Building on the dichotomy of the UK accounting profession is
just one of the aims for the incoming vice-president of the
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Gerald Russell has been appointed to the UK
institute’s leadership group following his election in February and
will take up office from June. Russell said there was a fascinating
dichotomy in the UK between a profession that has been around since
the Victorian era and has done much to enhance standards of
corporate reporting, accounting and tax work but at the same time
wants to be seen as modern and dynamic to people coming into the
accounting profession. “You have a fantastic ethical platform on
which to build… we need to retain our heritage and build on that
heritage but not be stuck on it,” he said.
Russell became involved with the ICAEW council four years ago when
he was asked to join the audit and assurance faculty. Currently, he
is chairman of the institute’s Audit Quality Forum and a senior
partner at Ernst & Young UK (E&Y) where he has a special
responsibility for independent assessment of client service. He is
also chairman of the E&Y non-executive director programme, a
member of its governing council and vice chair of the Confederation
of British Industry’s audit committee chair forum.
Russell will be part of the ICAEW leadership team for the next
three years. He would like to pursue what he called “a sensible and
proportional” approach to regulation that has a regional and global
Extending and enriching the ICAEW’s international relationships
will be another area of keen interest for Russell. The ICAEW offers
its courses to students in China, Cyprus, the Middle East, India,
Malaysia, Pakistan and Russia. “I remember when I went into
accountancy my father said that it was an international passport.
If that was true then it’s even more true now. I see working
together with some of these overseas bodies, bringing some of our
background knowledge to them, to be really helpful,” he said.
Russell believes he is coming into the new role at an interesting
time for the profession both in the UK and globally. “A lot is
going on and a lot has to be thought about and considered and dealt
with appropriately, which is why we have got to maintain and
increase our influence in global forums,” he said.