28 Jun

Global business leaders and investors unite to develop framework that measures long-term value creation for all stakeholders

As businesses around the globe respond to calls to demonstrate their contribution to inclusive long-term value creation for all of society, the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism and EY have announced that they are bringing together CEOs from over 20 global companies, representing more than US$20 trillion of assets under management, to work on a proof of concept to encourage and measure long-term value creation.

The project, called “The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism” will develop and test a new framework to better reflect the full value companies create through human, physical, financial and intellectual capital deployment.

The initiative was announced at the Aspen Ideas Festival by Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Founder of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, and Mark Weinberger, EY Global Chairman and CEO.

The 18-month project will involve six corporations from across the consumer products, health services and the industrials sectors, in addition to 15 investment and asset management organisations. The group will scrutinise, test and refine a framework that is being developed by EY. The Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism will work collaboratively with EY and the project participants, with input from an Advisory Board which will be established comprising leading academics, regulators, international standard setters and other strategic advisors.

Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Founder of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, says:

We have reached a critical point in history when popular opinion of capitalism is very low and political pressure against the status quo is building to a crescendo. This will worsen unless trust between business and the public improves. In order to achieve the desired increase in social cohesion, investors and businesses need a better way to create and articulate the long-term, inclusive value they create for their customers, employees, communities, the environment and shareholders.
The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism brings together some of the world’s leading asset owners, asset managers and multinationals to address this pressing need. By identifying and measuring the broader view of a company – its purpose, products, people and planet – companies and investors are more likely to prosper over the longer term and curb short-term behaviour. This is not just another siloed ESG or CSR initiative. The project goes to activities that are at the very heart of value creation, but are not now fully captured on a company’s P&L or balance sheet. The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism attempts to properly value a firm’s intangible strategic assets that benefit society, as well as shareholders. The Project would not be possible without the EY framework and the commitment of all of the participants. Together, we are dedicated to making this a serious and useful step toward the creation of more inclusive prosperity

The EY framework is designed to help companies deliver trusted information to customers, shareholders, employees and the financial community to improve the allocation of capital for long-term value creation. The asset owners and asset management firms that seek to invest in companies focused on long-term growth by taking into account intangible assets of inclusive business behaviour will actively participate in the proof of concept through the Embankment Project and determine if the end product provides a valuable view of companies from which to make their investment decisions.

Mark Weinberger, EY Global Chairman and CEO, says:

Trust in business, financial institutions and society as a whole is at an all-time low and if we hope to make any progress we have to address the issues behind these problems. We believe we can help by working with The Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism to bring together diverse stakeholders to create a framework which is a consistent model for how companies can measure and report the long-term value they create. Such a framework can supplement currently available financial information. This won’t be easy, and while we may not reach a successful solution applicable to all businesses, in trying we will further this important dialogue, which will be valuable progress

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and member of the project, welcomed the move, and says:

Long-term investment and sustainable growth models go hand in hand. Businesses must operate with purpose embedded in their strategy, serving their shareholders and wider society. The ability to articulate this in a standardised, meaningful way has long been needed so markets can properly measure this broader approach to value creation

Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo and member of the project, commented:

Business must do more than simply turn a profit. We must also be guided by a deep sense of purpose. This means measuring our success not only quarter to quarter, but also year to year and decade to decade. It means creating value for shareholders as well as society. Companies that embrace this mindset will be the ones to thrive long-term

Confirmed participants include:

  • Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, CEO of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism
  • Mark Weinberger, EY Global Chairman and CEO
  • Hywel Ball, EY UK & Ireland Head of Assurance

Asset Creators

  • Mark Bertolini, Chairman and CEO, Aetna
  • Edward Breen, CEO, DuPont
  • Alex Gorsky, Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson
  • Mark Schneider, CEO, Nestlé
  • Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo
  • Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

Asset Owners

  • Oliver Bäte, CEO, Allianz
  • Hiro Mizuno, Executive Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer, Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF)
  • Deanna Mulligan, President and CEO, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
  • Theresa Whitmarsh, Executive Director, Washington State Investment Board

Asset Managers

  • Martin Gilbert, Co-Founder and CEO, Aberdeen Asset Management
  • Abigail Johnson, Chairman and CEO, Fidelity Investments
  • Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co
  • Hendrik du Toit, CEO, Investec Asset Management
  • George Walker, Chairman and CEO, Neuberger Berman
  • Peter Harrison, Group CEO, Schroders
  • Ronald O’Hanley, President and CEO, State Street Global Advisors
  • Roger Ferguson, President and CEO, TIAA
  • Bill McNabb, Chairman and CEO, Vanguard
16 Oct

Finance for the Future Awards 2016

Finance for the Future Awards ICAEW Global AccountantFinancial leadership by companies, the public sector and investors was celebrated last night at the Finance for the Future Awards. Five winners were announced, including the winner of the Innovative New Idea Award which was judged on the night following live pitches from the finalists. 

