I began my last blog by emphasising how busy I had been, touring South East Asia. This month may have trumped that, taking me to Mauritius, Dubai and India in the space of just ten days.
My travels began in Mauritius, where we have been offering our ACA qualification since 2011.
I made keynote speeches at our Members’ Dinner, organised by the Society of Chartered Accountants Mauritius, and our Graduation Ceremony, both of which were spectacular events. Chartered accountancy is very tight-knit and intimate in Mauritius; it feels just as much a community as it does a profession. Our members are outwardly friendly, and the young graduates are brimming with hope and enthusiasm for the future.
I held a meeting with the Chairman of the Mauritius Institute of Professional Accountants, Nooredin Mohit, who asked for our help in expanding and improving their operations. They feel strongly that they need to provide their members with more services and greater thought leadership, but require financial and strategic support to achieve this.
They are also very interested in the work we are doing around the future of audit, and would like to play an active role in our work on it.
I also held separate meetings with the Chairman of the Financial Services Commission in Mauritius and the Minister for Financial Services and Good Governance. They both echoed these sentiments regarding our work on audit, and the Minister even said that he would like to hold a conference in Mauritius when our project officially launches.
There is also a rabid hunger for more CA’s in Mauritius, as I discovered over lunch with some Big Four partners. Similar to what I was told last month in Kuala Lumpur - whilst there is huge demand, the lack of tuition providers means there just isn’t the capacity to meet it. We need to be instrumental in changing this.
Next was Dubai, for the Middle East “Finance of Excellence” Awards - a lavish, outdoor ceremony to recognise the achievements of the accountancy profession across the region. This was an ICAEW event, but around half of the attendees were non-members, from the wider profession and other areas of finance.
I took the opportunity to promote ICAEW’s brand and vision during my speech, and was honoured to present one of four prestigious “World Prize” awards. At the event, I met a married couple who are both tuition providers and boast incredible achievements with our young graduates. Two of the lady’s students were World Prize winners, and her husband’s students have a 100% pass rate at the final, case study stage of the ACA.
I must also pay tribute to the guest speaker, Gavin Esler, of BBC News fame. Gavin made a remarkable speech on the qualities of leadership across the world. He inspiringly told us that great and successful leaders are the ones who have stories to tell.
Finally to Mumbai, India, to speak at another flagship ICAEW event, attended by both members and non-members. This event also served as a launch for our “Building Strong Economies” book. I was fortunate to meet with several people featured in the book, including a 36-year veteran of the Tata group; the group president for corporate governance and development at the billion dollar Hinduja Group, and the former managing director of multimedia giant, the India Today Group.
The main speaker at the event was an eccentric and all-round extraordinary man; a Shakespearean actor who had also run an advertising agency. His speech was simply brilliant.
My final engagement was at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India’s (ICAI) annual conference, attended by 1500 people. I took part in a panel discussion alongside representatives from CPA Canada and CPA Australia, on the wide-ranging topic of, “The Accountancy Profession in the Global Realm – Opportunities in the Emerging and Developed Markets”. I saw this as a great opportunity to promote our capacity building work across the developing world, as well as our focus on sustainability.
I am also pleased to report that the President of ICAI, like his counterpart in Mauritius, was very keen to become involved with our work on the future of audit.
CA’s in India recognise their pivotal role serving one of the world’s newest major economies, and they take their responsibilities and their profession very seriously.
These trips were a wonderful end to 2017, giving me yet more insight into the lives of our fantastic members and partners across the world, and allowing me to bring ICAEW’s insight to important debates and challenges. I look forward to resuming my trips in January.
May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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