By Robert Lloyd Griffiths OBE,
Director for Wales,
ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales)
Just 12 months ago I took up my role as Director of ICAEW in Wales. It has been a busy and rewarding year as part of a team that promotes, develops and supports Chartered Accountants and students around the world. As of July 2022, we had more than 198,000 members and students in 147 countries with around 3,500 of these in Wales.
Chartered Accountants sit at boardroom tables the length and breadth of Wales, advising businesses on good governance and financial propriety; from small businesses to large PLCs, they are at the very heart of the Welsh economy.
During these uncertain times, our vision of ICAEW Chartered Accountants enabling a world of sustainable economies is more important than ever, hence our continuing strategic focus on what matters most to our members and our economy. This includes:
- The recovery of the global economy following the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll continue to support this by working with authorities to reform taxation systems and helping to achieve sustainable public finances.
- The introduction of much-needed legislation to reform audit and corporate governance following a government consultation. It’s five years in January since the collapse of Carillion and ICAEW will keep pushing for these changes.
- Continuing to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals by using our expertise and influence around the world. Climate change is a defining issue for our generation so I am proud that ICAEW was the first professional body to go carbon neutral
- Supporting our members as partners in the fight against economic crime. We’re giving our members the tools they need to use emerging platforms, and refining their data and technology skills too.
It’s vital that the profile of our members and students fairly reflects the societies we serve. At ICAEW we’re pleased to champion a range of initiatives to boost social mobility, diversity and inclusion, and this will remain a focus, while we will also support the professional development of all members.
With growing legal and commercial imperatives, in my view it’s more important than ever for firms to address diversity and inclusion (D&I). I believe that every chartered accountant has a role to play in helping to encourage an inclusive profession.
Embracing diversity and inclusion, and properly embedding these, make companies better places to work and contributes to better business performance. Employees from diverse backgrounds bring different ideas and perspectives, and help organisations reflect their communities.
We all have a responsibility to embrace and protect diversity in the workplace. We should be creating an inclusive environment, accepting of every individual’s differences, enabling all employees to achieve their full potential. This is what drives motivation, productivity and customer experience which ultimately helps strengthen the bottom line.
For me, it’s about doing the right thing. That’s what should guide us all in 2023.