AuditSim Competition Winners

 

The AuditSim Competition is run amongst several universities in the UK and overseas that use the UWE Audit Simulation software.

This is the second year that universities have gathered at the University of Liverpool London Campus to compete against each other on a brief agreed by staff at each of the universities, with the event being judged and facilitated by professional services RSM.

All MANG2066 students were invited to participate in the competition which formed part of their coursework assignmen, with Annie Salanson, Bihu Jini, Crispin Beaumont and Ziye Pan selected to present at the competition which took place in the Easter holidays.

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This year 6 teams from 5 universities presented in London, with two other universities participating remotely.  I was delighted that our team came first winning a £50 gift voucher each as well as some other goodies.  To celebrate I took the students the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ members club for a drink.

RSM commented upon the professionalism of the students presentation and the fact that they had addressed the assessment criteria using an approach they would use at RSM.

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Shaw Trust Power 100

It’s a real honour to have been named in the Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List for 2018.  I met some truly inspiring people at the launch celebration and feel humbled for being recognised for simply doing a job that I love!

The full Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List can be found on www.disabilitypower100.com

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Here’s a write up from the University’s web page:

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/business-school/news/2018/10/richard-cartwright-is-included-in-the-disability-power-100-list-2018.page

The Disability Power 100 List is an annual publication of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. More than 700 nominations were received for the 100 places. The Disability Power 100 List is compiled by an independent judging panel, chaired by Kate Nash OBE. Kate is the world’s leading authority in ‘Networkology’ – the science behind the growth of workplace networks and resource groups. In 2007, she was awarded an OBE for services to disabled people. In 2013, she was appointed Ambassador to Disability Rights UK.

Richard Cartwright is an award-winning lecturer at Southampton Business School and a Chartered Accountant who serves as a Council Member for the Institute of Chartered Accounting in England and Wales (ICAEW). Richard started his early career at professional services firm KPMG. Two weeks into his graduate training career, he broke his neck in an accident, which resulted in life-changing injuries. After nine months in hospital, he returned to work part-time before restarting his graduate training programme a year later. His big break came in 2011 when he was seconded to the company’s Department of Professional Practice to run training courses. Richard said: “I loved it; for the first time I felt I could do my job as well as (or better than) my colleagues.”

Having found his true vocation and wanting to teach full-time, Richard left KPMG and moved into Higher Education, joined Solent University as a Senior Accounting Lecturer in 2012. Whilst there, he also helped found Team Solent Sharks Wheelchair Rugby Club. In 2015, Richard joined the University of Southampton’s Business School. A passionate advocate for volunteering, Richard espouses the benefits of putting your hand up and helping out: “It has led to some weird and wonderful opportunities from helping people to play a sport, to helping shape government policy in education.”

Volunteering has also helped his career flourish with his extra-curricular activities being a significant contributor to his successful promotion in 2018, making him one of the youngest lecturers of his seniority in the UK.

Richard said, “It’s an absolute honour to have made The Shaw Trust Power List. It was a great evening meeting some truly fantastic people!”

Nick Bell, Interim Chief Executive of Shaw Trust – a charity helping to transform the lives of young people and adults across the UK and internationally, said:

“Congratulations to Richard Cartwright. The judges were beyond impressed by the standard of nominations but selected the most influential people who are proving that disability or impairment is not a barrier to success. One of our aims for the Disability Power 100 List is to demonstrate to young people that they can achieve their ambitions. At Shaw Trust, we work with government, local authorities and employers to support people overcome barriers which hold them back from achieving their potential.”

The news was also featured here:

https://www.icaew.com/about-icaew/news/press-release-archive/2018-press-releases/regions-2018/richard-cartwright-is-on-the-disability-power-100-list-2018

https://www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk/news/17285812.hampshire-accountant-richard-cartwright-named-among-most-influential/

 

Making Accounting Great Again

The immediate Past President of ICAEW, Nick Parker addressed members of ICAEW Southern, the local business community and Southampton Business School students on 24 October. Somewhat provocatively, the event was titled ‘Making Accounting Great Again’. Hosted by Professor Martin Broad, who heads the business school and structured as a conversation with Richard Cartwright, a Principal Teaching Fellow at the business school and immediate Past President of ICAEW Southern, the event proved insightful and thoughtful. Topics covered were wide ranging, albeit with the emphasis on taxation – Nick Parker’s specialism – and audit, in the wake of recent high profile business failures.1

Nick began by explaining that the role of an ICAEW President is to attend its Council meetings, chair its board and partake in dinners. The President’s best option is to focus on his – or her – own areas of particular interest and in his case, taxation and diversity figured largely.

