First, you'll make better decisions, and you'll spot threats and opportunities early on, which can give you a competitive edge. This is especially important if you contribute to shaping your organisation's strategy.
Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said: 'Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.'
Studying ACCA provides a great professional and academic knowledge base and supports you in forging a career path that can be varied and fulfilling. Accountancy, business and finance are ever-evolving, influenced by daily events and innovations, and it's important to remain aware of relevant news. This can help you in job interviews and in a new role, and also in your ACCA exams.
Here's what ACCA's qualification team has to say: 'Students studying for the ACCA Qualification exams, particularly at the higher levels, will benefit greatly from wider reading about current business news and drawing upon these as background in the exams where relevant. For example, for the Strategic Professional exams, reading business news relating to the main section headings of the syllabuses can be extremely useful in giving a real-life perspective to many of the issues introduced within the case studies set.'
The vast majority of your insight will come from the internet. Furthermore, it's worth noting that a lot of the major news sources mentioned have mobile phone apps, which you can search for in Google Play or Apple's AppStore. A really good idea to help navigate the busy world of accounting and business news is to use websites and apps such as Flipboard and Feedly. These allow you to store and read all your preferred links, categorically in one place, saving you from drifting between hundreds websites.
Getting to grips with accountancy
Rudy Chen FCCA, founder and director of Yes Accountants in London, recommends registering on as many websites and webinars relating to accounting and tax as possible - for example, ACCA, HMRC, accountingcpd.net for CPD and the BBC.
Chen is focused on helping start-up firms to get off the ground and grow as businesses. This requires not only staying up to date with general accountancy news, but also more specific information around start-ups. 'A Companies House survey revealed that around 530,000 new businesses were incorporated in 2013. I would be delighted with just 0.1% of that market share,' he says.
'I also keep track of news on the start-up and crowdfunding scenes, start-ups and Kickstarter, as some of my clients and potential leads are using the crowdfunding.'
Other accountancy news sources include magazine-style websites AccountancyAge and ACCA's own Accounting and Business members' magazine. For students, the ACCA also provides a specific Student Accountant website and newsletters, which can keep you up to date with trends in employment, skills and the technical knowledge you need to pass the exams.
Again, specifically for accountants, Andrew Marder, a content writer at Capterra - a directory and comparison website for business software solutions - is a fan of the Sleeter blog. 'They’ve been doing this for years and they bring an unbiased eye to everything they cover. The focus is mainly on the larger brands, but they go deep into those topics.'
Andrew also writes his own blog at Capterra, which focuses on finance tech, with accounting technology taking up the largest portion of their content. 'Most information is aimed at the small business audience, but there are tips and insights for accountants, as well.'
Technology is incredibly important to accounting, with major innovations in software changing the way accountants work. According to Gary Turner, UK MD of accounting software solutions provider Xero, cloud accounting (described in the Guardian), is 'like a renaissance - all the old rules are being thrown out, all the new ways of working are coming in'.
AccountingToday has a section of its website dedicated to accounting technology news and developments, while other solutions providers manage frequently updated blogs: Sage, ClearBooks, KashFlow, among many others.
General business and economics
There are so many places to find business news, but a good place to start is the Financial Times and The Economist. Bloomberg is great for market specific and investing news. Sites with a global perspective of the business world are the International New York Times and India-based The Economic Times International.
LinkedIn is another great way to stay informed, while also acting to serve as a place to post your views and connect with peers globally. The LinkedIn group Accountancy UK is great. There are round 1,700 members and a lot of updates regarding trends in the industry.
A popular LinkedIn group for accounting students seeking jobs and tips on finding new roles is the ASNG, which is home to 6,000 members.