ICAS publishes Black Talent action plan
ICAS has published an action plan to identify and understand the barriers faced by Black Members so that action can be taken to improve experiences and outcomes.
The plan forms part of ICAS’ commitment as a signatory of the Charter for Black Talent in Finance and the Professions. ICAS was proud to sign up to the Charter in March 2021 after it was launched in October 2020 by Harry Matovu QC, Barrister at Brick Court Chambers, and Michael Eboda, CEO of Powerful Media, following the killing of George Floyd.
The Charter requires signatories to establish measurable data against which they can assess progress on improving equality of opportunity for Black Talent in their businesses, with clear action plans and ambitious targets.
Participating organisations are also required by the Charter to apply the same standard business techniques to the growth of Black Talent as they would apply to projects for revenue growth.
Through the publication of this action plan, ICAS is pledging to create an environment where Black CAs and CA Students can access support and guidance, develop to their full potential, and benefit from mentoring from other Black CAs. The plan will evaluate the experiences of Black Members compared to other groups and report on outcomes and differences.
The plan also pledges to increase the Black Talent applying for roles and being shortlisted for interview within ICAS by creating an inclusive workplace culture, and by providing training for managers on recruitment and developing diverse teams.
In developing this plan, ICAS has considered advice from Black Members, including feedback from the Ethnically Diverse People survey which was carried out in 2020 and again in 2021, and by speaking directly to Members from a range of career stages and backgrounds about their experiences.
ICAS Chief Executive Bruce Cartwright said:
“I am delighted that ICAS has published its action plan for the Charter for Black Talent. It is vital we are open and transparent about the experiences of our Black Members, Students and staff. Understanding their personal experiences and outcomes will help us develop strategies to support their continued professional development and ensure they are able to reach their potential.
“Our actions are specific and clear. We must identify where there are barriers, review and understand the causes, then take action to reduce and remove the impact. Our plan sets ambitious targets with senior executive accountability over three years, after which we will review the impact we have made and update our actions to drive continuous improvement.
“Ultimately, this action plan is fundamental to the growth of ICAS and will help us towards achieving our ambition to develop CAs who will be the inclusive leaders of tomorrow.”
Harry Matovu QC, founder of the Charter, said:
“With the publication of this plan, ICAS has demonstrated its firm commitment to the Charter and its objectives, and its appreciation of the need for clear action, transparency and accountability to deliver those objectives within its organisation and among its Member Firms and Students. Many in the sector recognise the need for action, and ICAS, as a global professional body for Chartered Accountants, brings huge weight and authority to this initiative. This is wonderful to see.
“After years of inaction on the recruitment and progression of Black Talent in finance and the professions, the aim of the Charter is to shift the dial at last through committed, meaningful action rather than aspirational statements, however sincere. This is about the under-representation of Black talent in these sectors, a problem which has been hidden for years under the blanket of the nebulous ‘BAME’ acronym. But the blanket has now been pulled away, and the particular discrimination suffered by Black professionals has now been revealed through hard data and testimony.
“We all recognise that there is a long way to go. But by creating this clear action plan with ambitious targets, and by establishing measurable data to assess progress, ICAS is demonstrating that it takes responsibility within the organisation and is leading by example by improving equality of opportunity for Black Talent. It also shows how, with careful thought, an ambitious but realistic action plan can be devised with the potential to create real and lasting change. This is what the Charter is about, and I hope that ICAS’ example will inspire and encourage its Member Firms and many others to join this initiative, and to collaborate and work together to shift the paradigm of the perception and treatment of Black Talent in the financial and the professional services sectors.”
The adoption, promotion and embedding of a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion is a priority for ICAS. ICAS has formed an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee to take this priority forward, to support ICAS Members and to work towards creating a more inclusive profession.
To find out more about ICAS’s work on EDI, how it will support the Charter and meet the pledges made, please contact Ian Bettison, ICAS’ Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager.
To find out more about the Charter and to encourage your organisation to sign up visit: www.blacktalentcharter.com/thecharter