The profession is in good hands

Sir Brian Souter
By Sir Brian Souter, ICAS President

16 November 2017

Brian Souter looks back on Anton Colella’s contribution to ICAS and forward to a bright future with the next generation of CAs

In September, Anton Colella announced his resignation as CEO of ICAS after 10 years at the helm. During this period ICAS has changed significantly, seen an increase in membership of 31% to more than 21,000, engaged more with its members and enhanced its reputation both at home and abroad.

Anton will be moving to take up the role of global CEO of Moore Stephens International, which has more than 28,000 staff and partners and $2.9bn in fee income. We want to thank Anton for his immense contribution to ICAS and wish him well with his new endeavours.

We have started recruiting for his successor who will lead ICAS in the future and continue to position us as one of the world’s most powerful business networks. Anton will stay in post while that search progresses.

Given ICAS’ reputation in the accounting profession and in the business community, I am confident there will be a wide range of high-class candidates interested in applying for the position.

The gold dust of the summit was CAs learning from CAs

One example of how Anton moved ICAS forward was the Young Leaders Summit, which this year was on the 42nd floor of “The Cheesegrater”, 122 Leadenhall Street, in the City of London. Nearly 200 of our smartest young CAs attended the summit and benefited from an inspirational afternoon, culminating in our One Young CA Awards for 2017. Many of the attendees had come from cities and towns outside London. One had even come from Nigeria!

The gold dust of the summit was CAs learning from CAs. Meeting and listening to these talented young leaders was hugely energising. It gives me confidence that the profession is in good hands and that the CA qualification is as relevant to business today as it has always been.

All attendees were challenged to make a difference going forward in their lives. The young leaders heard real-life tales from the CFO behind craft beer phenomenon Brewdog; the inside story of the CA who was CFO at Victoria Beckham’s fashion empire; and the humbling journey of last year’s One Young CA winner, Rimla Akhtar MBE, who sits on the Football Association Council and is Chair of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation.

We also heard from the entrepreneur and ambassador for small businesses, Holly Tucker – the founder of Not On the High Street, which went from a craft fair in Chiswick to a turnover of nearly £150m. She is campaigning to reposition the teaching of business in schools, a move that I am sure we would all support.

It was also great to see one of our more senior CAs in attendance – 88-year-old Tom Corrigan OBE.

In the past month, I have also had the pleasure of visiting many small firms around the country. I have met the most remarkable people on these visits. Sheila Robertson of Gall Robertson CA in Galashiels was one of them.

Her all-female firm of CAs works from offices on the site of a fast-growing circuit board factory, which is run by her husband and employs 64 people. The country needs more entrepreneurs like the Robertsons.

On the road, I also heard the real concerns of many practitioners about the challenges they face with Making Tax Digital. This was confirmed by the huge attendances at our workshops which aim to help CAs through these big changes.

More than 500 CAs have already attended these sessions from Inverness to London. ICAS is here to support our CA firms and sole practitioners through this time of major transformation (see page 41).

The last few weeks have demonstrated how vital it is that we continue to strive to meet the hugely varied needs of the ICAS membership, from The Cheesegrater to Galashiels to Nigeria.

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