It’s good to see that in the fast paced world of social media and 24 hour rolling news, some things remain securely seated in history. Even better when you witness it first hand.
And so it was when I found myself in the City of London to enjoy a business ritual that has endured for almost 150 years – the installation of the new President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW). The Institute boasts 147,000 members worldwide and has offices in Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. It is a hugely influential organisation.
The cherry on the cake for me though is that the newly elected president is a certain Nick Parker, one of my closest friends. Together with Andrew Chalkley, our third musketeer, we have known each other for getting on for 30 years.
Andrew and I have naturally teased Nick about his rise to the top of this professional body (could we be his chauffeur/bag carriers etc) but in all seriousness being at the President’s Lunch was a great honour for the both of us, situated as we were on the family table among the great and the good from the accountancy profession.
The Institute’s headquarters in Moorgate Place are all that you would expect with painted, domed ceilings and the requisite number of paneled walls sitting quite comfortably alongside the very necessary bristling office technology. Tradition and modernity at its best. And, of course, in the world today, the Institute has never been more relevant as it seeks to uphold professional standards of competence, compliance and integrity – all with the aim of allowing businesses around the world to prosper.
Dedication and passion
The lunch itself was in the Great Hall – where else – and a splendid and delicious affair kicked off by a typical piece of Parker theatre with dry ice flowing out of a dramatic centrepiece. Wonderful. Nick delivered an appropriately weighty inaugural speech like the consummate professional he is as he looked ahead to his year in office – and 12 months of travelling the globe spreading the word of the Institute’s vision of a world of strong economies. His personal focus will be on tax and diversity. As an accountant of considerable standing, I have no doubt Nick will dispatch his duties with total dedication and passion. Make no mistake he has sought to make a real contribution to his profession. Becoming President is the realisation of drive, direction and ambition rather than simply falling into the role.
Altogether a proud moment for all concerned – and Andrew and I are very much looking forward to saying “oh yes, we’re on first name terms with the President”. It’s for them to determine which one…