In what turned out to be the closest ever finish in the history of ICAEW presidential elections, he narrowly beat Nick Parker, a regional director of tax at RSM Tenon, in a vote by fellow council members.
Ratcliffe will formally take office on 5 June when current deputy president Martyn Jones takes up the reins as president and current VP Arthur Bailey moves up into the deputy role. If all goes according to plan, he will be president in June 2015.
He is taking the role at a time when the profession is coming under attack on all sides, particularly in its audit and tax advisory roles.
“The current economic climate is very challenging,” he said, “And the accountancy profession needs to be at the forefront of efforts to restore growth in the global economy against a backdrop of continuing challenge.
“We also need to demonstrate the value of the regulatory role we play – one of the hallmarks of any profession – in the post-financial crisis landscape. ICAEW has a critical role to play through its work with governments and regulators as well as the support it provides to its members. It is an enormous honour and privilege to be given the opportunity by ICAEW’s council to play a part in representing and serving ICAEW and my profession through the next three years.”
Over his 36-year long career at PwC, Ratcliffe has audited some high-profile international public companies – including Barclays Bank – and acted on MBOs, IPOs, investigations, regulation and policy. He has also been a member of PwC’s UK and global boards, including a stint as global chair from 2001 to 2005. He will retire from the firm in early 2015.
He became involved in ICAEW affairs in 1998 and was appointed head of the audit and assurance faculty in 2001. He has chaired the technical strategy board and sat as an ICAEW board member since 2005.
Welcoming Ratcliffe’s election, ICAEW president Mark Spofforth said that the next three years could see major changes to the profession. “I’m delighted that ICAEW will be able to call on the skills and qualities of Andrew as vice president.”