The best CPD I’ve ever had

I thought I’d share an interview I had published in the ICAEW Southern Newsletter.  Amongst other things it’s about the power and value in volunteering.  You never know where the journey will take you…

The best CPD I’ve ever had

Earlier this year ICAEW Southern’s immediate past president Richard Cartwright started his second term on the ICAEW Council. At present Richard attends Council meetings, Chairs the Assessment Committee, and serves on the Learning and Professional Development Board.

Though serving on Council can be a commitment of as little as 5 days a year, Richard has made substantial additional commitments. The question then is: Why? As with many simple questions, the answer is multifaceted. Richard followed Nick Parker as one of ICAEW Southern’s Council members when Nick became Vice President, and then President of ICAEW.

At the time Richard was relatively junior, having just taken on a teaching position at Southampton Business School. He saw joining Council as a good opportunity to access people and ideas that he might not have come across otherwise, as well as a chance to contribute to the profession.

So how has it worked out? The answer is a clear affirmative. ‘It’s the best CPD I’ve ever had,’ is Richard’s answer and that it has ‘enhanced my career’ He goes on to explain that while CPD opportunities were readily available when he was working in practice, that such opportunities can be harder to find once you leave.

‘It has been very useful to sit on boards and gain an understanding of governance and strategy,’ at a stage in your career where this might otherwise not happen.

Richard has supported the ICAEW through the transition from paper-based exams to the current computer-based system, though the system is not perfect, the ICAEW is the first qualification provider of its type to have achieved such a transition without compromising the style or integrity of its examinations.   Richard has also championed the voice of younger members on Council proposing that the Chair of the ICAEW’ s International Students’ Committee should have a full-term on Council, rather than just serving a single year.  The result bedding that going forward there will always be at least four younger members on the 90-strong Council. This means greater and in Richard’s view opens up the discussion.

Richard notes that there are ‘Some very impressive people who really care about where their profession is going whether or not you agree with them on any particular point’ and ‘throughout the council there is a strong ethos of service and putting something back into the profession’.

Finally, Richard was asked: What about the next four years? Firstly, he would like to see the ICAEW to look closely at its   business model so that all resources the institute holds digitally is available to all members. ‘That would require a fresh look at different ways of raising revenue’ he said, ‘but I think removing the paywall to members would help them feel that they were getting better value for money’.

His other imperative for ICAEW is that it must bite the bullet as regards populism, to acknowledge and sponsor change where necessary, but also to defend the profession robustly. Carillion and similar events have provided the media with plenty of ammunition that could be used to attack what is very largely a well-ordered and highly responsible profession. What’s needed is for profession to answer the challenges put to it, but in a manner, which is meaningful to the public and helps to restore some of the trust we appear to have lost,