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Widening access and transforming lives

Author: Fiona Wilkinson

Published: 18 Sep 2019

Some of you may be aware of the life-changing work undertaken by the ICAEW Foundation.

The Foundation is our charity that provides bursaries – both within the UK and across developing economies – to those from financially-challenged backgrounds who aspire to a career in accountancy.

Our ‘Changing Futures’ programme helps students studying at UK universities, as well as in Cyprus and Hong Kong. Our ‘Building Futures’ programme provides invaluable support to students of new professional accountancy qualifications in developing countries, such as Ghana and Malawi.

Accountancy plays a fundamental role in sustaining business and strengthening economies across the world. By helping to harness talent and ambition in developing economies, we help to build local accountancy professions - benefiting those communities and improving the prospects for future generations. We also help to widen access to our profession, to those who may otherwise never have a chance to be part of it.

My predecessor, Paul Aplin, used his presidential year to shine a spotlight on the work of the Foundation, encouraging others to spread the word and, where possible, to donate. I want to continue this momentum, ensuring that the Foundation’s work is acknowledged, promoted and supported as widely as possible across our profession and wider business.

So far, the Foundation has raised an impressive £2.6m – the impact of which cannot be underestimated.

Some of you may have seen our promotional video, featuring Khadija from Ghana. Thanks to the support of the ICAEW Foundation, Khadija has gone from carrying buckets of cement on a building site to completing an accountancy degree. She has now finished the first year of a two-year MPhil in Finance, which has included lecturing to MBA students on microeconomics. She plans to follow this by undertaking a PhD, and has also been asked to publish a paper in an accountancy journal.

Moving forward, we’re now supporting students in Lesotho, and from next year in Cambodia – where we’re helping to launch a local accountant technician qualification.

I believe that poverty should never be a barrier to achievement; if you feel the same, please visit our hub page at ICAEWFoundation.com and consider how you can support the work of the ICAEW Foundation.