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Published on: Emma Meets

Emma Meets – Nick Rowe – President – Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales

Emma Peterson,  Director FinTech Awards Wales & Finance Awards Wales Meets:

Nick Rowe, President, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales

Tell me about your business?

There are more than 1.8m chartered accountants and students around the world and 186,500 of them are members and students of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW). They are talented, ethical and committed professionals, which is why all of the top 100 Global Brands employ chartered accountants.

ICAEW promotes inclusivity, diversity and fairness. We attract talented individuals into the profession and give them the skills and values they need to build resilient businesses, economies and societies, while ensuring our planet’s resources are managed sustainably.

Founded in 1880, we have a long history of serving the public interest and we continue to work with governments, regulators and business leaders around the world. And, as an improvement regulator, we supervise and monitor over 12,000 firms, holding them, and all ICAEW members and students, to the highest standards of professional competency and conduct.

ICAEW is proud to be part of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, a global network of 750,000 members across 190 countries, which promotes the expertise and skills of chartered accountants on a global basis.

We believe that chartered accountancy can be a force for positive change. By sharing our insight, expertise and understanding we can help to create strong economies and a sustainable future for all.

Why did you choose to sponsor the Finance Awards Wales 2020?

We have over 2,600 members in Wales engaged in a huge variety of business and activities across all economic sectors.  So, sponsoring these awards is a way of celebrating the success of our members and fellow accounting professionals in Wales.

What impact do you feel the Awards have made in the Finance sector in Wales?

The awards have undoubtedly raised the profile of the role of high performing finance teams and individuals in driving successful organisations and outcomes for Wales.

How has your business been affected by Covid-19 and how have you been able to respond to this?
As a professional body representing members worldwide the pandemic has driven us to examine new ways of engaging with our members and wider society.

For example, the depth and breadth of member engagement has increased exponentially over the last year through the drive to meet online allowing for far more flexibility than traditional seminars and events might have done.  Also our COVID 19 hub (https://www.icaew.com/coronavirus) been one of the most heavily visited resources we have ever released, directly helping organisations of all sizes navigate the difficult times.

How do you feel the Welsh economy will fare over the next 12 months?

ICAEW produces a quarterly survey of their members entitled The Business Confidence Monitor (https://www.icaew.com/technical/economy/economic-insight) and the Q2 reports includes the following summary for the future of the Welsh Economy.

The Confidence Index for Welsh businesses has climbed to its highest level since the third quarter of 2014.  This doubtless reflects the positive developments relating to the distribution of coronavirus vaccines and, consequently, the prospect of a strong recovery in economic activity in 2021 and into 2022, as containment measures are retracted across Wales.

Although immediate conditions are difficult, companies are clearly deriving confidence from the prospect of a sharp economic rebound from the pandemic, both domestically and internationally, over the next 12 months.

Businesses are hopeful that domestic sales will rise by 7.4%. If achieved, this would be a record high for Wales. Export growth is also set to improve, although at a more modest 2.3%, reflecting the likelihood that, because of differences in vaccine roll-out rates, the rebound in the UK economy will be stronger than in most European economies. As demand returns, companies also plan to increase their employment levels by 3%, a markedly faster pace compared to last year. In addition, profits are expected to increase at a near-record high over the next 12 months, at 6.8%.
All forms of investment spending are set to increase over the next year. Growth will be fastest in capital investment, which should rise by 3.3%. R&D budgets growth will be marginally slower, at 2.3%.

What plans do you have for your business in 2021?

2021 sees the ICAEW embark on its 10-year strategic plan for 2030 based around five key challenges for the profession which are:

1.       Strengthen trust in ICAEW Chartered Accountants and the wider profession

2.       Help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

3.       Support the transformation of trade and the economy

4.       Master technology and data

5.       Strengthen the profession by attracting talent and building diversity

Many of these are key challenges for society and we are keenly aware that Chartered Accountants can have considerable influence on the success or otherwise of the country achieving these challenges.