Jonathan Dunlop CA on his vision for the ICAS Sydney community
Jonathan Dunlop CA, KPMG Partner and the new Chair of Sydney’s ICAS community, wants to build an ICAS members community in Sydney that provides members with events that they want and delivers value for money, given recent fee increases for overseas members.
When he first arrived in Australia on what was originally a two-year secondment, having completed his CA training with Thomson McClintock & Co in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square, Jonathan quickly realised how far away from the rest of the world he was.
It was 1989 and the main form of international communication at the time was fax, thanks to the expense and questionable quality of telephone. Meeting another Scottish CA was always a pleasant surprise. But there was a feeling that you really had to make your own way because of the relative remoteness of your location.
What a difference a couple of decades makes. Technology has brought us in line with, and closer to, the rest of the world. There is an immediacy of communication that removes any feeling of geographic isolation. And it is against this brave new backdrop of global oneness that Jonathan sees the opportunity for a strong ICAS community in Sydney and, he hopes, across Australia.
'Shifting the ICAS dial'
“ICAS is an organisation with global relevance. Its members are scattered around the globe, meaning some sense this relevance more strongly than others,” Jonathan, a partner at KPMG for almost 20 years, says.
“There is a real opportunity today to shift the dial on what ICAS means to its international members. We are all proud of our qualification and of the work we put into it. Now it is incumbent upon senior members to make the Institute, and the network it offers us, more significant to us as overseas members.”
In Sydney alone, Jonathan says, there are close to 350 ICAS members. “The potential to create a community is enormous when you think about 350 highly skilled professionals working in business and commerce,” he says. “I’m thinking of it as a tangible business network which can offer real advantages to members. It can be so much more than a social or cultural community for Scottish expats!”
There is a real opportunity today to shift the dial on what ICAS means to its international members. We are all proud of our qualification and of the work we put into it.
Jonathan believes that getting more members involved in the ICAS Sydney committee is essential to getting broader engagement from Sydney based members.
“Our committee is full of very enthusiastic and engaged members, but we are all male and largely working in the profession. Almost 50% of our members in Sydney are female. One of my short term aims is to have 50% of the committee consisting of females.
"In addition, a large number of our Sydney members work in commerce and we need to attract more of them on to the committee too. To be able to come up with the best ideas and deliver events that appeal to the members, it is important to have the right representation on our committee,” he says.
Building the Sydney community
“Following the increase in overseas members fees, we have been allocated a budget from ICAS to run events.
"The events we would seek to apply ICAS funds to would be ones that have a broad appeal to all members, once we’ve developed our understanding of what they want. Broad committee representation also offers the opportunity to create events that are specific to particular member groups, such as events for women or under-35s.”
Jonathan, who has also managed KPMG’s Transaction Services business and Deal Advisory division, says technology is the enabler of a powerful ICAS experience for overseas members. The trick is figuring out how technology can be harnessed to the advantage of members, he believes. One example is the way ICAS is already utilising technology to provide mentoring opportunities for young CAs around the globe.
However it develops, it will do so only once the current ICAS community has been consulted to discover exactly what members want. A truly representative committee will then make it a reality. Once this is achieved, Jonathan says, the already powerful ICAS brand will develop an entirely new level of personal significance and influence for those living and working on the other side of the globe.
If you would like to discuss any ideas with Jonathan Dunlop regarding the ICAS Sydney community, please email him.