The ICAS Research Panel
The Research Panel is responsible for the strategic direction of the ICAS Research Centre. The composition of the Group is diverse, with members representing practice, the public sector, business and academia. Profiles of the Research Panel members and ICAS staff are provided below.
The Research Panel
James Baird - Chair
James Baird is a former Managing Partner in Deloitte, having led the Scottish and NI practice from 2008 to 2010 and then leading the Deloitte Audit and Risk Advisory business in Switzerland from 2010 to 2015. During his time with Deloitte, he was also Global Leader of Audit Analytics, a member of the UK Talent Executive and a member of the Auditor Panel of the Global Public Policy Committee, comprising the six largest global firms and reporting to the firms’ global CEOs on audit quality, regulatory developments and the value of audit to market stakeholders. James was an Audit partner from 1998, a National Risk Partner for Deloitte in Audit as well as Corporate Finance, and a Senior Client Partner leading global audit and advisory engagements. He is bilingual in French and English, and has extensive experience working internationally.
Having retired from Deloitte in August 2017, James is an Honorary Professor at the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow, where he is also a part-time doctoral researcher focusing on audit judgment. He is working with ICAS as Moderator of the TPS Assurance and Business Systems examinations, and a member of the working group on Corporate Reporting.
Alpa is Reader in Accounting at Cardiff Business School where she also completed her PhD. Alpa’s research interests are oriented principally around ideas of morals and justice, and include research into non-profit accountability, particularly charity and NGO accountability, and more recently accountability and race.
Alpa’s research interests are reflected in her successes with attracting research funding and the wider academic activities she is involved with. Her research into charity accountability has, for example, been funded by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and more recently ICAS. Alpa is on the editorial boards of two international journals - Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal and British Accounting Review. She is also a member of her School’s self-assessment team for the Athena Swan Charter - framework that seeks to support gender equality in the higher education sector and she was recently appointed to the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the British Accounting and Finance Association that seeks to support equality across the different protected characteristics for its diverse membership.
Amanda Forsyth is a former investment manager whose experience in portfolio management runs the gamut from small, personal savings accounts to the largest of institutional investment funds. Thirty years’ experience in financial services began with accountancy training at KPMG, and she is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. During her professional career she also qualified with the Society of Investment Professionals (now CFA Institute) and she remains a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.
During her career, a particular focus has been on ethical investment – she managed Standard Life's first UK Ethical funds from launch, and she retains a keen interest in the development of ESG as a driving principle for investment selection.
Her accountancy training was lately put to particular use in the management of portfolios of shares in companies on the Alternative Investment Market for inheritance tax planning purposes. This is an area where impartial, detailed research can be difficult to obtain, and the investor is more than usually reliant directly on disclosures by company management.
Having retired from full-time investment management in 2020, Amanda is now building a portfolio of board-level responsibilities.
After graduating from the University of St Andrews with a degree in philosophy, Andrew joined Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co (now KPMG) in London. After a spell in general practice, he joined the firm’s technical department and subsequently the Accounting Standards Board on the formation of the FRC in 1990.
While with the ASB/FRC he worked on projects such as the debt/equity distinction (FRS 4); the Statement of Principles (Conceptual Framework); Provisions (IAS 37) and contributed to the development of research papers on leasing, pensions and tax. More recently he authored papers on the cash flow statement and the financial reporting of intangibles.
Following his retirement from the FRC, Andrew continues to advocate improvements in financial reporting.
George Fairweather was Executive Vice President and Global Chief Financial Officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. from 2015-18. Prior to this he was Group Finance Director of Alliance Boots GmbH (until acquired by Walgreens), Alliance Boots plc (until taken private) and Alliance UniChem Plc from 2002 until its merger with Boots.
George has extensive international management expertise, particularly in large scale financial integration, reporting & control, M&A, business planning, treasury, investor relations, digitalisation and sustainability.
He continues to work for Walgreens Boots Alliance on a part time basis, as a Senior Advisor, Business Development & Finance.
