ICAS President, Indy Singh Hothi CA: Reflections on my time as President
In his final column as President, Indy Singh Hothi CA looks back on a year of engagement, inclusion and reinvention
When I became ICAS President a year ago, there were several key areas I was keen to address. My final column in the post gives me a chance to reflect on what I think has been achieved over the past 12 months and the firm foundations we have laid down for the future of our organisation.
I was the first ICAS office bearer to meet with our students through a series of induction events, welcoming the people who represent the future of our profession. I also engaged with our area networks, the lifeblood of our communities on the ground, along with our membership base, from those working in the Big Four to small practice, from entrepreneurs running their own businesses to CAs working in industry, the public or third sectors. I will long remember our conversations about the effects of the pandemic, and how these CAs navigated their businesses and supported their clients along the way.
Home and abroad
It was an honour to represent ICAS at the World Congress of Accountants in Mumbai in November. This is an important forum to discuss global issues, and ICAS has a big voice in those discussions.
Closer to home, we’ve been engaging with Holyrood and Westminster on audit reform, a subject of huge significance to many members. Given the political landscape right now, it would be easy for this to slip down the priority list. The last thing we need is to see it surge back to the top of the agenda because of a crisis that could have been avoided. ICAS has, quite rightly, pushed for this process to be seen through to its conclusion, while also placing more focus on engaging with both governments.
Another key area of serving as President is chairing ICAS Council and supporting the executive with the ICAS 2030 strategy, which entails significant changes to our syllabus, how we deliver education and how we articulate what we stand for. Our members will see that change happening very soon.
Our clients and students will see the new learning platform and syllabus introduced throughout the next 12 to 24 months. This process will have a lasting impact on our profession and membership base, and will maintain the position of ICAS as the leading educator with the gold standard qualification for our profession. That is of paramount importance to us.
Ultimately it is about recognising that we live in a dynamic, fast-changing world. To maintain that position, we have to lead from the front. And that’s exactly what we’ve done with this new strategy and our education delivery, which takes the best of in-person and digital learning and blends them together.
Furthermore, ours will be a leading-edge syllabus, especially when we think about sustainability, AI and machine learning. We are setting our future membership up for success. And we are providing the CPD and training necessary for existing members to thrive in their chosen fields. That will have a lasting impact that will go way beyond my term as President.
If there has been one overarching theme throughout the past 12 months it has been ensuring our events and initiatives are inclusive. I remember one occasion, while waiting for a train at Paddington, when a fellow member said how proud they were to see someone like me in this role – not just for the representation, but also for what I stand for, and how my values align with what being a CA is all about.
Such moments have been touching. If I hadn’t fully recognised the importance of becoming President a year ago, I certainly do now. I’m hugely proud of that, and of evolving the nature of the office bearer role to reflect modern life, business and leadership.
Being President has been an experience I will never forget. I wish my immediate successor – and those to come in the future – all the best. I know they will continue to champion the launch of the new strategy and syllabus. I’m also excited to be working with Chartered Accountants Worldwide, as well as with ICAS and the ICAS Foundation, promoting social mobility in the profession and thinking about topics such as financial literacy, and how our institute can have a global impact.
Although I will be a Past President, I intend to be very active, and to continue championing accountancy as the force for good I know it is.
Indy Singh Hothi CA will be speaking at the ICAS sustainability summit on 26 April. Register here