In the media

19 December 2017

Katherine Ritchie CA on Young Professionals Day

The first Accountancy Europe Young Professionals Day took place in December, gathering together young professional accountants from all over Europe to discuss common issues. December 2017 saw 30 attendees gather in Auderghem, Belgium to represent a variety of European accountancy institutes from 14 countries. The aim was to discuss what accountancy institutes can do for young professionals, and how the profession can attract members in an ever evolving world.

What is Accountancy Europe?
Accountancy Europe unites 50 professional organisations from 37 countries that represent one million professional accountants, auditors, and advisors. Accountancy Europe, formerly the Federation of European Accountants (FEE), has recently undergone a rebrand in which the logo and strategy really emphasises what it stands for:

    • Accountants, advisors, auditors
    • Umbrella for accounting bodies
    • A voice for accountants
    • People count

They have a number of really important roles, including: influencing legislators, regulators and standard setters, helping Professionals shape the future and facilitating cooperation amongst members. The latter two were the main focuses of the day – how can we work collaboratively and leverage best practices across Europe to keep the profession relevant and attractive for young professionals, and how can Accountancy Europe help drive this initiative?

What do accountants do?
A good starting point for our discussion was common understanding of what accountants do: Accountants, auditors, and advisors work in diverse capacities: in accountancy firms of all sizes, large and small businesses, governments, non-profit organisations, education, etc. Their expertise spreads widely in areas such as finance, corporate social responsibility, statutory audit, tax and financial advice, HR and legal services, assurance services, and consultancy.

Inspiration from the CEO
The CEO of Accounting Europe, Olivier Boutellis-Taft introduced the concept of creative thinking and how important it is to have the end goal in mind i.e. we have to evolve our thinking as there are a wealth of opportunities out there to grab if we change.

He used two quotes which were poignant for me:

1. “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Henry Ford

Olivier’s interpretation of this is that Henry Ford heard that his customers wanted to get from A to B in a faster way than by horses and hence Henry Ford, not only had a good idea, but more importantly created a solution for his customers’ needs. Our role as accountants is to find solutions.

2. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” JFK

Olivier’s second quote challenged us to all do something for our institute, if we have ideas and want change we should look to influence.

My takeaways from the event

Listening to how well other institutes have engaged young professionals, ICAS is doing a lot to drive higher engagement with our younger members e.g. establishing a Young Leaders Board, hosting the ICAS Young Leaders Summit, Summer / Winter socials, etc. Like the other institutes, we are on a journey. Accountancy Europe encourages all accountants to challenge and propose adaptations to our institute and firms to appeal and be relevant to younger generations.

My main take away – I was in a room of auditors, tax advisors, coaches, entrepreneurs, CFOs, etc… Similar to listening to stories at the ICAS Young Leader Summit, the CA qualification really does give us a well-rounded education that enables so many opportunities.

Whilst we all appreciate the technical training, the softer skills are really desirable for millennials and are something that can be common grounding across the different accounting bodies.

Questions for my fellow CAs
In a changing environment with geostrategic struggles, civil society mutation, environmental depletion and technology revolution, how do we as a profession keep up? Will there be an Uber or Airbnb of accounting?

Source: ICAS

Related content

PublicationMembers’ initiatives for young professionals

28 November 2018

Stories from practiceMentoring: taking professional development to the next level

16 April 2018

EventAccountancy Europe Young Professionals Day

5 December 2017

EventDeveloping green skills for finance professionals

8 June 2023

NewsAccountancy Europe joins EU Green Week 2023

26 April 2023

NewsTraining Italian accountants to take up the sustainability challenge

20 March 2023

NewsFinnish auditors gearing up for a comprehensive ESG training

3 March 2023

NewsCollaboration – the key to high-quality sustainability education framework for accountants

23 January 2023

PublicationSustainability education

14 November 2022

In the mediaAccountancy Europe & the EUIPO: working together to support and guide SMEs

1 March 2022

In the mediaSustainability reporting: why should SMEs care?

3 December 2021

Stories from PracticeDigitalising the accountancy profession: what role for young professionals?

31 May 2021

In the mediaAccountancy Europe: Future-proofing tax to make it green, digital and fair

26 April 2021

NewsAccountancy Europe: Toughen the financial reporting ecosystem against fraud

23 April 2021

NewsIn-depth: what is at stake in EU plans for sustainable corporate governance?

9 April 2021

NewsUnpuzzling the Sustainability Reporting Alphabet Soup

29 March 2021

NewsFraud and going concern: Restoring public trust in the financial reporting ecosystem

24 March 2021

PodcastGet your seat at the top table

5 March 2021

NewsVAT Talks: digitalisation, accountants’ role and the growing importance of tax

2 March 2021

PodcastWithout human capital, there is no capital

19 February 2021

NewsReflections for the profession with respect to the disclosure and reporting of non-financial information

19 January 2021

NewsThe most in-demand accounting specialty today? Having none at all.

4 January 2021

EventYoung Professionals Day 2020

16 November 2020

Sign up for our newsletter

* indicates required
Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?
On which topics would you like to receive news?