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Meet the new Northern Society President

Keith Proudfoot was appointed as President of The Northern Society of Chartered Accountants, at this year’s AGM, which took place at the Northern Counties Club in Newcastle on Thursday 30 June. We sat down with him to find out about his plans for the year ahead and learn more about his life.

Local connections

Many members – and business people in the area – will already know Keith from his time as ICAEW Regional Director for the Northern Region; a role he held from 2001 until his retirement in late 2017. He’s also a familiar face on the local arts scene, holding several voluntary roles with a number of cultural organisations and charities in and around Newcastle.

Keith has spent most of his life in the North-East; he was educated at the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle, and qualified with an international practice in the city, before moving to a small firm where he focused on helping numerous SMEs at the start of their business journey. He later headed up the Finance & Admin function of a regional firm of Chartered Surveyors for well over a decade, until an MBO saw him become FD and Company Secretary of a group of residential estate agents and property management companies.

Creating connections

It’s this varied and extensive experience that he plans to draw on during his time as President. He’s committed to encouraging members to attend the wide range of events that the Northern Society offer, as he’s seen first-hand the value of great CPD and the opportunity to make valuable connections.

“I’m keen to continue making our events and courses relevant to members at all stages of their careers, and to increase participation in social and branch networks by encouraging members to see that life is – as I have found over the years – like a piggy bank; the more you put in the more you get out.”

Keith’s key message is all about getting involved – whether that’s signing up for a course, attending CPD or social events, or even getting involved as a volunteer. He believes that attending events can bring more benefits than you might expect. “Business life is so often about networks and engaging in society activities – whether it’s social or CPD – is another way to build a diverse network”.

Serving up the laughs at this year’s NorSCA Dinner

One of the highlights of any Presidential term is the opportunity to host the NorSCA dinner, and Keith admits that he’s been planning this year’s event for quite some time. In fact, he confesses, he’d chosen the speaker – award-winning comedian, Jo Caulfield – before he even took up the role of Deputy President.

“Having seen Jo both on TV and performing live at the Edinburgh Fringe – and heard fantastic things about her appearance at the ICAEW South Wales Dinner at Cardiff Castle a couple of years ago – she was always my first choice of speaker for this year so I’m very excited that she’s able to join us” he said.

Not such a relaxed retirement

As well as serving on the NorSCA Committee and becoming one of the region’s CABA Champions, Keith took up a rather special role after retirement: Grandfather.

His first Grandchild, Caitlyn, was born in early 2018 and he and his wife, Janis, spend a couple of days a week helping out with childcare. “It’s been wonderful to watch Caitlyn grow from a tiny new-born to an energetic toddler, and it’s great that we’re able to be so involved in her life” he says.

Part of a great team

As Northern Society President, Keith will support around 4,000 ICAEW members and students across North East England, Teesside and Cumbria. He’ll be supported by Deputy President, Chris Soan, who is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting at Newcastle University, and Vice President, Yvonne Gale, who is CEO of NEL Fund Managers.