Nick Parker 7 Mar 2018 01:27pm

From the top: shaping careers

Training to be an accountant with ICAEW is not only shaping careers but also our world, argues president Nick Parker

Caption: Photography: David Bebber

On my travels around the UK and overseas, I am amazed by the ICAEW members I meet and the wide range of careers and interests they are involved in. Who would have expected that the deputy secretary general of UNESCO was one of our members? Yet Getachew Engida, who is credited with bringing financial reporting and risk management within the organisation into the 21st century, qualified as an ACA with Arthur Young (now part of EY) back in the 1980s.

Likewise the chief executive of Drug Free Sport in New Zealand is ICAEW member Nick Paterson who, ahead of the Commonwealth Games next month, is heavily involved in a crackdown on up to 100 NZ athletes allegedly caught by a doping investigation before Christmas. And then there’s Gauri Devidayal who, after training with PwC in the UK, moved to Mumbai and set up the highly successful fine dining restaurant, The Table, followed by the Magazine Street Kitchen, and is now heralded in the Indian press as one to watch in 2018 (see the May issue of economia for an interview with her).

Gauri, in fact, is one of 11 Indian ICAEW members whose entrepreneurial achievements have been celebrated in a new book, Building Strong Economies, launched last December. Interviewees range from Lord Bilimoria, of Cobra Beer fame, to Deepak Parekh, chairman of financial conglomerate the Housing Development Finance Corporation, who was also the 2010 winner of the ICAEW Outstanding Achievement Award and recently appointed London’s international ambassador to India by mayor of London Sadiq Khan. The book was put together by another entrepreneurial ICAEW member, Vandana Saxena Poria. After building BPP Professional Education into the largest training presence in central and eastern Europe, she went on to found, build and then sell Get Through Guides, which publishes material for international professional qualifications, earning herself an OBE along the way for services to trade and investment.

Building Strong Economies makes for a really interesting read and it’s an idea that I would like to see replicated throughout our ICAEW communities around the world. The seemingly limitless possibilities offered by the chartered accountancy qualification is a theme I come back to on a regular basis in my speeches at the many ICAEW graduation events I attend, and is proudly communicated and celebrated across the pages of economia. Being able to point to inspirational members’ profiles is a fantastic opportunity to encourage our younger members. It is also a great way to show young people from whatever walk of life that, if they are interested in pursuing a career in business, a good place to start is with our ACA qualification. As a profession, we are open to anyone who has the required talent and, I believe, we are all the better for it.

As Getachew, who grew up in the poorest part of Addis Ababa, says, “My personal story is just another indication that, given an opportunity, many can make the impossible possible.”



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