Viresh Paul: the Lion of North West London
New LSCA Vice President Viresh Paul explains how he will draw on his experience with community service organisation Lions Club International and as Chair of North West London Chartered Accountants as he takes on his latest challenge.
Having served for four years as the Treasurer and then three years as Chair of North West London Chartered Accountants, I should have been taking a back seat now, so I cannot explain how I am in the thick of it again having been elected as Vice President of the LSCA this summer.
Metaphorically speaking, I guess I qualify as a sucker for punishment. But, as my family keeps reminding me, I must enjoy taking on these responsibilities, which is possibly nearer the truth if I am honest with myself!
I have always enjoyed being at the centre of influence and in positions that allow me to shape the opinions and perspectives of others in a positive way. I believe I am one of those that thrives from the larger perspective that comes from exposing oneself to experiences outside one’s field or comfort zone and always up for a challenge. This might sound pompous but that is what I have been doing in various capacities within and outside the profession.
Responsibilities within my community
About 20 years ago, I was elected as the district governor of Lions Clubs International, the worldwide service club organisation dedicated to serving the communities and helping those in need.
When my one-year stint covering a district of around 1,800 volunteers came to an end, having spent a whole year motivating and visiting over 80 Lions Club in the district, I stood for and was elected as the chairman for the whole of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. We hosted the international convention in Birmingham attended by Lion members from all over the world and I had the distinct honour of welcoming dignitaries to the UK at a formal dinner.
As a member of this international organisation of 1.5m members, I have been involved in various charitable projects, like organising eye camps in third world countries and supporting childhood cancer charities, as well as providing leadership training to aspiring leaders in the community.
I have chaired large meetings and conventions attended by as many as 1,000 delegates. In 2017, I was invited to co-chair a joint Lions/UN forum at the UN headquarters in Geneva, a real personal highlight that I still haven’t got over!
I am currently a governor of Stanmore College, where I chair the resources committee and am vice chair of its remuneration committee. I have recently declined the position of the Chair of the Stanmore College Governing Body to be able give my time to the LSCA.
So why did I want to join the LSCA Executive?
I see the LSCA as the umbrella organisation of which NWLCA is a part; having served on the NWLCA executive for all these years, I was motivated initially by the need to provide NWLCA additional representation in LSCA.
Our experience of running a very successful area society will, I am sure, provide help and assistance to the other area societies in cultivating ICAEW member involvement in the area societies and ultimately ICAW, of which we are all proud members.
I have served my local communities all my life and I am willing and happy to do the same for the small practitioners who deserve a voice in the future of our profession. We are all aware of the issues facing our profession and as a vocal advocate for the need of diversity and strength in numbers, I will promote inclusivity and wider involvement of membership.
As Vice President, I will support the President in his aims and objectives and work jointly on strengthening the support for area societies in achieving wider participation of members in their local activities.
Viresh Paul is owner of Middlesex accountancy firm Paul & Co and Vice President of the LSCA