Prior to joining Alliance UniChem, George was Group Finance Director of Elementis plc (formerly Harrisons & Crossfield PLC) where he played a key role in transforming the company from a conglomerate into a specialty chemicals group. Before that, he was Group Finance Director of Dawson International plc. Both were FTSE 350 listed companies.
Earlier in his career George worked for Dixons Group plc in the UK and US, where he held a number of senior management positions, Procter & Gamble and KPMG Thompson McLintock where he qualified as a member of ICAS. He is also a former Non-Executive Director and Audit Committee Chair of Mitchells & Butlers plc.
George is also a member of ICAS’s Technology Advisory Group, having previously served on the Business Law Committee.
George Voulgaris is an Associate Professor of Accounting at University of Manchester, Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) since 2019. Prior to that he was based in Warwick Business School. He holds a PhD in Accounting & Finance from AMBS. George’s broad research interests are in the areas of corporate governance and financial reporting. He has published work on issues related to the implications of accounting regulation for corporate governance, the role of institutional investors and board diversity on corporate decision making (including accounting policy), and the development of the accounting profession in Europe. His current research projects include issues related to the governance role of corporate taxation as well as corporate disclosures, including management commentary on strategy and business model and segment reporting. His work primarily involves the use of quantitative research methods but he has also developed a keen interest in the use of an interdisciplinary approach to accounting research.
Hilary Eastman is Director of Investor Engagement at PwC, with responsibility for managing the firm's relationships with the investment community in the UK and globally. In her role, Hilary works with investors and analysts to get their views on a variety of corporate reporting and governance matters to help companies improve their reporting to the capital markets. She also seeks their views on matters that affect the accounting profession.
In addition, Hilary oversees the Corporate Reporting Users' Forum (CRUF) network around the world, facilitating dialogue between the investment community and standard setters and regulators on a range of corporate reporting topics.
Hilary previously worked at the IASB, where she led their investor engagement programme and the fair value measurement project, which resulted in IFRS 13 Fair Value Measurement. She has a background in company and asset valuation.
Hilary is a member of the CFA Society of the UK's Financial Reporting and Analysis Committee and the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group's (EFRAG) User Panel. She is a CFA Charterholder and a member of the CFA Institute.
Louise is a Professor of Accounting at Newcastle University Business School. After training with KPMG to become a chartered accountant and member of ICAS, she held academic positions at Robert Gordon University, Dundee University, Abertay University and St Andrews University. Louise is a visiting professor at the University of Bergamo and has been a visiting researcher at the University of Brescia for several years.
Louise's research interests include international financial reporting, professional accountancy education and NGO governance & accountability. She has received research funding for each of these areas which has led to the publication of her research, including the publication of two ICAS monographs.
Louise was appointed to ICAS' Research Panel in 2011 and she is currently also a member of the Tayside Area Committee, which she has chaired since March 2012.
Marie Gardner is Head of Research at ICAS. Originally from the South of France, Marie studied for a Master of Science in International Business jointly awarded by the CERAM (renamed as SKEMA) Business School in France and the University of Stirling. She trained as a chartered accountant with PwC mainly in financial services audit, and qualified as a member in 2003.
In February 2018, Marie joined ICAS to work in the ICAS Policy Leadership Division. Marie is responsible for the Research Centre at ICAS and is also a member of the team providing technical advice to members.
Dr Robert Charnock received his PhD in Carbon Accounting from the London School of Economics and Political Science, while working with the United Nations to develop a financial sector toolkit for analysing and managing the risks of climate change. He is the Founding Director of the Metis Institute for Climate Strategy in Singapore, funded by RSK Group, and therefore also serves as a board member for RSK’s Centre for Sustainability Excellence in Singapore.
In 2021, Robert led a team commissioned by the UK’s Financial Reporting Council to investigate how FTSE 100 and 250 companies use climate scenario analysis to inform their climate risk management and net zero transition strategies. He is affiliated with a range of leading research centres and sustainability initiatives, including the Technical Reference Panel for the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business at the University of Birmingham.