in the country, where more women are finding a professional home with ACCA.


Joseph Owolabi is ACCA president

More women are finding their way to ACCA because they understand that we are a meritocratic organisation

In fact, more women are finding their way to ACCA all across the world because they understand that we are a meritocratic organisation that offers the chance of a professional education to all people, regardless of gender or anything else. The only credentials necessary to study for the ACCA Qualification are ambition, talent and dedication.

That’s why I am looking forward so much to meeting our members at ceremonies in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, and congratulating parents on the achievements of their sons and daughters as they set out on a career with ACCA.

When we talk about our work in extending opportunity for all, I think of places like Pakistan where ACCA has served as a beacon of fairness and hope for countless people who would otherwise have been excluded from the chance of a career.

There is no winning line in the race for fairness. It never ends

Ongoing challenge

Of course, there is more work to be done. There always is. There is no winning line in the race for fairness. It never ends.

For instance, the report’s statistics on social mobility and the prospects for those from lower socio-economic groups entering the profession are poor. It means we must raise our voice louder and offer even warmer welcomes to ambitious people from all walks of life.

The challenges facing the world are too great for us to indulge in the luxury of excluding anyone from the search for solutions. But we know from our Global talent trends report that the course towards progress and wider opportunity ticks upwards, and ACCA remains the best possible choice for all people interested in a future in business – in Pakistan and elsewhere on the planet.