Last week, someone asked me what a typical day was like for the ICAEW President. That was not an easy question as no two days are the same, so I described the previous day.
It began just after 6am catching up on office e-mails (I am still in practice as a tax partner at the West Country firm of A C Mole & Sons). At 8am I walked to Moorgate Place and at 9am I had a difficult telephone call to make to a client facing severe financial difficulties.
At 10am I met Frank Haskew, Head of the ICAEW Tax Faculty, to catch up on current tax issues and then at 11 am met with Jill May, one of the ICAEW Board’s two independent non-executives.
At midday I met with Richard Anning, Head of the IT Faculty, to talk about the faculty’s current work programme, and to discuss topics to cover when meeting representatives from Chinese technology company Inspur at Chartered Accountants' Hall the following week, and at my meetings with the Shanghai National Accounting Institute (SNAI) in May.
After snatching half an hour for a sandwich, I met Caroline Kearns to talk about the ICAEW Foundation and progress on our Challenge Ten initiative to fund ten new bursaries for students (which I have blogged about previously). Caroline and I were then joined by Joe Earle from Economy to explore ways of helping more people to learn about basic economic concepts.
The final meeting of the afternoon was with Sarah Prescott from our international team, to look at the programme for my visit to Singapore and China in May. We already have an extensive schedule of meetings and events planned.
After catching up on e-mails, I headed downstairs to the Great Hall for my final new members' ceremony. I always enjoy these occasions, welcoming new ACAs and meeting their families. One of our new ACAs this time was Bobby Seagull (who had passed his exams in 2011, but whose academic and TV careers had delayed his application to attend one of our ceremonies). While the President delivers the welcome speech, we always have a speech from a member who has a great story to tell. On this occasion our speaker was Corinne Thompson, Interim Head of Finance at Callsign and Board Treasurer for the charity 'Music for My Mind'. Her extraordinary energy, drive and enthusiasm left a real buzz in the room. Afterwards I spoke to some of our new ACAs and their families.
I left Chartered Accountants' Hall just before 9pm. Several of our new ACAs were posing for photographs outside. The evening had marked the formal beginning of their lives as professionals, a 'way of life' as I described it in a previous blog. I wondered where their careers would take them. Might one of them in a few years’ time be welcoming a new generation of ACAs as President? It was a happy and intriguing thought on which to end the day.