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Sir David Tweedie Offline
#1 Posted : 29 March 2013 09:09:18(UTC)
Sir David Tweedie

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Thank you for joining me on the new ICAS Forums!

We recognise that our CAs work all over the world and are keen to help our membership body network with fellow members to exchange ideas, post questions, or offer help on relevant subjects with in an ICAS community. These forums aim to assist in developing CA communities all over the world and to help knowledge flow throughout the profession.

It’s always great to meet with members at events so I thought it would be excellent to use these forums as another way to connect and answer any questions our members may have.

I will be logged in to these forums at midday GMT on Friday 19 April to answer any questions you have about ICAS or other accounting topics.

Please feel free to post questions in this thread ahead of the event, by pressing the reply button in the top right of your screen. I’ll answer them when I log in on 19 April. We’ll also be collecting questions from our social media channels (hashtag: #askTweedie) and via email (askthepresident@icas.org.uk) and sharing these in the forum as well.

Only questions posted in this thread will be answered. Please make sure to register and read through the terms and guidelines before posting.

I look forward to chatting with you on Friday 19 April!

Kind regards,

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Atholl Duncan Offline
#2 Posted : 09 April 2013 15:43:19(UTC)
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Sir David,

Can I start off with a couple of questions.  It has been great working with you over the past year as you fulfilled your role as ICAS President.  What have been your own personal highlights of the year ?

Secondly, trust in business and in business professionals including accountants has taken a batterring in recent times with the banking crisis, various financial scandals, mis-selling such as PPI et etc.  What do we as business professionals have to do to rebuild the public's trust in the future ?

 

Atholl Duncan

Executive Director

ICAS 

Iain Hardie Offline
#3 Posted : 10 April 2013 10:16:29(UTC)
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Sir David, if you could give one piece of career advice what would it be?

Gavin Willshaw Offline
#4 Posted : 11 April 2013 14:24:08(UTC)
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Dear Sir David

I was wondering if, as an author of many important accountancy works, you could talk about the books and writers that have inspired you in your career.

Many thanks

Gavin

Douglas McLellan Offline
#5 Posted : 18 April 2013 12:47:10(UTC)
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Sir David

You’ve been extremely active in setting up the ICAS Foundation – how does the profession attract those from non-traditional accounting backgrounds?

 

Douglas

Douglas McLellan
Trust Secretary
ICAS Foundation
 1 user thanked Douglas McLellan for this useful post.
Jenna McLauchlan on 18/04/2013(UTC)
Jenna McLauchlan Offline
#6 Posted : 18 April 2013 12:55:13(UTC)
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The question below has been sent in by email from Duncan Massey:

Dear David

I very much enjoyed your opening CA magazine article, which highlighted that one of the key roles of accountants is being able to provide solid business and financial advice to businesses and clients.

Do you think therefore that we now have a problem in the profession in that most CA's are trained as big 4 auditors who now get no experience of offering advice and have very little in the way of job diversity.

Further to this, do you believe there is a problem for the auditing profession down the line with many big 4 audit practices in Scotland having near 100% turnover of newly qualified staff.  (One of the reasons for this being the lack of opportunity to add value by providing advice.)

Regards
Duncan

Jenna McLauchlan
Digital Marketing Assistant

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tgoburdhun Offline
#7 Posted : 18 April 2013 12:57:13(UTC)
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Dear Sir David,

If you could meet yourself on the day you became a CA, what would your advice be?

Kind regards,

Tanya

Anne Adrain Offline
#8 Posted : 18 April 2013 13:15:16(UTC)
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Sir David

How can the profession best regain trust and confidence in the audit process and emphasise the value and importance of the statutory audit? It's increasingly under the spotlight at the moment.

Thank you

Anne

 1 user thanked Anne Adrain for this useful post.
Sir David Tweedie on 19/04/2013(UTC)
Siobhan Walsh Offline
#9 Posted : 18 April 2013 15:24:52(UTC)
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Sir David,

If Scotland votes for independence, how do you think this will affect ICAS?

