An update from the CEO on progress at ICAS
Bruce Cartwright CA provides an update from ICAS on key activities delivered during the coronavirus pandemic.
I think it’s fair to say that ICAS has changed in recent months – and continues to change as we progress through this pandemic.
We were ready as an organisation for remote working but, just like everyone, we have had to adapt, and quickly.
You may have joined one of our new weekly webinars, providing the latest coronavirus updates, or you may have been one of our first students to take online exams – however you have engaged with ICAS I hope you have been reassured by the support and services delivered during these testing times.
Perhaps lesser known, and sometimes unseen, ICAS has been doing a great deal of work on behalf of Members to engage with both the UK and Scottish governments on matters relating to coronavirus. Our policy and influence work in other areas continues too. A good example of this is the recently published Future of Taxation report which makes recommendations for addressing key issues affecting taxation in the UK. Our work in such areas is ongoing so please keep an eye-out for updates via your weekly Member email – CA Weekly.
I also want to highlight the work ICAS and the Guthrie Group have been doing to increase awareness of equality, diversity and inclusion issues. Most recently, this includes the commissioning of a piece of research exploring ICAS Members’ views and experiences of ethnic and racial discrimination in the workplace. An independent research company, James Law Research, is carrying out this research and you should receive an email invitation from them with a link to the survey. I would urge you to take the time to complete the survey as this feedback will be hugely important to ICAS.
ICAS is a fair, open and inclusive organisation, committed to driving positive change in our profession and in our society. The majority of ICAS staff have been working remotely since March, facilitated by the increased adoption of Microsoft Teams, video calls and virtual meetings. This update, which has been gathered from teams across ICAS, outlines some of the support and engagement activity delivered over recent months. The pandemic has not been easy for anyone, and I want to commend and thank everyone for their efforts.
I hope you find this update useful and, as always, please do get in touch with us via the contact email addresses and phone number indicated if we can be of any help or assistance.
Key ICAS activities
The coronavirus hub
Launched in the early stages of the pandemic, the ICAS coronavirus hub on icas.com pulls together a range of advice, support and information about coronavirus.
The student hub
The CA student hub was set up to provide students with essential updates, latest resources and information on the status of all ICAS courses, study materials and exams during the coronavirus emergency.
The webinar hub
As the number of webinars ICAS delivered during lockdown grew, we set up the ICAS webinar hub providing details of all upcoming webinars and links to catch up on those already held.
Support and guidance
Throughout the crisis our team of subject experts have been working to produce useful support and guidance. This has included web articles, explainer videos and guidance documents, sometimes developed in partnership with other expert bodies. These materials have been made available primarily through the coronavirus hub. We have also provided regular Ask ICAS and ICAS Insights webinars, and free CPD webinars with our training partner BPP Professional Development.
As the coronavirus crisis has created pressures on our health and wellbeing, this new resource as developed for ICAS Members to learn more about wellbeing-related topics, with links to information and assistance. CA wellbeing will continue to grow though the feedback and insight of ICAS Members.
In June we launched a new platform for CA magazine at www.camagazine.co.uk to improve the digital reading experience. We have ensured that each edition of the magazine continues to offer thought-provoking content, while providing insight and analysis to support Members as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds.
Online learning and exams
CA examinations have been delivered entirely online this year. ICAS has also been able to deliver online learning using Microsoft Teams.
Our first webinar was held in April and since then they have been held weekly on a range of topics.
- 36 webinars were run between 1 April and 13 August
- 5,755 Members have registered
- 4,251 Members have attended with an average of 118 attendees per webinar
- Members attended from 19 different countries worldwide
- webinar recordings on YouTube have received over 4,000 views.
Gathering Member feedback
We have asked ICAS Members for their views on the various business support schemes that have been made available and results have been fed back to government. ICAS has had regular meetings with ministers from both the UK and Scottish governments during the COVID-19 pandemic. In effect, ICAS has acted as a two-way conduit between government and the business community.
Ministers have also participated in a number of ICAS webinars allowing them the opportunity to explain their policy responses to the crisis and to receive feedback from CAs on practical issues encountered by business.
ICAS has written to the UK and Scottish governments welcoming their various business support schemes but also highlighting gaps and areas for improvement. This is where the insights provided by CAs have been invaluable.
Working with other bodies
The UK and Scottish Governments, HMRC, HM Treasury, and everyone involved in developing and implementing the measures introduced to try to ease the economic impact of coronavirus have instigated closer and stronger collaboration with the professional bodies and the accountancy profession. We have also held monthly calls with the Big Four and tier one firms, and regular meetings with other professional bodies. We hope this close working will continue as we work our way out of the crisis because it has been beneficial for both our Members and all those involved.