Studying to become a chartered accountant offers so much more than letters after your name. Here, five students and members share their most memorable moments so far.
‘Visiting Chartered Accountants’ Hall’
Dominic Buttery, Isle of Man
As this year’s ICAEW Student Council (ISC) Vice Chair, I attended my first in-person Student Council meeting in London in September. It was brilliant. It was my first visit to Chartered Accountants’ Hall and I loved everything about it – staying in the City of London, going to see a West End show, even taking the Tube! I also finally got to meet the ICAEW Student Council Chair Sam Hutson and find out just how tall he is! One Moorgate Place is so grand and beautifully preserved – it’s a great embodiment of the profession and what ICAEW stands for, and gives such a sense of the impact of our decisions, something we often forget in our day-to-day work.
The experience gave me a renewed perspective on the importance of students. One day, many of us who are students now will be in those council chambers, discussing events and making decisions that will chart the future of the profession and our impact on the world. Being involved with the ICAEW Student Council and the Isle of Man Student Society has undoubtedly matured me as a professional. So when these opportunities come along, grab them. They really can be life changing.
Read more about Dominic and Sam Hutson’s roles as ICAEW Student Council Vice Chair and Chair here.
‘Attending the Welcome Inclusion workshop’
Holly Younger, Bedfordshire, UK
My highlight to date is taking part in the ICAEW Welcome Inclusion campaign workshop in October 2021. It was an exciting day where I got to meet lots of other students and members while actively addressing how to improve inclusion in the workplace. It was a real honour to hear other people’s stories and experiences, which highlighted to me how passionate I am about inclusion and diversity. The participants ranged from ACA students to long-serving ICAEW members, and without the workshop I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet those people or to hear stories from so many different perspectives.
Personally, the workshop helped give me the confidence to share my own experiences of neurodiversity – I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult – and my thoughts on inclusion. Everyone deserves to feel safe enough to speak openly on matters that are important to them. Taking part in the Welcome Inclusion campaign has inspired me to be active in diversity and inclusion groups at work so that I can help make a positive difference every day. I would encourage anyone to seek out similar opportunities, whether that be a structured workshop or a dedicated focus group in your workplace. Encouraging others to be more understanding and accepting of people’s differences will create a better work-life experience for everyone involved. It also adds depth to your career outside the technical and professional aspects, which can be personally rewarding.
Find out more about the Welcome Inclusion campaign here.
‘Representing ICAEW at One Young World’
James Skilton, London, UK
My 2022 highlight was representing ICAEW at the One Young World summit in Manchester. The summit is the world’s biggest and most impactful youth leadership event, and has been described as ‘a firecracker of optimism’. Not only was it immensely exciting to attend and represent the institute but, having initially won the competition in 2020, getting to finally go following the pandemic made it even more special. One moment that really stands out was hearing from disability activist Oscar Anderson. He made a powerful speech about his experiences as a One Young World delegate, and how it inspired him to be an advocate for the changes he wanted to see.
I was lucky enough to attend the summit not only as a representative of ICAEW, but also as part of the wider Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW). The other CAW delegates ranged from chartered accountants to business owners and entrepreneurs. Sharing this opportunity with them and being able to learn from their experiences really gave me clarity for my own career path. I won the Chartered Stars competition as a first-year junior and attended as a newly qualified senior with the question of what to do next. Attending the summit accelerated my career progression towards strategic and commercial rather than compliance-based accounting, better enabling me to influence business leaders around the UK towards acting sustainably and ethically.
Find out more about James’ experience at One Young World here.
‘Meeting the Minister of Finance of Cyprus’
Christos Hadjiraftis, Nicosia, Cyprus
As Vice Chair of the Cyprus Chartered Accountants Student Society (CCASS), I recently had the opportunity to attend a networking event with the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Cyprus. Along with other ICAEW members and students, I took part in a round-table discussion with the minister, where we talked about several of the issues and challenges currently facing our profession, such as the impact of the Russo-Ukrainian War and the increasing cost of living affecting the entire society. As well as sharing our views, we were able to challenge certain political decisions that were made in the past, as the minister was very open to our comments and suggestions.
The discussion and the opportunity to network with such a high-profile individual really motivated me in continuing to develop myself and expand my knowledge and experience in different areas. It made me appreciate the positive impact I can have on society by sharing my views on the political decisions that shape our future as citizens and as professionals. I would never have had this opportunity if it weren’t for my role with CCASS – so I really encourage others to get involved with their local student society, in order to network with fellow students as well as more senior industry professionals. Networking is key nowadays within the accountancy profession and the financial services industry, and ICAEW opens doors to some great opportunities.
Find out more about student societies here.
‘Establishing the Mauritius Student Community’
Yajna Christna, Mauritius
My ICAEW highlight has been being part of the team that has built a flourishing student society in Mauritius. It has enabled us to bring together all those studying towards the ACA here, organising a range of events that benefit the entire student community, as well as creating connections that have helped us all in our jobs or studies in some way. One of the most memorable experiences was taking part in a nature reserve clean-up and tree planting campaign jointly organised with the ACA Mauritius Student Community, Mauritius National Parks and Conservation Service and anAngel, a local NGO. As part of the campaign, we planted 250 endemic trees in the nature reserve.
As ACA students, we felt very proud to have participated in this campaign to help build a better and more sustainable future for generations to come, and to be supporting ICAEW’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I would strongly encourage all students to volunteer with their local student society and take part in the events they organise. As well as contributing to the greater good, you will be developing valuable skills that will benefit you in your studies, career and personal life.