A president's first 100 days

They say there’s nothing more certain than change. The changes we’re currently experiencing are coming thick and fast.

At the forefront of helping businesses manage change and advising on it are chartered accountants.

It’s a great privilege to represent chartered accountants in the region, after being appointed as ICAEW president for Lancashire & South Lakeland a few months ago.

It’s also been a great opportunity to look under the hood of the ICAEW and see what it does at a much wider level. Meeting with Michael Izza, the chief executive of ICAEW, and hearing how close the ICAEW is to the Bank of England, government and HMRC.

One of the ICAEW’s core foundations is reputation and influence, contributing expertise across business on a wide variety of topics, but also having the clout to shape policies, legislation and standards.

The remit of the role as president, is to support chartered accountants in the region and feedback to ICAEW centrally on the issues we’re seeing with businesses.

So what are we currently seeing?

The ICAEW North West Business Confidence Monitor, shows business confidence falling into negative territory for the first time since the pandemic.

This is not surprising given factors such as rising inflation, interest rates and the cost of living crisis.

Despite businesses achieving record rises in domestic sales, the rate of increase is expected to slow.

However it’s not all doom and gloom. Although business confidence may be low, many business owners are continuing with their growth plans, albeit at a slower rate.

The sentiment seems to be that ‘if we’ve got through Covid, we can get through this’.

Businesses that we see doing well are those with a positive mindset, looking for opportunities to grow both organically and through acquisitions. The M&A market is still very much buoyant, giving evidence that this is the case.

In my short time as president, I have already seen businesses working more closely together, actively looking for ways to support each other.

As chartered accountants, we are in a privileged position to have wide networks of other professionals, being able to signpost businesses to the right support.

The world is changing and so is the role of chartered accountants. We must continue to lead the way.

Enjoyed this? Read more from Chris Brown, Brown & Co

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