12 Dec 2018 12:52pm

Breaking poverty barriers

President Paul Aplin would like to build on the success the ICAEW Foundation has had in changing lives

In my editorial in September’s economia, I wrote about the work of the ICAEW Foundation. I wanted to highlight the bursaries the foundation grants to aspiring students both in the UK and overseas. The season of goodwill seems an ideal time to give you an update.

First, we have achieved my original “Challenge Ten” objective of raising sufficient funding to award 10 additional bursaries. That means 10 lives changed. I don’t want to stop there though: I would like us to change more. In September I showed the Foundation’s short film to district society office holders and asked if I could show it at district society dinners. The support was unanimous and the reaction to the film has been fantastic.

If you haven’t seen it, then could I urge you to have a look at it on the Foundation’s web page? It will take less than three minutes out of your day, but it will leave an impression that lasts much longer. The theme is simple: poverty should never be a barrier to achievement. By helping young people to study for a qualification, we help strengthen the accountancy and finance profession around the world. That is vital if we are to achieve our ambition of building a world of strong economies.

The good that the foundation does is visible and enduring. Bursaries typically cost between £3,000 and £5,000 to fund. This year we have funded bursaries in Cambodia, Ghana and Lesotho. Support has come from district society presidents’ chain gangs, individuals and firms.

Those of you who know me well know that I can rarely avoid mentioning tax (I was after all chair of the Tax Faculty and Tax Faculty technical committee). If you are currently contemplating your tax bill for 31 January and haven’t yet filed your tax return, you may like to consider reducing it by making a donation under gift aid and backdating it to 2017/18. If you have already filed your 2017/18 return, it is too late to backdate a gift aid donation, but a gift would of course still reduce your tax bill in January 2020.

You might also be thinking about making or revising your will. If you are, would you consider remembering the Foundation? That too, of course, would be very tax efficient. Even if you cannot support the Foundation financially, could I ask you to tell other ICAEW members about its work and suggest that they view the film? We can all be ambassadors for this cause.

I am, as you will have gathered, immensely proud of the work our Foundation does. I hope that you are too. Together we can help it to do even more; together we can underpin its future impact. So let’s look back on 2018 as the year we successfully delivered on Challenge Ten, but let’s look forward to 2019 as Foundation Year, the year in which we change even more lives.