The Finance for the Future Awards, founded by ICAEW and HRH The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) and in partnership with Deloitte, are in their fifth year. The awards highlight good business practices internationally by recognising the roles which the finance function, and the wider finance community, play in helping to build resilient organisations through embedding environmental and social issues into decision making.

The winners, with the judges’ citations, are:

Large business award

Winner: Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company

Judges’ citation: “The Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company team brought to life the vital role that the finance team can play to embed sustainability into everyday decision making. It was able to develop an approach that systematically integrated environmental and social factors into capital expenditure across the diverse geographies, changing decisions as a result.”

Highly commended: Skanska UK

Communicating integrated thinking award

Winner: United Utilities

Judges’ citation:

By producing clear, concise, integrated communications, United Utilities has demonstrated how integrated thinking translates to shareholder value in financial terms.

Highly commended: Novo Nordisk 

Public sector and third sector award

Winner: Climate Disclosure Standards Board

Judges’ citation:

CDSB has delivered something of vital importance that others have spoken about but not acted upon for years. The organisation has worked effectively as part of a collaborative network and acted as a catalyst for the development of a broad reporting framework. This framework demonstrates how traditional financial measures and new – primarily environmental – data can coexist for organisations and the institutions that invest in them.

Highly commended: HM Treasury

Investing and financing award

Winner: Bridges Ventures

Judges’ citation:

Bridges Ventures has created a truly innovative, scalable market offering. The tailored impact measurement framework clearly links financial and non-financial benefits.

Innovative new idea award

Winner: The Public Services Lab

A collaborative joint venture created by Interserve, Clubfinance, Catch22 and Big Society Capital to help voluntary, community and social enterprises across Merseyside to develop the skills and business practices to deliver innovative, effective and sustainable public services by innovative procurement and delivery models.

Finance for the Future is not just an awards ceremony. Since its inception, it has also led to the development of a community of engaged finance professionals.  These individuals are committed to creating more sustainable outcomes for their organisations, and share their stories with others.   

Michael Izza, Chief Executive, ICAEW said:

The organisations we are celebrating have demonstrated the highest standards and we are delighted to congratulate tonight’s winners. These awards were founded to showcase the companies that are leading the way in embedding sustainability at every level through the finance function. ICAEW believes that the accountancy and finance profession has a key role to play in helping to deliver a more sustainable world as well as more resilient businesses

Jessica Fries, Executive Chairman, A4S, said:

The finalists really inspired the judges by showing practical ways to integrate sustainability into decision making, creating value for the organisation, the economy and society. They really highlighted the transformation underway among finance teams and the wider finance community across the globe to develop resilient business models and a sustainable economy

Veronica Poole, global IFRS leader and UK head of accounting at Deloitte, said:

What really stood out amongst the winners was authenticity and the way their integrated thinking shone through. Communicating in a way that truly explains what makes companies tick and the values they live by is extremely important in creating trust in business

For more information, visit http://www.financeforthefuture.co.uk/

22 Aug

DFK Annual Conference – “New Normal”

The changing business outlook to emerge from the economic recovery will be a focus for discussion at the annual conference in Dublin of DFK UK & Ireland, part of a leading global accountancy association.

Austin Hughes, a well-known commentator on issues affecting Irish and European economies, will spark debate on the potential impact of the global economic downturn on future business conditions.

Delegates will consider the business environment likely to face companies in the coming years, compared to the downturn and preceding economic boom.

Austin Hughes DFK Global Accountant

Austin Hughes, Chief Economist, KBC Bank of Ireland

Hughes, KBC Bank of Ireland’s chief economist, said:

“The world economy has just experienced the most severe downturn in a generation.  Recovery is proving uneven and extended.

It is important to try and get a sense of what the ‘new normal’ might be in terms of the economic environment and what businesses might need to do to survive and thrive.”

DFK UK & Ireland has over 30 offices covering the UK and Ireland and belongs to DFK International, ranked among the top ten global accountancy associations with over 300 offices in more than 80 countries.