Thanks,

Siobhan

 2 users thanked Siobhan Walsh for this useful post.
Jenna McLauchlan on 19/04/2013(UTC), Sir David Tweedie on 19/04/2013(UTC)
Rob Rae Offline
#10 Posted : 18 April 2013 18:34:30(UTC)
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Dear Sir David,

Many thanks for all your time during your Presidential year and before supporting LBC Area member events - all the members are very grateful.Regrettably I will am unable to attend the UEBS on 25 June when you will be having a chat with Irvine Lapsley.

Meanwhile, you recently expressed disappointment at the low level of donations to the Foundation. As a nation we are generally fairly generous in our charitable giving. What do you put the 'adverse variance' down to - competition with SCABA, administration difficulties since many firms pay subscriptions on behalf of members and will not enter into donations, apathy or something else?

Regards,

Rob Rae

 1 user thanked Rob Rae for this useful post.
Sir David Tweedie on 19/04/2013(UTC)
Baron Anyangwe Offline
#11 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:00:34(UTC)
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Sir David,

I believe others will cover off accounting issues, careers advice and the future of the profession. My question is rather more personal, so that members get a bit more of a glimpse of the person who was at the helm aside from their professional achievements. It is this very ability of being very personable and approachable that has made me admire you and come to know more of you.

If you had the chance to invite any 3 people - alive or dead - to a dinner party hosted by you, who would they be?

Thanks.

Baron

Sir David Tweedie Offline
#12 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:00:52(UTC)
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Good afternoon everyone and very much for your questions. I'm very much looking forward to talking to you.

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Sir David Tweedie Offline
#13 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:04:16(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Atholl Duncan Go to Quoted Post

Sir David,

Can I start off with a couple of questions.  It has been great working with you over the past year as you fulfilled your role as ICAS President.  What have been your own personal highlights of the year ?

Secondly, trust in business and in business professionals including accountants has taken a batterring in recent times with the banking crisis, various financial scandals, mis-selling such as PPI et etc.  What do we as business professionals have to do to rebuild the public's trust in the future ?

 

Atholl Duncan

Executive Director

ICAS 

 

Atholl,

 

Thanks for your question. One of the highlights of the year for me was meeting fellow CAs,with whom I had trained, and discussing the effect senior partners had had on our careers through their mentoring. 

 

Meeting new members at the admissions ceremony and elsewhere was also highlight - what a future lies ahead for ICAS!

 

On the issue of rebuilding trust, we are one of the few professions that are obliged to act in the public interest - now a feature of our oath on admission. Our motto is "seek the truth" - that's all we have to do, and display it without fear or favour.

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Sir David Tweedie Offline
#14 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:05:54(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Iain Hardie Go to Quoted Post

Sir David, if you could give one piece of career advice what would it be?

 

Iain, 

My advice would be; Be true to yourself. If you act with integrity and objectivity, you'll have a very successful career as a CA - if you don't, we don't want you!

 

Edit by user 19 April 2013 11:23:23(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Jenna McLauchlan Offline
#15 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:07:52(UTC)
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We've had the following question sent in via email from Jonathan Lee:

During your year as president, what one interaction has made you proudest to be a CA?

Jenna McLauchlan
Digital Marketing Assistant

ICAS Logo
Sir David Tweedie Offline
#16 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:09:10(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Gavin Willshaw Go to Quoted Post

Dear Sir David

I was wondering if, as an author of many important accountancy works, you could talk about the books and writers that have inspired you in your career.

Many thanks

Gavin

 

Gavin,

Lord Fisher, Admiral of the Fleet and first Sea Lord - set your objective and stick to it - this shines through all his writing. He was the man that transformed the Royal Navy over a hundred years ago. 

'Team of Rivals', part of which has been made into the film 'Lincoln' - shows how Lincoln built a team from his rivals, an approach copied by President Obama, inviting Hilary into his Cabinet.

In relation to accounting, McNeal's 'Truth and Accounting' shows how cost can be deceptive at times, and how value reflects the true economic position.

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Jenna McLauchlan Offline
#17 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:10:04(UTC)
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We've also had the following sent in by email from Gordon Garment:

Sixty years ago,when Ian Spurgeon and I finally convinced the Examining Board that we were fit for purpose {how I hate this modern gobblydegook} the Institute was a simpler place where C.A's were C.A's. and stuck to their knitting.

Today the big partnerships of  our time are unrecognisable .They are so diversified and pretentious.

