What a unique year this was
Thoughts of Vicky Andrew LSCA president 2020-21.
This last year was to have been a year of double celebrations for LSCA. We hit not one but two milestones during the year. We had been planning celebratory events but thanks to the pandemic, all our plans were turned upside down.
The two main milestones I am referring to are, not only the 150th anniversary of the London Society, but also the anniversary of the year in which the first female was admitted as a member.
Both truly remarkable milestones and ones that we would have liked to have celebrated by engaging with all of our 36,000 members that comprise the constituency of the London Society.
Like everything else, we did all this on Zoom. Just as we held the first ever virtual prize giving for the ACA exam candidates which was attended and addressed by David Matthews, the ICAEW President.
The 150th anniversary deserves a special mention. 2021 marked the founding of the LSCA 150 years ago and which, along with the local societies in Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, holds a place as one of the founding district societies of ICAEW. The institute as we know it today was not established until almost a decade later when, in 1880, its Royal Charter was granted as the national institute. We marked the anniversary by publishing a souvenir booklet with messages from the past, present and one future president of LSCA along with a history of the LSCA and its logos.
COVID also hit the CPD programmes that have been run so successfully by some of our local area societies. This is when the Area Societies Development and Communication committee led by the Deputy President, Viresh Paul, organised within the space of a few weeks, their monthly, online, lunchtime webinars that have been offered absolutely free with the help and assistance of the Regional Director’s team at ICAEW. These are available to all London members and have been a great success with bookings for one event exceeding 400. This programme is going to be continued until the end of 2022 as a way of reaching out to London members and will be a small contribution on the part of the society to serve members in practice as well as our business members and the younger members of our profession.
We responded to our members’ needs during the pandemic, providing or signposting both technical help, for example in connection with the various government schemes available for businesses, and support for personal wellbeing, with increased use of CABA resources.
We have offered a full programme of virtual events for our members, and all our committees have continued with their normal schedule of meetings, albeit virtually.
Almost all the Society’s regular and one-off events have been free of charge to members, as there have been no venue costs. Business Bitesize, Practice Radar and Younger Members events have also been delivered online, as have the various programmes offered by our branches and area societies. There have also been opportunities to collaborate with other district societies as location has not been an issue.
The theme for 2020/21 has been ‘diversity of thought; diversity of sector;’ our aim has been to deliver meaningful engagement for all ICAEW members in London, and to encourage involvement from members with different perspectives.
Within that category I should mention the women’s discussion ‘Building Better Business Behaviours’ and the two London and South-East Economic Summits in which we participated, as well as the round table discussion on the BEIS white paper Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance.
The entire year’s activities have been carried out under COVID-19 restrictions, but the Society has been no less active than in previous years. Now that my presidential year has drawn to a close, we look forward to a return to real life events; perhaps a blend of real life and virtual events will become the norm.
We would not function as a Society without our volunteers, and thanks are due to all those who have served on committees and volunteered to assist with specific projects.
In addition, we are all grateful to the ICAEW staff who support us and keep the LSCA wheels in motion.