Meet your new London ICAEW Council members
In the first of three articles, London Accountant catches up with the six London ICAEW Council members who were elected for the first time as they prepare to take up their roles in June. First up, we speak with Vicky Andrew and David Grunberg.
Current South East London Area Society chair Vicky Andrew has been actively involved with ICAEW committees for a number of years owing to an ‘old fashioned concept of duty and service’, a desire to give something back to the profession that has served her well in her career. But it could have been very different if she had not switched career paths from law to accountancy early on in her career.
“At the time I thought accountancy was about the numbers, but I soon realised it was about the people,” she recalls. Qualifying with Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) 30 years ago, Andrew set up her own practice in 1994 in Bromley. Two years ago, she merged this practice with a larger firm, and now spends her time as a consultant, writing and advising micro-businesses. She has recently joined the LSCA Business Board and is looking to become a BASE (ICAEW’s school business competition) mentor.
Standing in the election for ICAEW Council was the next logical step – there are a number of issues that she believes ICAEW and the wider accountancy profession needs to address. These include the increasing use of technology and how chartered accountants should be able to focus on an advisory role rather than technical compliance work, as well as reaching out to young people to attract them into the profession. Then there are the retired members, whom she believes can offer a wealth of experience to the profession.
But there is also an overriding desire to help restore trust in the profession. “Trust is vitally important,” Andrew says. “We need to market the value of chartered accountancy.”
David Grunberg, founding partner at London firm Grunberg & Co, picks up on this theme of trust. “As accountants, we don’t sing our praises enough,” he says. “Where is the applause? We need to celebrate our successes, people need good news.”
Like Andrew, Grunberg now has time to partly step back from his own business and look at ways to give back to the profession, which was one of the reasons he stood in the election for ICAEW Council. “Being a chartered accountant has given me a good life,” he says. It is a life that saw him qualify with HW Fisher, move to Stoy Hayward (now BDO) and then set up his own practice. At first it was just himself and his wife, but now the firm employs 75 staff and is among the top 100 firms in the UK. “It was a real challenge, our life/work balance certainly suffered in the early days”.
He is disappointed with the low levels of participation in ICAEW matters, such as voting in the elections (he suggests it could be a mandatory part of membership) and will use his time as a council member to seek out ways to improve engagement. Using a football analogy, he says: “If a team doesn’t play as a team, it won’t stay in the premiership. You may have the technical ability, the know-how, the intelligence and the experience, so why is there the perception that it isn’t working? We all need to protect the value in the qualification, and we all need to engage.”
Liked this? Read these: