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The New Chair's Introduction

Author: Catherine Kelly

Published: 03 Sep 2020

My name is Catherine Kelly and I am the Chair of the Retail Community Advisory Group. We are a recently formed advisory group and represent members across all areas of retail, including advisers to retailers. We created the group to share knowledge with fellow members, providing insight and influence along the way.

Since the pandemic started, ICAEW has been sharing feedback from members in retail with BEIS and other Government departments. We want to continue doing this, but to make that happen, we need your help. Please consider joining our group by sending us an email. We need you!

So far this year, our community has recorded 6 webinars on topics including innovation in retail, data analytics, cyber threats and intellectual property. You may have seen the two restructuring webinars created for our group, too. The first looked at demystifying the restructuring process, and in the second, a member shared her personal experience of being the CFO going through a restructuring process. If you missed the live dates, I would recommend taking a look back. You will find all our webinars, newsletters and other content on our Community page.

So, looking forward to the rest of 2020. I won’t sugar-coat the fact that it’s going to be a tough time for many. The reopening of physical stores against a backdrop of social distancing rules and an uncertain economic climate has offered little in the way of respite. There’s still a lot of work to be done to manage the changing nature of consumer behaviour, demand and impact on supply chain, too. But, we’re also seeing reasons to be optimistic. Retailers are adapting at pace, and I think the rise of online sales, combined with the resilient and entrepreneurial nature of the sector will stand it in good stead. Finance teams are critical in guiding businesses through this period of change. And there is a huge role for accountants and our members to play on the road to recovery and survival in the months to come.