Would it be unfair to suggest that The Institute is in danger of heading in the same direction? 

Yours sincerely

Gordon Garment.

Jenna McLauchlan
Digital Marketing Assistant

ICAS Logo
Sir David Tweedie Offline
#18 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:10:51(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Douglas McLellan Go to Quoted Post

Sir David

You’ve been extremely active in setting up the ICAS Foundation – how does the profession attract those from non-traditional accounting backgrounds?

 

Douglas

 

Douglas,

 

Thanks for your questions - this is vital. We have to get into the schools, and find out from teachers how we can inform and then set out to inspire those we wish to join the profession, by showing them that a CA can operate in professional practice, industry, government, academia -anywhere in the world.

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Sir David Tweedie Offline
#19 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:13:17(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: tgoburdhun Go to Quoted Post

Dear Sir David,

If you could meet yourself on the day you became a CA, what would your advice be?

Kind regards,

Tanya

 

Tanya, 

Thanks. I would say: Listen carefully to what a profession is all about. This is not a business. You need a different mindset to operate in the public interest. Be fair, honest, and above all remember that society expects more of you than of someone who is in there purely for pecuniary rewards.

Life is always full of surprises. In ten years time you'll probably never ever thought of before - take the chance.

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Jenna McLauchlan Offline
#20 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:13:36(UTC)
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Remember you may need to refresh your screen to see Sir David's latest responses!

Jenna McLauchlan
Digital Marketing Assistant

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Jenna McLauchlan Offline
#21 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:15:49(UTC)
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Hi Sir David, another question below sent in via email from Penny MacDonald:

Hi, 
Do you think it would be useful in retaining skills/experience and assisting workplace mobility in the >40's if there was an (optional) update course with certificate which could be taken by chartered accountants returning to full time work after a career break of a number of years? 
 
This could present changes that have occurred during the intervening period in an organised and specific way; help to renew confidence/bring candidates up to speed and crucially, demonstrate to employers that the individual is at least as capable and up to date as a newly qualified accountant, having undertaken (and been tested on) an in-depth refresher course?
 
There currently does not seem to be any similar type of certification/course to combat employers' perceptions that you will have forgotten everything you know after a career break (which may initially be the case) and certainly a structured course would be more efficient in terms of filling in any gaps, than endless (unprovable) CPD.
 
Best wishes
 
(ex-ICAEW member)

Jenna McLauchlan
Digital Marketing Assistant

ICAS Logo
Sir David Tweedie Offline
#22 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:19:31(UTC)
Sir David Tweedie

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Originally Posted by: Anne Adrain Go to Quoted Post

Sir David

How can the profession best regain trust and confidence in the audit process and emphasise the value and importance of the statutory audit? It's increasingly under the spotlight at the moment.

Thank you

Anne

 

Anne, 

I believe the audit is at a tipping point. The audit report at present is hopeless. It's full of who is responsible for what, and it's difficult to find the auditor's opinion. During the crisis, for several audits, audit fees doubled from one year to the next and yet the audit report was word for word the same. Clearly the second year was a totally different audit, ans as an outsider, I would want to know:

One; what kept the auditor awake at night?

Two: Where were the arguments with the CFO;

Three: where are the big estimates;

Four: what are the contenious accounting policies;

fFve: what were the going concern assumptions?

If auditors started giving this information, they would make the audit much more useful to the investment community - the auditor's real client. To increase audit independence, I'd get rid of the annual re-appointment. If we wish to have mandatory re-tendering, I would appoint the auditor up to that date, so that he did not come under pressure each year to tone down his new audit report. I would only allow an auditor to be fired after an SGM - if he gave detailed audit reports such as I've suggested above, it's likely he would be backed by the investment community.

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Sir David Tweedie Offline
#23 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:21:53(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Siobhan Walsh Go to Quoted Post

Sir David,

If Scotland votes for independence, how do you think this will affect ICAS?

Thanks,

Siobhan

 

Siobhan,

I think might have difficulty attracting students from south of the Tartan Curtain, despite the fact that we are the Institute OF Scotland, not IN Scotland. Our Scottish heritage gives us our integrity, our back-bone and moral stance. It doesn't mean that we do debits and credits to the sound of bagpipes!