When Nick joined the ICAEW Council in 2015, tax avoidance was much exercising HMRC, with the government willing to act if the profession did not. Nick explained how the six institutes relevant to Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation (PCRT) worked together, with ICAEW taking the lead. The outcome was the introduction of five new standards on advising on tax, which essentially reflected the way ICAEW members operate.

HMRC was ‘quite surprised at how far the profession was prepared to go,” Nick said, with some satisfaction. The outcome is that PCRT is now a 12 page document of don’ts, with links to greater detail for use as needed, and no longer a 59 page tome.

He also covered Making Tax Digital and ICAEW’s work with HMRC, revealing that the Revenue was quite surprised to learn that small businesses largely use spreadsheets, which work perfectly well, not accounting software. Changes that have resulted from better understanding are that Making Tax Digital will now only apply to businesses over the VAT threshold and will not be applied in complex situations. Obviously, HMRC’s objective here is to reduce its own payroll.

The discussion touched on the way accountancy exams have changed since Nick, and even Richard, qualified, how artificial intelligence (AI) is taking over some basic audit activities, thereby replacing junior roles, and how professional services/consultancy are more attractive and higher earning activities for accountants.

It is impossible to consider the future of the accountancy profession without mentioning audit as there has been critical coverage of some of the biggest firms, particularly following the Carillion collapse. Certainly, ICAEW has to demonstrate its commitment to the public interest in this context, and as Nick Parker pointed out there are audit failings. However it is wise to remember that companies also have responsibilities for their own success – or not; and that the public perception of audit and the reality are not the same.

Other inquiries are in progress, but even so ICAEW is funding its own independent inquiry into audit, starting in January 2019 and reporting later in the year. The only reason that this has not gone ahead already has been the difficulty in finding an independent chair.

One issue has been that family members of some exceptionally able auditors have been subjected to hate mail following high profile business failures. It is hardly surprising that talented accountants are, quite reasonably, shying away from this specialism in response, not wishing to see their own families on the receiving end.

Diversity, gender equality and societal issues that affect careers also received attention, via questions Richard Cartwright posed and those from the audience. Early in the conversation, Nick stated that diversity is important, believing that the profession should be readily open to anyone who is interested and capable. Diversity was the theme of his presidential year, and he helped to create a diversity community with information on best practice on the ICAEW website.

One aim, for example, is to support someone who might feel somewhat isolated as the only LGBT person at their level in a small company. However, the website, which is open to all and deals with the full range of diversity to be found across society and therefore the workforce.

Nick considers that affirmative action may result from the pressure on companies to close the gender pay gap, and that women might therefore benefit when a recruiter is faced with equally able male and female candidates and has to choose one. He observed that the gender pay gap is a societal issue, not at all the same as equal pay, but usually the result of more having women in the bottom pay quartile and more men in the upper quartile, due women’s roles within the family.

While the solution is a matter for society as a whole, and the evolution of attitudes towards family versus career responsibilities and opportunities, it would seem that the right mindset is very much present within ICAEW and that accountancy will continue to be a great career choice for the foreseeable future.

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ICAEW Southern Annual Dinner

It was great to host my 2nd annual dinner as President of ICAEW Southern.  An awful lot has happened within the Southern District this year and even more within the accounting profession.

I tried to tie a few of the themes together in my speech, which you can find below after a hyperlink to a write up of the event from the Daily Echo:

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/business/16148036.More_than_160_attend_ICAEW_dinner_in_Southampton/

Hello and welcome to the 2018 ICAEW Southern Annual Dinner, our first under our new identity.

District society annual dinners can be slightly odd things. Each having their own identity: Some can be fairly dry affairs, others steeped in tradition and ritual, others (including our students Society’s dinner) fairly anarchic.

Ours, here tonight, is to: reacquaint ourselves with current and former colleagues and friends, to support our local community and to most importantly celebrate the new members joining our profession – and I’m delighted to have so many of them here.

It has been a challenging year for the profession. We have been in the headlines a lot, and more often than not, for the wrong reasons. Some of our new members may well be wondering whether they have made the right choice!

We can be relatively easy targets for criticism, what we sell it not always particularly glamorous and technology is rapidly changing our profession and the business models of the firms within it.

