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Postcard from Aberdeen

Michael Izza’s visit to Aberdeen gave members the chance to explore the opportunities that are out there, as ICAEW Scotland Director, David Bond explains.

The unexpected July sunlight sparkled on the granite buildings of Aberdeen, giving the city a glow that was, perhaps, at odds with the economic gloom that some still associate with the area. The challenges facing the oil and gas industry, and their knock on effect for the region, have been well documented so it’s perhaps unsurprising that as part of Michael’s visit the topic of dealing with change and challenges was firmly on the agenda.

Supper serves up food for thought

Our visit started with an informal supper with a number of FDs from a range of businesses in the area. As well as the chance to network, there was scope to share insights about the challenges and opportunities they are encountering. Michael discussed the role of members and the importance of professionalism and reputation, touching on issues such as the collapse of Carillon and the fact that it represented a watershed moment for the profession. 

Oil and gas on the agenda

Day two started bright and early with a roundtable breakfast event which as jointly organised by ICAEW Scotland and the ICAEW Energy & Natural Resources Community. It was hosted by CATS Management and with a presentation on the opportunities and challenges facing the oil and gas industry by Rob Hodges, International Tax Services & Energy Partner at EY London. 

Rob’s talk was followed by a discussion facilitated by Bill Roberts, Chair of the ICAEW Energy and Natural Resources Community. Attendees explored the issues impacting on the sector, how they faced the associated challenges, and discussed the new opportunities arising from the changes they’ve experienced in recent years. A particular focus of the discussion was what the biggest change facing the market in the next ten years would be – a topic that sparked a range of responses covering everything from the impact of technology to wider business changes. 

Meeting the next generation

Engaging with younger members and students is a real priority for me – it’s essential that we understand the issues they face and hear their ideas. Training and career paths have changed dramatically since many of us qualified, so the opportunity to discuss where the next generation see themselves heading was not to be missed. 

Over lunch, kindly hosted by PwC, we were able to explore the opportunities that our qualification can offer, look at how the skills acquired in training transfer to the workplace and talk about how to make the qualification during the early stages of your career. The energy and enthusiasm displayed was inspiring – I think it’s safe to say that the future of the profession is in good hands! 

Making connections

In addition to the larger group meetings, Michael also met with a number of members in business in smaller sessions, ensuring that a wide range of views was shared during his visit. I, for one, found the issues raised thought provoking; our members are unafraid of change and challenges, and ready to apply their expertise to make the most of the opportunities that arise as a result. 

Our time in the city proved to be enjoyable and enlightening, and gave members in the area a chance to connect with ICAEW’s CEO and hear about the latest developments within the Institute.

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