‘The full stack’: ACCA identifies emerging models

How businesses can adopt and utilise new business models to transform how they interact with other businesses and clients.

A new report published today by ACCA, the global body for professional accountants and the Economic and Social Research Council identifies six business models which could transform the way in which companies transact.

The report Business Models of the Future: emerging value creation offers insights and analysis into how businesses and policy-makers can support and engage with a range of models which are transforming industries and ways of working in the 21st century.

Entitled ‘The Full Stack’, the six model framework includes:

Platform-based businesses

Digital marketplaces which match buyers and sellers, such as AirBnB.

Mass customisation 2.0

‘On-demand’, local manufacturing services which enable customers to engage with companies to self-build highly tailored products, such as OpenDesk.


Reimagined R&D processes that open up new market segments for low cost, high quality products and services such as Renault’s Indian-designed Kwid.

Modern barter

Platforms that enable the exchange of goods and services with fellow users, often through digital or online currencies, such as online time-banking community TimeRepublik.

‘Pay what you want’

Where customers can pay what they think is right, offered as part of tiered or ‘freemium’ deals such as video game download service Humble Bundle.


Companies that flourish because of their deep connection with the community in which they operate such as London’s Kernel Brewery.

Report author and senior business insights manager at ACCA, Jimmy Greer says, ‘We’ve heard a lot about the disruptive role of technology in the sharing economy. This report illustrates the way in which technological innovation is enabling a transformation in the way in which business and the consumer interact.

‘Technology is only part of the story here. It is also about the ability of entrepreneurs and innovators to access new networks, capital and ecosystems amidst a challenging economic climate and in doing create new sources of lasting value.’

Greer adds, ‘These new models are not without their challenge. Recent rulings around the world against a variety of companies powered by new models, for example ride sharing, food delivery and home stay services, highlight the degree to which they still come up against traditional regulatory barriers.’

Greer says that professional accountants will play a major role for both start-ups and larger organisations looking to learn from new business models.

‘Professional accountants’ strategic insight and advice will play an essential role for organisations looking to assess value proposition, value creation and value capture.

‘Doing so will also require accountants to develop a multidimensional set of skills to understand the potential impact on four critical areas – regulation and governance, technology, stakeholder expectations and globalisation – which are rapidly changing 21st century business.

‘This is why we have developed the ‘Full Stack’ analytical framework, drawing on software design principles, to help accountants and business assess the new operating environment and explore the viability and potential of new business models.’

Andy Gibbs, team head of the economic performance and environment team at the Economic and Social Research Council says, ‘An understanding of new business models, driven not just by technology but underlying social and economic changes, is vital for businesses, policy-makers and professionals.

‘We have worked with ACCA to bring together academic, professional and entrepreneurial experts in a series of workshops around the world. We welcome the publication of this report, which draws on those discussions.’

According to Boon Yew Ng, chair of ACCA’s Accountancy Futures Academy and executive chairman, Raffles Campus Pte Ltd, says, ‘The rise of platforms, the changing nature of work, the means by which services are provided and the digitisation of manufacturing are just some of the shifts that technology is making possible.

‘But new business models are not just about technology. Around the world new markets are emerging and old ones are evolving. Unquestionable economic certainties are being challenged.’

Further reading on business models

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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