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Looking back on an eventful year

From celebrating milestone anniversaries to making connections across the country, 2019 has been another eventful year for ICAEW Scotland. Jane Walker looks back at some of the key events

Something new for the new year

We started the year with something new, our first ever Scottish Budget Review. Our regular Budget Breakfasts have been a mainstay of our events diary for almost as long as ICAEW Scotland has existed. As the Scottish Tax system has evolved and the impact of devolved taxation has increased, so had demand for a Scottish Budget Review.

In early February, Carl Bayley presented not only his analysis of the Scottish Budget plans, but also a history of Scottish taxes. The feedback has been hugely positive and a 2020 event is already pencilled into our plans.

Making the news

The quarterly BCM results for Scotland form a key part of many of our activities throughout the year. Announcing the results in the media, and sharing the latest data with Scottish MPs and MSPs not only gives us the opportunity to raise our profile, but it helps us to strengthen important relationships with key opinion formers and stakeholders across the country.

This year, our results made the headlines in a range of publications including The Scotsman, The Metro, The National, The Press & Journal, and Scottish Financial News. As always, we held a number of events for members where they could explore the results, share their insights and enjoy talks from a range of business people. In keeping with our goal of connecting with members across the country, we hit Scotland’s four major cities – Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow – for breakfast events throughout the year. There are similar plans being developed for next year, so keep an eye on our events pages if you’re interested in finding out more.

The BCM results are based on telephone interviews with members in business – if you get the call to participate, please take the time to do so; every response counts and helps the researchers form a robust insight into experiences and expectations of members across the UK.

Fintech is shaping Scotland

There’s been a big buzz around fintech in Scotland this year. In May, it was revealed that the number of fintech-focussed businesses in Scotland was over one hundred. Scotland is already seen by many as being on the verge of becoming one of the world’s leading fintech hubs and in under a decade it’s attracted over £37m worth of investment in Scotland.

Members were able to hear about this fast emerging sector and what it takes to make your mark in it at the member talk at this year’s AGM. Jude Cook – the CEO and co-founder of ShareIn – discussed what’s involved in starting out in the sector and shared the story the company’s evolution and enviable expansion.

Paul becomes President

Paul Richards – who was elected President at the AGM – made history this year, becoming ICAEW Scotland’s youngest ever President. He is supported in this role by new Deputy President, Stelios Kornaros.

A special centenary

It’s been a year of milestones for the Institute, with a host of initiatives and innovations, including the launch of the first ever ICAEW Podcast, “More Than A Number” and the broadening of the social media offering with the introduction of the Instagram account which went live in early November with a beautifully designed grid image charting the history of accountancy and key events in ICAEW’s journey.

Among the events featured was the appointment of the new ICAEW President, Fiona Wilkinson, earlier this year. Fiona is only the third woman to ever hold this post and, serendipitously, her Presidential year includes the anniversary of the centenary of ICAEW’s first-ever female member, Mary Harris-Smith. Fiona joined us at the Annual Dinner in Edinburgh in September to share Mary’s story and explain how the centenary will be celebrated around the world. Fiona also helped us celebrate the future of the profession, announcing Will Saunders as the winner of the ICAEW Scotland Trainee Chartered Accountant of the Year award 2019.

A sense of community

We aim to provide a community where members can connect, share ideas, exchange and explore experiences, and receive peer-to-peer support. Both our established FD Forum, and the more recently launched Practice Forum, provide a great opportunity to do just this. Both groups meet regularly – often in interesting and unusual venues – and, in addition to providing impartial, non-judgmental and confidential support to each other, members can learn more about topics such as cyber security and making the most of career development opportunities from specially invited guest speakers.

So much to discover

2019 was the first anniversary of the opening of Scotland’s first design museum; the V&A Dundee – within its inaugural year it’s attracted over 830,000 visitors (more than 300,000 more than expected) and is estimated to have had an economic impact of £23m across Scotland.


Back in July, our retired members and their partners had the opportunity to visit the V&A Dundee and discover its story. The event attracted a record number of guests who were able to explore the unique and award-winning building with expert guides.

Delegates at our Dundee BCM event, also had the opportunity to hear how the museum is making history, at a talk examining the economic impact of the V&A on Dundee.

It’s not all work and no play

Whilst we know that our members look to us to provide support, information and essential CPD sessions, we also understand that many also welcome the to chance to connect in a more social setting. Our annual charity quiz in April and June’s Munro Walk offer members the chance to meet up and give their brains or their legs a workout.

No matter where you are on your ICAEW journey, we aim to have an event designed with you in mind, as two new events for 2019 demonstrated. In March, many of our Life Members and their partners attended an afternoon tea with Fiona Wilkinson – part of a series of events across the UK that ICAEW arranged to help bring this special sector of our membership together.

At the other end of the spectrum, a number of our students, trainees and younger members gathered in Edinburgh in October for after-work drinks and networking at Brew Dog. The event proved popular and the organisors hope that it will be the first of many such meet-ups.

As always, we rounded off the year with our Festive Networking event, where members had the chance to meet and mingle over a glass of wine and mince pies. In keeping with the spirit of the season, members who wish to give the gift of their time and expertise found out how to do so from Elaine Crichton of Inspiring Scotland who talked about pro-bono opportunities and venture philanthropy.

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