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Thought leadership

Our thought leadership shapes government thinking on regulatory policy and looks ahead at long-term issues for the profession.

What we do

We want to provide clarity, insight, and direction on the current and future challenges to the accountancy profession; inspire discussions and exchange ideas with our members, organisations, and communities worldwide. Our Royal Charter defines our responsibilities to act in the public interest when providing education, training, maintaining professional standards and delivering technical excellence.

Our thought leadership programmes are research-based and cover current and future challenges and opportunities in the areas that directly concern our profession: auditing and assurance, corporate finance, finance and management, financial reporting, financial services, IT and tax. We also give guidance on ethics, corporate governance, and sustainable business. 

The thought leadership material is freely available. On this landing page and our individual programme pages we will share our latest thoughts, current releases and any upcoming events where you can meet with us and share your views. You can find anything you need on the topics that matter to you. Download our reports, watch our video clips, read our articles and case studies and attend our events and webinars (you can still watch the recordings of our previous webinars too in case you missed them).

Join our debates and share your thoughts and opinions on the issues that matter to accountants today, and in future. You can also get in touch with our experts to have your say on any of the topics we cover.

For a quick overview on our programmes, why not watch our short introduction videos and meet our experts?

Thought leadership initiatives

Academic research funding

Funding the highest quality accounting and finance academic research and events.

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Academic research funding and reports

Through a programme of academic research funding from the ICAEW’s charitable trusts, we aim to fund the highest quality accounting and finance academic research and events.

Audit Quality Forum (AQF)

Encouraging open and constructive dialogue about audit quality.

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Audit Quality Forum

ICAEW Audit and Assurance Faculty set up the Audit Quality Forum in 2004 at the request of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

AuditFutures

Repurposing the audit profession's role for the 21st century.

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AuditFutures

ICAEW's AuditFutures initiative engages important stakeholders in a positive debate about the evolving role of audit in society. Our goal is to develop new thinking, to inspire innovation in audit and to ensure the profession is best placed to meet key public interest commitments and obligations.

Dialogue in corporate governance

Developing corporate governance in the UK and internationally.

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Connect and Reflect

To succeed in the modern world, businesses must move away from defensive old-style news management and corporate positioning. ICAEW argues that if companies embrace a positive approach to corporate governance that ensures they connect with and reflect society, they will reap many benefits.

Finance Direction

Trying to overcome the challenges associated with running finance functions.

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Finance Direction

Change impacts a finance function as much as other parts of the organisation. The role of a finance function and its leadership, the finance director, or CFO, should not be taken for granted.

Financing Change

Advancing the economic and social contribution of corporate finance.

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Financing Change

Financing Change aims to advance the economic and social contribution of corporate finance activity by promoting better understanding of the value it can create and its role in improving efficiency and practice in capital markets.

Information for Better Markets

Focusing on disclosure, measurement and regulation.

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Information for Better Markets

Information for Better Markets is the ICAEW Financial Reporting Faculty’s thought leadership programme.

Inspiring Confidence in Financial Services

Studying information flows between financial services providers, consumers and regulators.

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Inspiring confidence

The Inspiring Confidence in Financial Services campaign debates issues affecting confidence in the financial services sector. It develops new insights and ideas by questioning financial services providers, consumers and regulators, how they interact with each other and how the information flows between them.

Making information systems work

Promoting the successful application of IT by business and government.

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Making information systems work

Making Information Systems Work is about the successful application of IT by business and government. It supports informed debate and practice on the basis of three themes –value, trust and standards.

Market Foundations

Focusing on the foundations of how markets work.

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Thought leadership

Thought leadership focuses on the foundations of how markets work.

reAssurance

Strengthening markets and supporting economic confidence.

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Assurance

These resources support practitioners and organisations looking to commission assurance services. They include examples of what assurance can cover and practical guidance on how engagements can be undertaken.

Sustainable Business

Changing behaviour to drive sustainable outcomes.

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Sustainable Business

Our ambition is to change behaviour to drive sustainable outcomes. To do this, we aim to be bold, radical and open-minded. The unifying theme of our work is exploring how organisations and markets are motivated to deliver sustainable outcomes and what the role of information flows is in that. We aim to be at the forefront of thinking and action in sustainability focussing on how organisations embrace it in their activities.

Tomorrow's Practice

ICAEW's research project designed to understand the forces shaping accountancy practices.

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Tomorrow's Practice - the journey

Tomorrow’s Practice is ICAEW Practice research project designed to understand the forces that are shaping accountancy practices now and in the near future.

Tomorrow's Practice - the findings

Tomorrow’s Practice is about making change work for chartered accountants and their clients. It’s driven by a recognition that the market for our registered practice firms is altering radically under the pressures of regulation, technology and economics.

Forces of Change

ICAEW firms advise over 1.5m businesses in the UK. We are their most trusted adviser but regulatory changes, technological advances and economic pressures are changing the landscape in which we operate. These aren’t challenges, they’re opportunities, but only if we adapt and innovate, only if we’ve got the vision to identify them and the vision to exploit them.

State of Play: Practices and Clients

There’s an intrinsic level of trust between an accountant and their client. Our recent Small Business Matters research found 48% of businesses saying their accountant is their most trusted business adviser. Only 6% thought the same of their bank and only 3% of their solicitor/lawyer.

Looking to the Future

We’re grateful to Richard Watson, Author, Futurist & Scenario Planner for sharing his views.

Towards a Better Tax System

Addressing the challenges of designing and implementing changes to tax systems.

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ICAEW works to support tax reform

As part of its strategy to support a world of stronger economies, ICAEW draws on its members’ expertise to examine hot topics in tax and provide practical solutions to challenges faced by policymakers and regulators. Here you can find our latest publications supporting tax reforms.