ICAS President: How to live up to the ICAS motto

By Mike McKeon CA, ICAS President

7 May 2019

ICAS is on the long but invigorating journey to rebuilding trust in the profession.

As I set out on a year with the honour and privilege of being your President, I reflect that trust in our profession and in institutions, in general, has perhaps never been more challenged. Since the financial crisis of 2008/9 people have rightly been asking who they can trust, when so much went wrong over that period.

Trust is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as the “firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something”. For an Institute that has “Quaere Verum” (Seek the truth) as its motto, CAs should not have too much difficulty aligning with this definition.

We all recognise that trust takes a long time to build and yet falls very rapidly. Society is now on that long journey to rebuild trust in one another, and in our institutions, and ICAS is continuing to play a leading role in how we restore trust in our profession – important not only for its own sake but also for the future well-being and success of our members.

ICAS is continuing to play a leading role in how we restore trust in our profession – important not only for its own sake but also for the future well-being and success of our members

ICAS’ journey started back in 2010 when we published The Future of Assurance – a report that is being examined again today – through to our groundbreaking work on ethics, the Power of One. More recently, we have actively contributed to the Kingman Review on corporate governance and the CMA study on the audit market, and are currently working with the Brydon Review on the Future of Audit.

Consequently, 2019 is going to be a very busy year for our profession and we at ICAS will play our part in full. But let us be clear: all these reviews will not be for nothing. Things will change and we need to prepare our Institute and our members for these changes.

One area in which we have already made changes, and will need to do more, is in how we educate and train our students. From this September new students will be looking at a radically different syllabus with greater emphasis on ethics, technology and business acumen.

New students will be looking at a radically different syllabus with greater emphasis on ethics, technology and business acumen

But looking forward, we will need to see what skills the CAs of 2030 will need, and adapt our education and training accordingly. We should also not be blind to the opportunities that a professional body such as ours has to extend a ‘professional’ home, with ethics at its core, to other people in the financial workplace. The core technical CA will remain but we must also look to wider opportunities.

Through all this, we need to ensure that our members remain at the heart of our Institute.  I am encouraged by the work that has been going on to enhance our ability to serve our members. Significant investments in new technology will open up opportunities to enhance the member offering. From more streamlined processes to a greater ability to “self-serve”, creating virtual groupings, and enhancing the offering to our students – our future members – I hope you will all see tangible improvements this year.

We often talk of the ICAS “family” and we need to make this a firm reality for all. This year will see much progress in this area under the leadership of our CEO Bruce Cartwright and his team.

This is a challenging yet invigorating time for our profession and I look forward to my year as your President with great optimism, pride and humility. I also hope to engage with as many of you as I can, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch at mmckeon@icas.com.

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