Officer holder profile - Ashley Milne
Ashley Milne - usually known as Ash - is standing for election as president of ICAEW Southern at the AGM on 8 September. He has served as deputy president for well over two years, in a term extended by the coronavirus pandemic.
In contrast to the current and immediate past presidents, Ash is a chartered accountant in business. He is currently director of commercial finance for Utilita, based in Chandlers Ford, just north of Southampton, having moved across from a major insurance company in 2018.
Utilita occupies a substantial niche in the energy sector, by supplying gas and electricity to customers on prepayment meters. Ash says: “I love the broadness of my role, where every day brings a new challenge or ‘development opportunity’. Utilita is now a large business but the environment is far from that of a large corporate hierarchy.”
Born and raised within ICAEW Southern’s patch and now resident in Southampton, Ash’s journey to date is not what you might expect for a chartered accountant, as he neither trained in a big firm nor relocated for work or university. In fact he sidestepped university altogether, on the grounds that he wanted to get on with his career, and took the AAT route straight from college.
The person who most influenced his career choice, and also instilled an enthusiasm for technology was his dad, who was an early adopter. Having always liked business and finance, Ash was honing his skills from around the age of 10, stuffing marketing mail shot envelopes and learning about programming and databases.
Volunteering with ICAEW Southern also started early, when Ash joined the Southern Chartered Accountant Student Society (SCASS) committee. Like many before him, Ash has found that volunteering is career enhancing as well as a means of giving back. “It helps me build my network, and stay up to date with the issues affecting accountancy as well as what’s happening locally.”
If elected on 8 September Ash would like to integrate SCASS, the Young Chartered Accountants' Group (YCAG) and ICAEW Southern. “Everything around us continues to change, so let’s drop past perceptions. We are all ICAEW students or members, who should operate as one community supporting each other.
Asked if there is anything else he would like to add, Ash replied: “If there are any readers out there thinking we could do more or something different then get in touch.” That sound like a good, open-minded springboard for a presidential term.