CA magazine: March 2021
In December 2020, ICAS took the decision to rename the Guthrie Group to the ED&I Committee. It’s a reflection of the great diversity of ICAS members and students, and recognition that each and every voice must be treated with equal importance.
Our recent survey of ethnically diverse people (EDP) – who make up 4% of members, but 22% of our student body – shows that we have some way to go. We found that 68% of EDP members and students feel ICAS needs to do more to support them.
To guide our strategy, the ED&I Committee has issued this statement of intent: “ICAS is committed to placing equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of all that we do. With our partner organisations, we are committed to building a diverse membership and workforce that reflects and advances the communities we serve. We aspire to lead our profession in addressing these challenges, so that we can learn, grow and advance together.”
We each have a quiet power that goes beyond our job roles. Our words and actions affect workplace culture, meaning we can reshape teams, firms, even entire sectors, to reflect the values we hold important. And ED&I must be placed centre stage.
At ICAS, we have an important role to play in ensuring accountancy is a welcoming profession and steering the wider business community towards a more inclusive future. The ethical and financial arguments are clear. People who feel comfortable in their workplace will be happier and perform better. And an organisation that truly reflects the society it serves is one that is engaging with the widest range of stakeholders. We are proud that the ICAS Foundation has helped more than 200 students from less advantaged backgrounds to pursue accountancy and finance at university.
But there is more to be done. Read the interview with Tracey Rob Perera CA, Chair of the ED&I Committee, on page 38 to learn about our approach going forward. And we’ve hired Ian Bettison, an ED&I manager with 20 years’ experience, to support the committee in setting and delivering strategy.
This is a journey for us all, one that needs ongoing attention to ensure we engage all groups in society and drive the conversation forward. ICAS will be producing thought leadership and webinars, as well as running the Championing Unique Perspectives campaign with some of our diverse voices. We hope CA magazine, and this issue in particular, will inform your ED&I journey.