On 5 June I handed over to Fiona Wilkinson, who will lead the Institute for the next twelve months.
Over the last year I have written blogs on a range of topics, from meetings with students and ACA graduations to conversations with Life Members; I have written about the digitalisation of tax, about the importance of taking our place as part of a connected, global profession and about restoring trust and confidence in audit; I have blogged about what it means to be a professional, about improving social mobility, improving economics education and about my meetings with members and other professional bodies around the world. I have also written about our capacity building work, our Foundation, and shared a typical day in the life of a president. My aim has been to share my thoughts and experiences with as many members as possible.
I set out with three main ambitions for ICAEW (in addition to ensuring that we focused on the challenges posed by Brexit and on the reviews into the audit profession). These were: to think as a global professional body; to be leaders in the digital space and to improve access to our profession.
We reinforced our global connections and refocused our international strategy as part of our operational plan. Last September we co-hosted – with our colleagues from the Chartered Institute of Taxation – the CFE General Assembly.
We launched the Finance in a Digital World online learning resource, made the Bloomsbury digital library available to members in practice, ran Tomorrow’s Digital Practice roadshows, maintained our Making Tax Digital hub and worked with the Shanghai National Accounting Institute on two major projects covering the use of Big Data and the Internet of Things.
We doubled the number of students engaging in our BASE competition and in March ICAEW signed the Social Mobility Pledge. I set a personal challenge to fund ten additional bursaries through our Foundation, setting ten young people on the road to an accountancy and finance qualification: we exceeded the target and have commitments to fund twelve bursaries.
It has been a challenging but incredibly successful year.
And none of it could have been achieved without the staff at ICAEW led by our CEO Michael Izza, working in partnership with the many hundreds of members who give their time to committees, faculties, district societies and groups around the world.
Serving as president was an extraordinary privilege and one I will never forget.
If you will permit me one last indulgence, it is this. The thing that has been closest to my heart is the ICAEW Foundation. It really does change lives. If you haven’t watched the short video about its bursary programme, please could I ask you to take two and a half minutes to watch it here. It changed my life. It has changed the lives of those who received bursaries. You may find it will change your life too.
If, like me, you believe that poverty should never be a barrier to achievement; if, like me, you believe that individual lives matter; if, like me, you believe that as chartered accountants we are about actions not just words, would you – or your firm or business - please help the Foundation to help more young people?
That would be the best legacy of all.