However, accounting has been and will remain the language of business. Accountants as purveyors of trusted advice continue to inspire confidence within business and the economy. And the accounting profession, despite our occasional shortcomings, remains the competent authority on ethics within business.

It is those fundamental human qualities of language, trust and ethics, the qualities of Chartered Accountants, the qualities of people within this room, which means that, despite the profound changes to come, I feel the profession will remain the back bone of the economy and that our me mbers (new and old)have a bright future ahead.

It’s been a privilege to serve as your president for the last two years and though I’m looking forward to handing over to my Deputy President Martin in May there will unquestionably be things I miss about the role… Not least all of the free dinners…

If anyone is interested or might like to get involved in volunteering with the ICAEW, I can thoroughly recommend it and if you would like to know more please just drop me a line.

All that is left is to say that I hope you enjoy the evening, to thank you to everyone who has helped make this dinner happen (you know who you are) and our event sponsors Kaplan Financial and Southampton Business and our long standing partners CMA Recruitment.

Thank you and have a good evening.

 

Forging the future of technical and further education in Accounting

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Here’s a short blogpost I prepared for the Universities Evidence to Policy blog:

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/publicpolicy/what-we-do/blogs/evidence-to-policy-blog/cartwright-technical-education-accounting.page

I have always described myself as an ‘accidental accountant’.  Having avoided modules in accounting throughout my Undergraduate studies, when looking for a graduate job I realised there were far more jobs in accounting than in my chosen subject of economics.

I joined KPMG’s Southampton Office in a relatively small cohort, but one still made up of graduates with degrees in everything from Ancient History to Zoology.  Amongst them were those with degrees in Accounting, Finance and Economics (in my case), and School Leavers; entering directly from their college. I remember, distinctly, how impressed I was by my peers and how un‘accountant like’ I found them to be.  I suppose, in part, that was because none of us were accountants! Nor were we at all prepared, including those with degrees in Accounting and Finance, for the roles we had been recruited for.

Much has changed in the intervening years, the employability of graduates has become an issue of huge importance to Universities and alternative routes in to the profession have been established, including the most recent Trailblazer apprenticeships. However, one thing that has remained the same, is the provision of 16-19 education in the field.  This comprised and continues to comprise of A-Levels in Accounting (offered by a few colleges), A-Levels in Business Studies / Economics (offered more widely) and baffling array of vocational business qualifications (offered inconsistently across colleges).

The strength of my cohort at KPMG came from its diversity of opinion, experience, age and education.  However, though all of us had eventually ended up as accountants, none of us had the opportunity to study accounting as a vocational subject from the age of 16, even if we had wanted to.

As Chairman of the ICAEW’s (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) Assessment Committee, I became privy to forthcoming proposals from the Department for Education – that have been presented by the former Education Secretary, Justine Greening as ‘the biggest ever overhaul of technical education to deliver a skills revolution for Brexit Britain’ – a policy which has received cross party support. In my capacity as an academic and member of the ICAEW, I applied to and was invited to join the Accounting T-Level Panel advising the Department for Education.  These panels, made up of employers, representatives of professional bodies and education experts are charged with co-creating the content requirements for technical education programmes, thereby ensuring that T level programmes have real status and credibility.

The proposed T level programmes will be substantial qualifications, equivalent to 3 A-Levels, focussed on developing practical knowledge, skills and behaviours and will also include a substantial, high quality work placement‎ so that students can apply their learning in a real workplace environment.

The experience of working with the Department for Education and the panel members has been enlightening, stimulating and challenging. The Government’s commitment to higher apprenticeships, funded by the Apprenticeship Levy and the new T-Levels will prove a compelling alternative to traditional academic study; laying down a gauntlet to Business Schools and other faculties affected by the new landscape in education.  Substantial time and effort will need be invested by Universities to redefine and reinstate a graduate premium that can compete in the market for the best and brightest students.  Being part of the discussion from the outset will help the University of Southampton be at the forefront of that change.

ICAEW Southern Annual Dinner

sosca-dinner10_jpg_galleryPeople often ask me what I get up to as President of ICAEW Southern.  Well this has to be one of the more enjoyable days our Annual Dinner.  Our guest speaker was Southampton Alumnus Justin Urquhart Stewart who provided a topical and frank assessment of the UK and Global economy in his usual entertaining manner!  A fantastic sum of money also raised for charity too.  Thank you to our sponsors CMA Recruitment, Independent Financial Solutions and Southampton Business School.

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/business/15200873.Accountants_enjoy_big_night_out_at_annual_dinner/#gallery2