The annual conference is being held in Dublin for the first time and will be hosted by member firms Anne Brady McQuillans DFK, based in Dublin, and Crowleys DFK, which has offices in Dublin and Cork.

Suk Aulak, chairman of DFK UK & Ireland, said:

We are delighted that Austin is able to be part of the business programme at our annual conference which will attract senior managers and partners from our member firms throughout the UK and Ireland.

As part of DFK International, we have extensive global coverage and his analysis will greatly contribute to the sharing of knowledge among our members to best serve their clients with business interests at home and abroad

The conference will take place at the Conrad Hotel from 19 to 21 September.

04 Jul

Big in Japan – DFK International Annual Conference

The DFK International Annual Conference will be staged in Japan for the first time.

Japan Global AccountantFollowing on from the 50th anniversary of DFK International being celebrated at last year’s annual conference in Paris, another milestone will be reached this July with Japan staging the event for 2013.

The conference in Tokyo will be hosted by DFK International member firms Larkin & Associates and SK Tokyo Audit Corporation from Wednesday, July 17 to Friday, July 19 and opened by Scott Hazy, President of DFK International.

Martin Sharp, Executive Director of DFK International, said:

Japan is one of the world’s most important economies and the Asia-Pacific region is a great focus for global growth.

Many people are looking at the Japanese experience in economic terms. The long period of austerity and the impact that has had on the Japanese yen could yield lessons for western economies.

The conference will give delegates a valuable insight into the country’s economy and business opportunities.

Tetsuaki Inoue, partner at SK Tokyo Audit Corporation said:

The timing is perfect for Japan to be hosting DFK International’s major conference.

Japan is now the third largest GDP country in the world, and is said to be losing its presence in the global economy especially over the last 10 years.

But with our one-and-only high quality standards of products and services that attract customers all over the world, we think we still have opportunities to grow in the future.

With more investors coming to Japan, the more opportunities there will be for DFK International members to serve their clients in the region.

DFK International is delighted to have secured two high-profile external speakers to address the conference being held at the Shinjuku Hilton.

Atsushi Kato, who until very recently was Vice-Chairman of the Accounting Standards Board of Japan, will provide information about the nation’s accounting standards.

Ian de Stains OBE, former Executive Director of the British Chambers of Commerce in Japan, will give a valuable insight into life and business culture in Japan.

Brad Larkin, CEO of Larkin & Associates, said:

We’re looking forward to meeting up with everyone that attends and catching up with members from firms we deal with regularly.

I hope everyone coming to the conference will get out and about as much as possible so that they can take away a much higher level of appreciation for the language and cultural differences that have to be dealt with when doing business in Japan.

25 Mar

Professional Membership Bodies at Birkbeck

Birkbeck ACCA Global AccountantGlobal accounting membership bodies came together to attend the first in a series of presentation events held at London’s evening university, Birkbeck University of London.

The successful event which took place in the renowned Brunei Suite provided students the opportunity to explore their professional chartered route options available to them upon graduation.

During the evening ICAEW, IFA, ACCA, CIMA, CPA Australia were overwhelmed with student interaction and answered challenging questions during and after their presentations.

Jennifer Korsak of ICAEW delivered a keynote presentation, explained the benefits of joining the ICAEW and said:

“To maintain training quality ICAEW trainees will need to work with ICAEW approved employers. However, if students found employment with a non-approved employer, the process of approval is smooth and fast and all details could be found on the ICAEW website”

Birkbeck ACCA Global Accountant CPA

The membership bodies emphasised the global benefits available to prospective professional students and career pathways available to them during training and upon qualifying.

During the event Dr Julian Sims of Birkbeck University emphasised the importance of professional education and development.

Dr. Sims said:

“We live in economic uncertain times, where graduates are faced with immense competition in the employment market. Opting to embark on what is a tough yet rewarding journey of chartered accountancy is an option to overcome the limitations todays UK graduates are experiencing”

Birkbeck University of London is predominantly an evening university providing education to students who work during office hours. And this gives our students a distinct advantage to continue building their careers while having the opportunity to study.

The Professional Membership Bodies Event aimed at demonstrating the options available to students and to provide intuitive understanding in respect of what the subject bodies had to offer its trainees and members.

At the event 7City, the international Business School with a presence in London, New York, Dubai and Singapore presented an option for those who were interested in the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) qualification.

