The View From…
Ronnie Patton is a member of ACCA’s Public Sector Network Panel and senior lecturer in professional accounting practice at Ulster University
There is no average day for me, but almost every day involves interacting with students. It’s fantastic to encourage students and share in their success. One of my tasks the other day was to get photos of an ACCA student who was tenth out of over 24,000 students globally in the December F5 exam. While this is totally her achievement, I like to think that I played some part in encouraging her to reach that level.
My primary role is teaching, setting assessments, designing modules and courses and keeping abreast of developments. I am also responsible for liaising with business and industry and two partner institutions, which run courses validated by Ulster University. This gives a great mix of technical and academic content.
My work challenges and ACCA’s challenges are similar – trying to make sure the skills we help to develop are ‘future-proofed’. Universities are said to prepare students for jobs that don’t exist yet. That may be true, but I believe the core skills won’t change a great deal. The ability to spot problems and develop robust solutions is key. I am looking at how we can introduce creativity and real world problems into accounting education. I’m really excited about where this might take us.
I most enjoy the opportunities to try new things, getting involved with interesting projects and motivating people. I often say that I used to have a real job. However, I would like to be a bit more focussed and able to select projects.
My advice to young students based on my career is to look to the future – and take informed risks.
My biggest professional achievement was passing my ACCA exams at successive sittings: that was a long time ago. More recently, I was very proud to be elected last summer to the ACCA Council.
I relax by listening to music, watching sport, enjoying time with friends and family – and avoiding DIY and gardening!