Luke Fletcher ACA, Partner, Stewart & Co – Surrey, UK
Luke, 29 is a Partner at Stewart & Co, an independent firm of Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors, based in Surrey. He joined the Practice in 2018 having trained and qualified at BDO, spending five years in their tax team.
He has a wide variety of clients but specialises in the SME sector, using his experience to help growing, owner-managed businesses get the most out of their companies.
Excellent communication and lasting relationships are at the heart of Luke's approach. 'We live in a modern age but I believe social intelligence is an immeasurable strength which is only going to become more important. Without human connection accountancy is nothing but numbers.’
Luke wants to help empower the next generation of accountants to create a positive and impactful industry to be proud of.
"Who were you most looking forward to seeing or meeting, and why?"
The first was Sir Richard Branson, who I have always admired as someone who is synonymous with entrepreneurial spirit and challenging the status quo. I am also passionate about nature and was excited to hear Jane Goodall speak, as she is a leading figure when it comes to conservation and the impact we as humans have.
"What did you learn that you didn’t know before?"
Where do I start? Some of the statistics we heard are staggering and I was not aware of the scale of them. The first was that the fashion industry accounts for around 20% of global waste water and emits 10% of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. The second is related to inequality – the world’s richest 1% own half of the world’s total wealth. The key takeaway for me though was how interconnected the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are and you cannot work in silo when addressing them.
"What will you remember most about attending?"
The people and stories from those who I met; the concept of the triple bottom line (planet, people, profit), and the need to speak out and effect change as we enter the decisive decade.
"What did you learn that you can apply to your own business or organisation?"
The need to be unrelentingly curious in all that we do. Curious was a word that came up again and again and the overall message was to not always accept things at face value. We should take the time to analyse, undertake our own research and form our own opinions. As accountants being curious is synonymous with professional scepticism but it’s important to bear in mind it goes beyond client work to every facet of life, from what we hear in the news to what someone tells us. The summit also served as a useful reminder that carbon efficiency and other environmental concerns start at home and there is always more we can do.
"What does positive change mean to you?"
Achieving a measurable improvement in one or several of the UN’s SDGs.
"What value do you think your skills and training in Chartered Accountancy bring to being a future global leader?"
For me, being a future global leader means being responsible and having a holistic view to deliver success without compromising on ones values and our long term future. Chartered Accountants follow a fundamental principles of ethics which means we are well placed to handle ethical dilemmas and avoid compromise. Our training also helps to develop the social and emotional intelligence needed to support people to achieve their goals.