The Power of One in Australia

Sydney harbour
Chris Sheedy By Chris Sheedy, CA Today

18 October 2016

On two very distant edges of a continent far away from Scotland, ICAS members learned that they’re not isolated, after all.

It is more likely than you might think that a CA, during their career, will find themselves in situations in which their ethics are tested. How they act and perform during those situations will be a result of a mix of factors including their personal standards, their training and the support they feel they have from their organisation, colleagues, friends, family and industry.

So it follows that when a CA is feeling isolated, identifying the correct course of action can be more difficult. This is why, during a recent visit to Australia by several ICAS executives, the message to CAs who are far from home was that they are never alone.

“That came across very strongly, the fact that ICAS is right there to help you,” said Billy Meston CA, PwC Partner and Chair of the ICAS community in Western Australia. Billy organised an evening event, bringing around 30 ICAS members together to meet James Barbour, Director of Technical Policy for ICAS.

“James made a presentation on the Power of One and ICAS members who attended the event in the PwC Perth offices really appreciated his message,” Billy continued.

When you’re an ICAS member, you are part of something bigger.

"When you are a CA working on the other side of the world you don't have the same network of family and friends that you had in the UK. As a result, you can feel quite isolated. If you experience a difficult situation that challenges ethical boundaries, being on the other side of the world just adds additional pressure.

“It really resonated when James said that when you’re an ICAS member, you are part of something bigger, and you can ring or email or can contact ICAS by whatever means you think appropriate and a specialist will help you navigate the situation.”

As it turned out, almost half of the CAs who attended the networking event had found themselves in troubling ethical territory at least once in their careers, so the message was well appreciated.

Power of One event

Left to right: ICAS President Ken McHattie CA; Jonathan Dunlop CA; ICAS Chief Executive Anton Colella.

On the other side of the country, in the new, harbour-side offices of KPMG Sydney, Jonathan Dunlop CA, KPMG Partner and Chair of the Sydney ICAS community, was hosting another Power of One event, this time with ICAS President Ken McHattie CA and Chief Executive Anton Colella.

After Jonathan’s opening address, Anton spoke on the topic of the Power of One and the ICAS Foundation. Ken ran the attendees through his career, plucking out specific moments and experiences that illustrated the enormous benefits of support during challenging moments. 

Jonathan then discussed the changes he is introducing to the Sydney ICAS community, including operating as a network (and therefore exploiting the Power of One), making the committee more representative of the membership base, booking more events with high-profile speakers and boosting the face-to-face mentoring program.

We now have permission from ICAS to run a face-to-face mentoring program in Sydney.

He said: “I spoke about the very successful mentoring event that we recently held. We now have permission from ICAS to run a global pilot, a face-to-face mentoring program in Sydney. That is a very exciting development and should offer great opportunity for local CAs.

“We had a lot of very positive feedback about the event. The attendees, who included some very senior people I had persuaded to come along, really appreciated the fact that Ken and Anton had come out from Scotland. 

"They appreciated the conviviality of the event and the fact that so many people from across the spectrum had turned up. It very much demonstrated the potency of the ‘Power of One’.”

About the author

Chris Sheedy is one of Australia’s busiest and most successful freelance writers. He has been published regularly in the Sydney Morning Herald, Virgin Australia Voyeur, The Australian Magazine, GQ, In The Black, Cadillac, Management Today, Men’s Fitness and countless other big-brand publications. He is frequently commissioned to carry out copywriting and corporate writing projects for organisations, including banks, universities, television networks, restaurant chains and major charities, through his business The Hard Word.


  • CA life
  • The Power of One
  • Australia

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