Ken McHattie CA: ICAS is a bright beacon in turbulent times
Ken McHattie reflects on his year in office and looks ahead to the Institute’s ongoing role as a force for positive change
So, here we are, my last article as your president. But don’t worry – my successor, Sir Brian Souter, will be along shortly!
As is traditional, this is an opportunity for me to reflect on my year in office and, needless to say, to assure everyone that ICAS is in fantastic shape and ready to meet the challenges ahead.
Well, as far as my year is concerned, it certainly hasn’t been short on events, both personally and more widely. As I mentioned at a dinner recently, I wasn’t the only golf-loving president with Aberdeen connections to shoot to fame this year … and that came on top of Brexit.
Talented members across a global community
The list of places I’ve been lucky enough to visit is long but includes Bangkok, Bermuda and Brasilia, not to forget some super evenings in Bristol and Bishopton. In all the places I visited, I was struck by what a fascinating bunch of members we have.
From those even older than myself (step forward Allan Millar, who kindly travelled a long way to attend our lunch in Bangkok) to the many recently qualifieds who I met in Sydney, Hong Kong and San Francisco, we are fortunate indeed to have such a talented and fascinating array of past and future business leaders throughout the membership.
Many thanks to all those who took the time and trouble to come to the various events I hosted.
All this serves to confirm that ICAS is in tremendous shape. While I’d love to claim that’s down to me, the reality is that the credit needs to go to lots of people. In particular, the council and office bearers over many years, and the ICAS team, have worked tirelessly to take the institute into the 21st century in a way which will best serve you, our members.
As context, we set out a few years ago to become a global professional community. We quickly decided that was a bit lacking in ambition. So, we made it harder for ourselves by aiming to become the leading global professional community. A lofty ambition indeed. Overblown? I don’t think so.
The concept of community is now a key driver in ICAS thinking. The benefits of a community approach in terms of member engagement, networking and mutual support are plain to see. And, while ICAS has always attracted its share of talented young people (even back in my day), thanks to an enormous amount of hard work by our member firms and training companies we are attracting even more of the brightest and the best.
The result is a younger, more diverse and more dynamic organisation which is in a better position to achieve our aims. That work will continue as we strive to build communities around Britain and in key overseas locations and, in doing so, help to create the business leaders of tomorrow.
A positive outlook for the future
However, it is also fair to say that I have never in my career had to deal with such unpredictable times. All sorts of previously understood certainties are no longer so and we are left wondering whether the world is indeed spinning off its axis. I doubt that is the case.
On the contrary, I believe we must approach the next few years with a positive outlook and embrace the challenges and opportunities that the business community will face.
We cannot sit back and allow the world to be shaped in ways that will make it more difficult for businesses and entrepreneurs to flourish. If we do, events will inevitably work to the detriment of the poorest and the most disadvantaged. We have a responsibility to speak up and make our voice heard in relation to those critical issues which affect the ability of businesses to create wealth and deliver positive outcomes in our communities.
The role of ICAS and its members has never been more important and I am delighted that I leave it in the best of hands. Being your president has been a huge honour for which my thanks are due to you, the members of ICAS, and I look forward to watching ICAS go from strength to strength in the years ahead.
Read the full version of this article in the April 2017 edition of CA magazine