Inside ICAS: January 2022’s top talking points
From our new insight series to the results of our EDI and mental fitness surveys, your Office Bearer team review their top talking points from a month of planning and preparation at ICAS.
President Bruce Pritchard CA, Deputy President Indy Hothi CA, and Vice President Clive Bellingham CA highlight some of the key ICAS initiatives and activities they were talking about during January.
Bruce’s top talking point
…what might the year hold in store for us and how can we ensure that we are equipped to succeed and remain at the forefront?
Bruce Pritchard CA, ICAS President
"I ended 2021 by looking back on the year that had been and reflecting positively on the many ways in which we as individuals, CAs as a profession, and ICAS itself, had responded to often difficult situations, working to overcome problems and develop solutions. I begin 2022 by looking forward: what might the year hold in store for us and how can we ensure that we are equipped to succeed and remain at the forefront, leading the debate and driving change in and out of our organisations? Enter Finance+.
Launched last week, Finance+ is ICAS’ new insight series. It aims to help us take a positive look beyond the traditional boundaries of our finance roles and consider the bigger picture. Throughout the year, you’ll find content across all ICAS channels, featuring a range of experts delivering the kind of insights that will benefit you, your work and the wider world. The series is centred around the six key themes that are likely to present our profession with the most challenge and greatest opportunity in 2022: Trust, Mental Fitness, Technology, Leadership, EDI, and Sustainability.
The series also aims to benefit from the depth and breadth of expertise that exists within the ICAS membership, and we’re keen to hear from Members with experience related to any of the themes they’d like to share with fellow CAs."
You can learn more about the series and how to get involved at the new Finance+ section of icas.com.
Indy’s top talking point
A snapshot of results from the survey highlights why that pro-workplace-wellbeing position is of such importance.
Indy Hothi CA, ICAS Deputy President
“The process of looking to the year ahead that Bruce discusses also extends to ICAS itself. At this time of year there’s always a lot of work going on, with various project teams considering ways in which to update and improve the services and support ICAS offers to its Members, Students and firms. This process is heavily influenced by insights gleaned from the surveys that ICAS undertakes throughout the year. Towards the end of 2021 an ICAS survey looked jointly at Members’ and Students’ experiences in relation to mental fitness and EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion), and the results were published this month. The topic of mental fitness gained additional prominence during the first pandemic lockdowns, pushing it through to the mainstream and forcing it up the business agenda. ICAS played a prominent part in helping to highlight the issues, and through its three-year Mental Fitness Strategy will play an equally important role in ensuring that mental fitness doesn’t fall from prominence and becomes accepted as a key priority for a successful business strategy.
A snapshot of results from the survey highlights why that pro-workplace-wellbeing position is of such importance to the profession: 82% of you who responded to the survey said you felt an inappropriate amount of stress related to work, 64% had experienced or knew someone who had experienced anxiety in the past 12 months, and 38% had experienced or knew someone who had experienced depression.
You can read more here about the survey results and what ICAS has been doing to provide support and address some of the issues raised, and I’ll leave Clive to tell you about the results from the EDI portion of the survey."
Clive’s top talking point
…mental fitness and EDI are about ensuring that all of us as individuals are equally empowered to perform to the best of our abilities.
Clive Bellingham CA, ICAS Vice President
“You might think of the topics of mental fitness and EDI as being quite distinct but they are, in many ways, similar and interconnected. Both mental fitness and EDI are about ensuring that all of us as individuals are equally empowered to perform to the best of our abilities and that organisations are equipped to, and understand how to, build inclusive workplace cultures that don’t discriminate and help everyone to fulfil their potential.
Just as with the results of the mental fitness portion of the survey, the EDI-related results provide a valuable snapshot of experiences and perceptions within the profession and show why ICAS’ work in this area must remain a priority throughout the year ahead. Whilst the 2020 ICAS EDI survey focused on ethnicity issues, the 2021 survey had a stronger focus on gender-related issues. The results included insights such as that 27% had experienced sexist banter or jokes, 50% thought more could be done to improve opportunities for female CAs, and 70% believed that ICAS’ commitment to gender equality is genuine."
What else has got us talking
Engagement with HMRC: As with any month, a variety of meetings took place in January between ICAS and HMRC, including a discussion on MTD Penalties reform, a Stakeholder Compliance Reform Forum roundtable meeting, the Agents Digital Design and Advisory Group, and the Representative Body Steering Group, which met to discuss ongoing agents' work pressures due to COVID, etc.
Consultation responses: During January ICAS submitted responses to the following consultations: the IASB consultation on Disclosures in IFRS Standards, and the Scottish Public Pensions Agency consultation to update the regulations for the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme. As always, these responses contained and were driven by feedback from Members, ensuring your opinions and interests are represented at the highest levels.
That’s all for this month’s round-up. Join us again in a few weeks to find out what else has got us talking.