21 Mar

Audit Quality Forum: Spotlight on Audit Committees

ICAEWThe ICAEW delivered an outstanding and informative event titled “Spotlight on Audit Committees: A Step Change in Transparency”.  The event presented at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills attracted senior members of the audit community investment fund managers and business decision makers.

Charles Bowman ICAEW Global AccountantCharles Bowman, Audit Quality Forum Chair and Chairman of the ICAEW Audit and Assurance Faculty, opened the evening by reminding the audience that the audit industry remained under the spotlight for decades and with the recent study reports published by the Competition Commission the markets had refocused their attention yet again on the industry.

Jo Swinson, Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs delivered a keynote emphasising the importance of audit quality, independence and concentration of the audit market in the FTSE 100.

Jo Swinson MP said:

Jo Swinson MP Global Accountant“Audit quality underpins trust and confidence which leads to investment and growth. Investors should be able to trust the information published by companies”

“Independence is crucial to maintain trust in the industry however, the perception of auditor independence is equally important”

The Honourable also said that companies needn’t restrict themselves to the top four but explore the possibilities of other firms.

ICAEW had already signed-up to the initiative to promote woman to represent 25% of its boards by 2015 and would encourage all FTSE 100 companies to do the same to improve diversity and skill contribution at board level.

Melanie McLaren, Director Codes and Standards FRC, took on Audit Committees and said their reports were largely boilerplate which needed improving and highlighted the difficulty the industry faced in facilitating engagement between shareholders and the auditors.

Melanie said:

Melanie Mclaren FRC Global Accountant“to do this FRC will provide a platform to look at the usefulness of audit committee and auditor reports from an investor viewpoint and audit quality purposes”

Ian Richards, Head of Governance and Responsible Investment, came in with a contrasting speech criticising  the financial reporting standards and their effectiveness.

Ian said:

Ian Richards Threadneedle Investments Global Accountant“We have concerns around the reporting quality under IFRS and that audit committee reports are very poor and not useful as one would expect”.

“Investors look for usefulness and a proportionate report; not a three hundred page document that mainly has been a “cut-and-paste” from previous years with change in numbers”

Ian suggested what will be useful to include in the subject reports:

  • Key decision taken by boards

  • Internal Controls and accounting system improvements that remedy previous issues

  • Key decisions taken that have material impact on operation and financials and

  • Discussions that have taken place with auditors and how they have satisfied the necessary requirements as auditors.

Steve Barber, Audit Committee Chair, Next Plc. took the stage opening his speech by criticising the Competition Commissions’ attitude and report.

The Next Plc., Audit Committee Chair said:

Steve Barber Next Plc Global Accountant“The Competition Commission report suggests Audit Committees are not doing their job. This has no truthfulness and does not reflect the facts.”

Steve continued his speech by stating and agreeing to an extent with Ian Richards comments that “Less is more”. And issued a warning to Audit Committees that they should “stick to the fundamentals, so the purpose of the Audit Committee Report is not lost”

Andrew Ratcliff, PWC Partner, also joined the evening, demonstrating his industry experience and insight into auditing.

Andrew confessed that auditing, accounts and corporate reporting are complex exercises, nevertheless, required to be coherent and was surprised by the fact, why the Competition Commission Report underplayed the importance of non-executive directors’ role on boards.

Andrew suggested,

Andrew Ratcliffe PWC Global Accountant“More time is needed to improve Audit Committee Reporting and the Competition Commission report is not conclusive”

Andrew agreed that, “auditor reports should indeed include how auditors have dealt with risks rather than just numerating materiality”

The insightful evening came to a close with a Q&A with the audience.

14 Mar

100 City leaders to tackle ‘trust deficit’ at ‘Future of Financial Services Summit’

Summit to be staged and broadcast live on Monday 15 April to discuss how to forge a new settlement between the City and society

Policy Review Intelligence has convened a high-profile Summit of 100 business leaders from leading City firms to examine how to restore greater levels of trust in the financial services sector and forge ‘a new settlement’ with wider society.

The event is being held in response to the on-going reputation challenge currently being faced by the financial services sector and in response to the concerns of policy-makers and the wider public.