 

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Sir David Tweedie Offline
#24 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:25:34(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Jenna McLauchlan Go to Quoted Post

The question below has been sent in by email from Duncan Massey:

Dear David

I very much enjoyed your opening CA magazine article, which highlighted that one of the key roles of accountants is being able to provide solid business and financial advice to businesses and clients.

Do you think therefore that we now have a problem in the profession in that most CA's are trained as big 4 auditors who now get no experience of offering advice and have very little in the way of job diversity.

Further to this, do you believe there is a problem for the auditing profession down the line with many big 4 audit practices in Scotland having near 100% turnover of newly qualified staff.  (One of the reasons for this being the lack of opportunity to add value by providing advice.)

Regards
Duncan

ICAS will shortly be publishing the results of a report of a committee headed by Council member Sandy Manson, into what CAs can offer by way of advice to the business community. The Education department will be incorporating these proposals into its training programmes. Clearly ICAS has no control over the experience given by the Big Four firms, but well qualified students will have a choice of which firm to join, and at the interview process can say what they would like to get out of their period with the firm, rather than what the firm would like to get out of them. Choose your firm carefully!

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Sir David Tweedie Offline
#25 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:29:34(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Rob Rae Go to Quoted Post
Dear Sir David,

Many thanks for all your time during your Presidential year and before supporting LBC Area member events - all the members are very grateful.Regrettably I will am unable to attend the UEBS on 25 June when you will be having a chat with Irvine Lapsley.

Meanwhile, you recently expressed disappointment at the low level of donations to the Foundation. As a nation we are generally fairly generous in our charitable giving. What do you put the 'adverse variance' down to - competition with SCABA, administration difficulties since many firms pay subscriptions on behalf of members and will not enter into donations, apathy or something else?

Regards,

Rob Rae

 

Rob, 

There is a problem, in that the firms tend to pay subscriptions. Furthermore, we perhaps didn't highlight the Foundation strongly enough. My personal view is that we should add £10 to the annual subscription, and suggest to members that if they did not wish to help kids from deprived backgrounds to get into the profession, they should deduct this. 

We have to find to a way either of getting firms to pay the £10 for each ICAS members with them, and then reclaim it from them, or find a way of approaching these members directly.

If all members gave £10 we could give scholarships amounting to £200,000. We received about 10% of that in the 2012 round! 

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Sir David Tweedie Offline
#26 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:33:31(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Baron Anyangwe Go to Quoted Post

Sir David,

I believe others will cover off accounting issues, careers advice and the future of the profession. My question is rather more personal, so that members get a bit more of a glimpse of the person who was at the helm aside from their professional achievements. It is this very ability of being very personable and approachable that has made me admire you and come to know more of you.

If you had the chance to invite any 3 people - alive or dead - to a dinner party hosted by you, who would they be?

Thanks.

Baron

Baron,

Thanks for an interesting question.

I would invite Lord Fisher, Admiral of the Fleet - see my earlier answer on how interesting a character he was.

The Duke of Edinburgh would be a fun guest, so he would get an invite.

And Douglas Bader, a fighter pilot, for sheer determination and courage, 

The downside might be, with this three, you might end up declaring war on somewhere!

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Sir David Tweedie Offline
#27 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:34:52(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Sir David Tweedie Go to Quoted Post

Originally Posted by: Baron Anyangwe Go to Quoted Post

Sir David,

I believe others will cover off accounting issues, careers advice and the future of the profession. My question is rather more personal, so that members get a bit more of a glimpse of the person who was at the helm aside from their professional achievements. It is this very ability of being very personable and approachable that has made me admire you and come to know more of you.

If you had the chance to invite any 3 people - alive or dead - to a dinner party hosted by you, who would they be?

Thanks.

Baron

Baron,

Thanks for an interesting question.

I would invite Lord Fisher, Admiral of the Fleet - see my earlier answer on how interesting a character he was.

The Duke of Edinburgh would be a fun guest, so he would get an invite.

And Douglas Bader, a fighter pilot, for sheer determination and courage, 

The downside might be, with this three, you might end up declaring war on somewhere!

Baron, a late addition would be Lord Denning, Master of the Rolls - a good example of someone who believed in the true and fair view of the law, rather than what it actually said!

