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ICAEW Southern Newsletter September 2020

News from the Southern District Society.

The AGM

Our long-delayed AGM for 2019/20 took place online on September 8 and we are most pleased to announce that the elected office holders, who take up the reins for the southern district society are Ashley (Ash) Milne, president, Louise Hallsworth, deputy president, James Wallis, vice president and Simon Laws, treasurer.

Of the four, two - Ash and James - are experienced members of the ICAEW Southern committee while Louise and Simon are newcomers, both to this committee and to volunteering within ICAEW Southern. The team’s ‘day jobs’ reflect the diversity of business activity across their part of southern England, while their business locations are spread widely across the region, with other committee members filling in the gaps.

Ash is director of commercial finance for the energy company Utilita, based in Chandlers’ Ford near Southampton. Louise is an audit and assurance partner in James Cowper Kreston’s Southampton office. James is a director at Aben Financial, a company that helps property investors access capital from an extensive array of banks, funds and family offices and is based in Christchurch, while Simon works in Weymouth as finance director for Magicard, who manufacture and distribute ID card printers and consumables.

The district society that they will be running for the next two years will, for obvious reasons, be very different from what it has been before. Going forward, the schedule of events that ICAEW Southern is running is essentially online, which makes the networking and social objectives of these occasions harder to achieve. The convenience of not having to travel may compensate to some extent, however, and the variety of events from sector specific and town groups to CPD activities will ensure there is something for everyone.

A vision for 2021/’22

Ashley Milne is particularly keen to grab with both hands the opportunities that change presents. The theme of his two years in office as president of ICAEW Southern is to facilitate closer integration of chartered accountants at the different stages in their careers, and to support all members in optimising their skills.

Ash writes: “I would like to see ICAEW Southern following something akin to the classic customer lifecycle pattern, in which members move from the ‘onboarding’ stage as students, through nurturing, where they gain from teaching and early networking to the advanced renewal and expansion stages.

“In the past ICAEW Southern and its offshoots for younger members - the Southern Chartered Accountant Student Society (SCASS) and the Young Chartered Accountants' Group (YCAG) - very much operated in silos. For instance the ICAEW Southern members in business events and Bank of England briefings were largely populated by partners and chartered accountants at or close to director level, while senior members of the profession would never appear at a SCASS or YCAG event. This seems a shame as they might still enjoy things like the occasional casino night or wine tasting. Mentoring was always a top-down activity.

“Even without the massive disruptions to corporate life that Covid has imposed, it’s no longer the case that the bulk of the expertise invariably lies with the profession’s senior members. While that still applies in some areas, it is not universal, so let’s drop past perceptions and help one another in different ways.

“There are certainly areas, such as the business applications of social media and getting the best out of our smart phones and tablets, where youth has the edge, so why not consider the potential for two-way mentoring and networking? We are all in the ICAEW together, students, young members and high qualified and experienced seniors alike, who should operate as one supportive community while everything around us continues to change.

“With all this in mind, one of my first actions as president will be to hold a strategy session, where we can explore potential ways forward. Meanwhile, I would direct you to an interesting and comprehensive programme of free online activities.

Ash Milne,
September 2020