The confirmed list of headline contributors at the Summit includes:

  • Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive, Prudential Regulation Authority 
  • Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Business Secretary
  • Ashok Vaswani, CEO UK Retail and Business Banking, Barclays
  • Saker Nusseibeh, Chief Executive Officer, Hermes
  • Richard Sexton, Board Member for Reputation and Policy, PwC 
  • Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, FSB
  • Jane Archer, Policy Director, London First
  • Chris Cummings, Chief Executive, TheCityUK
  • Richard Sermon, Chair, City Values Forum
  • Paul Sizeland, Director, City of London Corporation
  • Patrick Jenkins, Banking Editor, Financial Times

This Summit will bring together leaders from across the financial sector (including accounting, banking, insurance and legal sectors), the financial media, relevant politicians and other key players for a half-day Summit to examine the issues and come up with practical solutions.

Key stakeholders and members of the public will be able to watch elements of the Summit broadcast live from 13:00 on Monday 15 April 2013 and be able to send in their points and comments interactively at:http://www.policyreview.co.uk/financial-services-summit-2013/

There will also be a recorded version published after the Summit.

Gavin Hayes, Editorial Director, Policy Review Intelligence said:

“Five years on from the financial crisis in 2008 there is still a palpable lack of trust in not just banking, but the finance sector as a whole – such low levels of trust cannot be healthy for our economy or indeed wider society. Trust can in part be rebuilt by City leaders coming together to find solutions and then committing to a process of culture change within their businesses – more fundamentally in order to address the current ‘trust deficit’ we need a new settlement between the finance sector and wider society.“

Ashok Vaswani, CEO UK Retail and Business Banking, Barclays said:

“Meeting the evolving needs of customers, businesses and wider society means banks need to think differently. Doing this means engaging stakeholders and being committed to transparency, service and fresh thinking.”

Richard Sexton, Board Member for Reputation and Policy at PwC, said:

“This Summit is an important step towards finding a solution to the complex challenges around trust faced by financial services institutions. One solution that’s often put forward to rebuild trust is regulation; but regulation alone will never fully close the gap between fine words and authentic values-led behaviour. People’s attitudes and expectations of financial services institutions of all types have undergone fundamental shifts in the wake of recent events. To earn trust in this new environment, these changes in public expectations must be matched by a new sense of corporate and social purpose.”

07 Mar

LSBU and ACCA Deliver Career Lecture

LSBU ACCA Global Accountant

Students and professionals gathered yesterday to attend the first in a series of events that will be hosted by London South Bank University (LSBU) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). The lecture titled, “The Right Choice for a Global Career” was unwrapped by Sarah Moore-Williams, Director of ACCA Programme.

Sarah said:

“LSBU and the ACCA have worked together to maintain the outermost standard available to any accounting student and will continue our partnership to better the student experience throughout the course. The programme at LSBU is backed by the ACCA seal of approval. Our accountancy course is delivered along with an employability programme which is at the core of our education and it is that student diversity at LSBU which provides the university with a distinct advantage to shape its students into world class accountants”

ACCA_logo

Linda Hanson of the ACCA chaired the event and expressed the importance of students being able to realise the importance of professional qualifications and the collaborative work between LSBU and the ACCA. The Institute had long ago granted LSBU maximum exemptions for its degree course and will continue to support the quality education delivered under Sarah Moore-Williams.

Sitting on the panel was Angelina Gyakye, Assistant Management Accountant and LSBU graduate, Carlison Morris, Managing Director of Compliant, Edmund Yu Director of Career Interactive and Atul Sharama, Partner at GKP Partnership.

Carlison Morris emphasised the importance of adding value to an employer and how one could demonstrate this skill by understanding what a business really needs from its employees.

Carlison added:

“I am ready to offer an internship to anyone who is willing to learn, dedicate time and will provide my business an advantage”.

Edmund Yu of Career Interactive delivered his expertise in international student employability and assistance in plugging the hole where there is a knowledge gap of what students are permitted and not permitted do within ethical and legal routes available to them.

Finally amongst the panellists a very experienced Atul Sharama of GKP presented his know-how as an example to attendees, his world travel and the effectiveness of being able to communicate in more than one language.

Atul had previously worked with 3 out of the top 4 largest accountancy firms – being responsible for their set up in various locations around the globe; abetted by his ability to speak various languages.

Atul continued his speech:

“GKP has always taken an active role in trainee development and we are keen to continue supporting this ethos as we become more aware of the added benefits interns and new graduates can bring to the table.”

However, Atul did exercise caution that the route to becoming a member of the ACCA involves dedication, ethics and high doses of motivation.

The lecture concluded with good networking opportunity for students to meet employers.