ICAS Insights: Equality, diversity and inclusion in the accountancy profession

27 May 2020

Catch up on the ICAS Insights: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion webinar, hosted by ICAS Executive Director of Member Engagement and Communications, Sarah Speirs, and featuring a conversation with ICAS President, Catherine Burnet CA, and Chair of the Guthrie Group, Jim Robertson CA.

Research shows that a diverse workforce is good for business, and it’s more important than ever. Not only do companies with at least one woman on the board outperform those without women by 32%, but companies with diversity in thinking will be better suited to overcome challenging times. Diverse and collective thinking is needed to come up with the best ideas and solutions for the challenges businesses face.

At ICAS we recognise that we have more to do in order to promote and embed a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion in our organisation and our profession.

ICAS has a range of initiatives in place promoting inclusion and diversity, from the ICAS Foundation and the Top Young CAs list, which celebrates 100 exceptional young CAs from a wide range of backgrounds, to the Guthrie Group.

Comprising ICAS members and staff, the Guthrie group is taking forward our agenda of embedding a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion within ICAS and our wider profession.

The Guthrie group has released a draft statement of values and are inviting members to comment on the draft by 31 July. The final version will then be put forward to the ICAS Council in September:

“ICAS places equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of all that we do. With our partner organisations, we are committed to building a diverse membership and workforce that is beneficial for all, and that enables our communities to learn, grow and advance together.”

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About the speakers

Catherine Burnet, ICAS President

Catherine is the Regional Chair for KPMG in Scotland and recently appointed as our new President of ICAS for 2020/21.

Catherine’s career at KPMG spans more than 20 years and she has held roles in Edinburgh, London and the United States.

Catherine is also a member of the Financial Services Advisory Board to Scottish Government.

Catherine trained as a CA with KPMG in Edinburgh, qualifying in 1997. She became a partner at KPMG in 2009 and subsequently spent two years in KPMG US working on global banking clients. After returning to Scotland in 2011, Catherine led the KPMG Financial Services team and became Regional Chair of KPMG Scotland in 2016.

Catherine has been involved with ICAS since 2011, first as Chair of the Audit Committee, then Chair of Oversight Board. She has also been a member of the ICAS Council since 2011 and served as Vice president (2018/19) and Deputy President (2019/20).

Jim Robertson, Chair of the Guthrie Group

Jim Robertson is a non-executive director in the Scottish Government, deputy chair of the Government’s Audit & Assurance Committee and member of the Climate Emergency Action Group of the Scottish Leaders Forum. He was global head of oil and gas tax in Shell for 11 years and is a Senior Fellow of ITIC, an education foundation based in Washington DC. In that role he delivers capacity-building programmes to tax officials in developing countries together with the IMF, OECD and UN. He is a member of the UN Subcommittee on Extractive Industries Taxation Issues for Developing Countries and the conference committee of the Norwegian Petroleum Association.

Jim chairs the academic board of the Advanced Diploma in International Tax of the UK Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT). He sits on the governing Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) and is a member of its Qualifications Board and Scottish Taxes Committee. He was the inaugural chair of the Scottish Tax Policy Forum, a joint venture between ICAS and CIOT.

Jim qualified with PwC in 1981 and joined Shell the same year. He had nine different tax and finance roles in Shell and lived in London, The Hague, Kuala Lumpur, Aberdeen and Houston. He was a founder member of Shell’s Finance Social Investment Network which connected staff to voluntary organizations in need of finance skills and experience. In Shell Finance he had global responsibility for promoting professional qualifications and for communications on diversity & inclusion.