Webinars: Life through a lens
Webinars are keeping the world turning and learning during lockdown – and ICAS is leading the way.
Self-isolation would certainly have had far more profound consequences had Covid-19 broken out before Tim Berners-Lee’s spent time dabbling on the side, away from his main job, and came up with the worldwide web. Even in the internet’s childhood, through the 1990s and early 2000s, the depth of this crisis would have been immeasurably worse than it has been in 2020.
One of the key tools digital connectivity has blessed us with is screen-based, face-to-face interaction in a manner that would have seemed like sci-fi within living memory. Social distancing has forced organisers of events, conferences and schools to convert to virtual, “prompting the consideration about how these in person gatherings will return to a ‘new normal’ in a post-pandemic world,” as the Business 2 Community website put it.
Indeed, fears about human proximity will likely linger long after Covid-19, and profoundly affect how we go about business and education. Big, expensive city offices “may be a thing of the past”, according to Jes Staley, CEO of Barclays, which now has 70,000 staff working from home, while Mark Zuckerberg has said Facebook is set to be “aggressively opening up remote hiring”. The webinar frenzy is unlikely to wane any time soon – if at all.
ICAS is taking the initiative, setting the standard for organisations harnessing their power to the full. Recent tax webinars have included two spring updates: one focusing on taxation of individuals, with David Menzies (Director of Practice), Charlotte Barbour (Director of Taxation) and Justine Riccomini (Head of Taxation); and another on business tax, with Menzies chairing and speakers including Susan Cattell (Head of Tax Technical Policy) and Philip McNeil (Head of Taxation, Tax Practice and OMBs).
Both webinars enlightened participants on the finer detail of tax regulation, which seems to evolve almost as rapidly as the Google algorithm, especially in times of crisis – questions addressed included whether Covid-19-related grants for companies with small business rates relief will also be taxable as income for the self-employed.
The Insights webinar series, meanwhile, has focused more on the also ever-changing culture of the accounting profession. Hosted by Sarah Speirs, Executive Director of Member Engagement and Communications, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion webinar stressed the fact that diversity is good for business (companies with at least one woman on the board outperform men-only boards by 32%).
The Mental Fitness in Focus webinar saw Lianne Stewart CA and Jonny Jacobs CA mull over the question of how we can make psychological wellbeing as much of a priority as physical health.
Coronavirus and Its Impact on the Global Economy saw James Barbour, Director of Policy Leadership, exchange ideas with economics and finance professor and former Chief Economist at Lloyds Bank, Trevor Williams, and Principal in Public Policy and Regulation at the International Federation of Accountants, Scott Hanson, on previous pandemics’ effect on the global economy, and how to harness any opportunities presented by this one.
Few words have become as ubiquitous as fast as “webinar” has – and long may we learn from them.
Thank you to everyone who has joined our webinar panels in the last few months and to all members who have attended.
For full details about all our webinars, past and up coming, please go to
This article first appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of CA magazine.