Anton Colella: It’s not where you’re born that matters, it’s the value you bring

Anton Colella at the ICAS Conference 2016
Anton Colella By Anton Colella, ICAS CEO

7 October 2016

ICAS normally likes to stay above the day to day punch and parry of political conflict. But two related statements from speeches at the Conservative Party Conference have tempted me into comment on behalf of our members.

The Prime Minister, in criticisms of the business elite, referred to those who live an international corporate life as “citizens of nowhere”.

The Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said she is considering asking companies to publish details of the non-British workers they employ.

Hopefully, these ill-judged comments will sink in the swamp of political mudslinging.

However, I feel it is my duty to place some context around the value we place as an Institute on those who lead an international business life and the positive impact their leadership delivers.

We have always taken pride in the fact that the CA qualification is a global qualification.

Throughout the history of our Institute our members have travelled the world founding, growing and leading great businesses.

They have spread the word of professionalism, created wealth and employment, acted as ambassadors for Scotland and Britain, and everywhere they have gone they have given back to those societies and to the country where they were born.

Their achievements, values and behaviours deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and regarded as a matter of pride as to the positive role that CAs and citizens of the UK have played on a world stage.

Regarding the comments on the listing of foreign workers, I will simply point out that a recent survey of our FDs and CFOs suggested that the number one issue for our members in Brexit Britain was the need to be able to hire and retain the best talent from around Europe into their businesses.

It’s not where you are born that matters, it’s the value you bring.

If we are serious about growing the UK economy, our businesses must be able to attract the best global talent. 

If we are serious about improving the wealth of our nation our young CAs must continue to be able to have unfettered access to the global market place to experience and understand the nature of global business and to put their knowledge into practice for the wider good of society.

It is not our role to get involved in the political fray but on these matters I feel it is important to make an exception and hopefully put forward views which will be shared across the ICAS membership.

I feel this needs to be said at such a critical time for business and the economy. 

Please let me know what you think.


  • Opinion
  • Brexit

Previous Page