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Corporate Governance and IAC Communities

Practical tips for securing that elusive NED role

Author: Vicky Williams, Communities Manager, ICAEW

Published: 10 Feb 2022

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In this article we hear from Heather on the hot topics the audience wanted to know more about.

In our highly successful and 5 star rated webinar with Heather White of Boardroom Ready, we counted through the steps that accountants need to take in preparation for securing that elusive NED position. We heard that getting an NED role isn’t straightforward. There is tough competition out there and surveys have shown that the great majority of positions may never be widely advertised. The mindset and preparation required to be a successful NED is very different from job hunting and requires an organised approach. The full webinar is available on demand.

Heather answers your burning questions:

  • You mentioned that consultants with a portfolio are not looked on favourably. That’s been my experience too. Do you have any advice for overcoming this and emphasising the benefits that broad experience and knowledge that portfolios bring? Heather's answer.
  • What are your thoughts on a buddy/NED shadowing scheme for the more experienced Board operators to ‘show the ropes’ to aspiring NEDs/Trustees? Even within their own companies as I understand it is tricky to bring in someone from outside unless under an NDA? Heather's answer.
  • Given the changing awareness of most corporations that diversity is important and that the corporate world is changing, is having a very experienced sponsor, over retirement age, less of an advantage than a younger sponsor, despite the experience they bring? Heather's answer.
  • I am 34, mid-management and have sat on my trade association’s board for 3 years. What can I do more to transition to paid roles faster…or do I have to wait and become C level in my late 50s? Heather's answer.
  • Most NEDs that are on my board are NOT on LinkedIn and many think it is not a real reflection as it is just friends promoting each other and they do not think you can rely on it – so it is a little difficult to know whether it is worth keeping up info on such a platform? Heather's answer.
  • I’m based in Hong Kong and I see the same people cropping up as INEDs and NEDs and they seem to have a number of positions. I know the answer will be “it depends” but, from your experience, what would you say should be the greatest number of positions a NED/INED should take on at any one time? Heather's answer.

Further content is available, including a webinar which discusses NED and Charity Trustee roles for accountants and ICAEW Academy courses.