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Sir David Tweedie Offline
#28 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:38:22(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Jenna McLauchlan Go to Quoted Post

We've had the following question sent in via email from Jonathan Lee:

During your year as president, what one interaction has made you proudest to be a CA?

Thanks Jonathan,

There are two, in fact.

My first act as President, presiding over the Admission Ceremony, and seeing the sheer firepower of the brilliant youg men and women whom we were admitting. 

The second was in Cape Town - a dinner for CAs, at which many 80- and 90-year-olds were present, including one who qualified the year I was born. The air was full of the burr of Scottish voices, despite the years away from Scotland. And they still spoke with a passion about the profession, what it did for them, and what they did for society.

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Sir David Tweedie Offline
#29 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:42:01(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Jenna McLauchlan Go to Quoted Post

We've also had the following sent in by email from Gordon Garment:

Sixty years ago,when Ian Spurgeon and I finally convinced the Examining Board that we were fit for purpose {how I hate this modern gobblydegook} the Institute was a simpler place where C.A's were C.A's. and stuck to their knitting.

Today the big partnerships of  our time are unrecognisable .They are so diversified and pretentious.

Would it be unfair to suggest that The Institute is in danger of heading in the same direction? 

Yours sincerely

Gordon Garment.

Gordon,

Yes, it would be unfair. The Institute is heading back to its roots. The young men and women we are training now receive lectures from old war -horses, who tell their war stories, describe the ethical dilemmas, and illustrate what is required of a professional accountant. While the courses teach technical issues, like the classes we attended decades ago, there's a strong emphasis on the ethics, and the integrity required. A CA is for life. It's not a training in how to make a lot of money, though that can be a by-product. It is about how to be a respected, upright member of the business community - in your day, and in mine, that was the emphasis given to us by the Masters to whom we were apprenticed.

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Sir David Tweedie Offline
#30 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:47:19(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Jenna McLauchlan Go to Quoted Post

Hi Sir David, another question below sent in via email from Penny MacDonald:

Hi, 
Do you think it would be useful in retaining skills/experience and assisting workplace mobility in the >40's if there was an (optional) update course with certificate which could be taken by chartered accountants returning to full time work after a career break of a number of years? 
 
This could present changes that have occurred during the intervening period in an organised and specific way; help to renew confidence/bring candidates up to speed and crucially, demonstrate to employers that the individual is at least as capable and up to date as a newly qualified accountant, having undertaken (and been tested on) an in-depth refresher course?
 
There currently does not seem to be any similar type of certification/course to combat employers' perceptions that you will have forgotten everything you know after a career break (which may initially be the case) and certainly a structured course would be more efficient in terms of filling in any gaps, than endless (unprovable) CPD.
 
Best wishes
 
(ex-ICAEW member)

Penny, 

Thanks for a great suggestion. We'll take this further with our Education and course directors.

We are about to launch a new entry route into the CA for people who decide later on in life to join the profession. This would enable those those who perhaps had families early, or chose another employment route after leaving school, to come into the profession. By taking their exams, and then, by having made themselves valuable, join the firms to gain the necessary experience, before they would be awarded their CAs.

Your proposal deals with a different situation, and I can understand the problem, as when I became an apprective, I was granted exemptions fromt he exams, but company law and taxes had all changed since I'd studied the subjects. I struggled, and could well have done with a refresher course, such as you suggest.

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Sir David Tweedie Offline
#31 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:48:44(UTC)
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Thanks everyone for a very interesting variety of questions.

All best wishes for the future. Long may you all prosper. 

Professor Sir David Tweedie CA
ICAS President

Baron Anyangwe Offline
#32 Posted : 19 April 2013 11:59:15(UTC)
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Joined: 14/03/2013(UTC)
Posts: 3

To add on to Sir David's comment, I would suggest that being a CA now is not just a qualification or an accounting badge. It is a way of life that should govern how you behave not just at work but also in your private life. Whether working in practice as an advisor, or even as the marketing director of a start-up, people should be able to perceive you are a CA based on the decisions you make and the way you approach any given situation. So I personally believe there shouldn't be a view of "stick to your knitting" which implies all CAs do the same thing, but rather in whatever walks of life the values and code of conduct that govern a CA should be the driving force of each members' actions.

Baron

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