ACCA USA, the U.S. arm of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, is partnering with the CFO Alliance, a global community of senior financial leaders and decision makers, in a campaign assessing the state of the global “talent gap” in accounting and finance.

The partnership extends ACCA USA’s recent collaborations with educational institutions that link its globally recognized qualification program to undergraduate and graduate coursework and better prepare students for careers in accountancy, finance and management. The goal of the new partnership is to educate tomorrow’s workforce.

“By partnering on this initiative, ACCA USA and The CFO Alliance are joining forces to pursue a common mission: to ensure that the workforce of tomorrow is educated and equipped to handle the challenges of an evolving economy,” said ACCA USA head Warner Johnston in a statement. “This initiative is destined to shed light on the need for tangible solutions that strengthen our future workforce.”

The CFO Alliance’s Talent Gap campaign launched in response to trends showing that university students are increasingly less prepared for jobs that await them after graduation. One analysis, by PricewaterhouseCoopers, found that most developing economies suffer from severe talent gaps due to a brain drain phenomenon as domestic talent relocates to more advanced countries. Oxford Economics also found that university students lack expertise in digital skills, agile thinking, communications skills, and global operating skills.

The CFO Alliance recently issued a 2015 CFO Sentiment Study to gain insights into the strategic planning and financial outlook of CFOs from across the country. Researchers found that achieving growth objectives for the coming year hinges upon the finance chief’s ability to weigh and manage a wide variety of risks, including the operational challenge of recruiting and retaining top talent. Over two thirds of the CFOs polled said they were either concerned or greatly concerned about talent acquisition and retention in 2015.

Overall, CFOs expressed concern over their organization’s ability to attract, retain, and train talent in the next three to five years. When ranked on a score of 1 to 5, with 1 being no answer, 2 not so good, 3 improving, 4 satisfactory, and 5 excellent, their ability to recruit talent in the United States achieved a score of 2.6, and their ability to recruit talent internationally worsened to 1.9.

“Our CFO Alliance members agree that the number one issue that will impede their ability to meet and exceed their projected increases in their company’s top line, bottom line, and shareholder value is their ability to find, develop, deploy, and retain their talent,” said CFO Alliance CEO and president Nick Araco. “This partnership with ACCA USA will help them tackle this ever increasingly difficult issue.”

As part of the partnership, ACCA USA is co-sponsoring a series of roundtables that will explore the talent gap and work to identify solutions. A final report on the findings will be released this year.

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