ICAEW新任会长的专访:传递接力棒


文章来源|ECONOMIA


ICAEW下一任会长菲奥娜·威尔金森(Fiona Wilkinson)表示支持ICAEW对所有人开放。她告诉朱莉娅·欧文(Julia Irvine)这是她从协会第一位女性会员那里获得的启示。



菲奥娜·威尔金森2016年被选上ICAEW会长职位的第一梯队后不久,荒岛评论(Desert Island Discs)的一则消息提醒了她,1919年允许女性从事职业的法案将迎来一百周年。“这对我来说真是意外之喜,”她说到,“周一我发邮件问图书馆第一位女性加入协会的时间,他们告诉我是1920年,这意味着一百周年和我担任会长的时间重合了,我真没想到!”


更棒的是,我们讨论的这位女性——玛丽·哈里斯·史密斯——具备了特许会计师应该具备的一切特质——不仅是一位有开拓精神的女性,而且是一位聪慧,果断,有毅力的人。史密斯1884年出生于伦敦,她的父亲鼓励她发展数学和会计方面的潜能。在商业公司和皇家针线厂工作一段时间后,不断提高的服务需求促使她在1887年开设了自己的公司。


“她曾多次申请加入协会,但都失败了。可怕的是,我曾逐字逐句读过委员会会议的报告,他们说让女性职员和男性职员一同去见顾客是不可能的。”威尔金森说到,20世纪20年代时,我们的考试系统对女性开放,但为防止女性打扰到男性,他们不能坐在同一个考场。


1920年5月,76岁的哈里斯·史密斯终于成为协会的一员。威尔金森决心在她的任期内纪念这位杰出的女性。“我想发扬她的韧性,以及她获得她想要的资格的决心。”


很多活动正在筹备,从地区级别到国际级别,特许会计师大厅也在准备特别小组讨论会。哈里斯·史密斯的肖像也已经开始制作,威尔金森想用她的名字重新命名特许会计师大厅的接待室,并为她颁发杰出成就奖。和哈里斯·史密斯一样,威尔金森也是一位先锋。她的父母希望她成为一名家庭主妇。但她有不同的想法,她想从事法律相关职业但却遭到拒绝。


“当我告诉他们我想成为一名律师时,他们说:太荒谬了!你应该去结婚生子。让你接受严格的职业培训完全就是在浪费时间。所以,在我完成法语和意大利语的学习之后,我成了一个特许会计师,我从来没有后悔过。”她在1976年加入了德勤(Deloitte),她发现她通常是审计项目中唯一的女性,十分罕见。


“老实说,我很惊讶地发现,当我获得资格时,女性人数只占行业的10%。但有一些非常奇怪的做法,女人不能穿裤子。这是看似不经意的性别歧视。“当我开始工作时,有些经理的办公桌上有倍耐力日历。我很震惊,在你接受面试的时候,他们已经给了你很大的压力。但当你终于走进一个你认为很专业的办公室时,发现有一堆男人都在展示美女日历……谢天谢地,这最糟糕的时期已经结束了。”


利用自己的会计技能和语言技能,威尔金森在米兰、布鲁塞尔和蒙特利尔呆一段时间,还参与了卢森堡安布罗西亚诺银行的破产调查和一项在日内瓦的大规模欺诈调查。她于1987年离开德勤,成为审计、财务报告和实务保证公司的技术顾问。在接下来的几年里,她开始在孩子、家庭生活和客户之间周旋。


她说:“对于女性来说,这是一个很棒的职业,因为它可以让你接触不同的行业。”她说:“你几乎可以在任何行业工作。只要有签证、会外语,你几乎可以在任何地方工作而且非常灵活。如果女性想要承担起照顾孩子的责任,她们也可以继续工作。我生孩子时还在工作。我成了自由职业者并做兼职工作。说起来容易做起来难,但其中有很多可能性的,我真的非常支持。”


不足为奇的是,威尔金森打算在当会长的同时担任行业的包容和社会流动大使。她热衷于传播这样一种信息:即使特许会计是一种包容性的职业,对所有人开放,无论他们的背景如何。但她也意识到,在过去的几年里,这个行业受到了广泛的批评。她认为事情需要改变,并希望与政府和监管机构合作,确保职业适应未来发展。


“我们需要展望未来,使审计成为有价值和有用的东西。我们必须扭转预期差距,不要再说公众不理解我们,而是要问用户到底想从我们这里得到什么。我们需要对改革持积极态度,并投入到让审计、以及整个行业变得更加光明。“事实上,”她忍不住补充道,“把这三个主题结合在一起,我觉得‘人人都有光明的未来’。”


个人采访


我喜欢做一个FCA因为…

这给了我职业生涯很大的灵活性。我可以旅行,开自己的公司,做兼职。


我最开心的时候是...

我和我的孩子和丈夫在一起。


我获得最深刻的教训是....

调节我自己,不要浪费时间。


我想被记为…

一个信守承诺并做得很好的人。


我生命中的挚爱是…

我丈夫和孩子们。然而,不久之后会多加一个人,因为我们的第一个孙子即将出生。


我最糟糕的缺点是....

打断别人说话。



Passing the baton: new ICAEW president shares inspiration


Incoming president Fiona Wilkinson is determined to champion ICAEW as open to all. She tells Julia Irvine about the inspiration she draws from the Institute’s first female member


Shortly after incoming president Fiona Wilkinson was elected to the first rung of the ICAEW presidential ladder in 2016, a mention on Desert Island Discs alerted her to the approaching centenary of the 1919 legislation giving women access to the professions. “What a bit of serendipity,” she says. “The next Monday I was emailing the library to find out when the first female member joined ICAEW. It turned out to be 1920. That meant our centenary coincided with my presidential year – I couldn’t believe it.” 


Even better, the woman in question – Mary Harris Smith – was everything a chartered accountant should aim to be – not just a pioneering woman, but also intelligent, determined and persistent. Born in London in 1844, she was encouraged by her father to develop her natural talent for maths and accounting. After working with a mercantile firm and the Royal School of Needlework, demand for her services led her to set up her own firm in 1887. 


“She applied several times to join the Institute and was turned down. It’s dreadful: I have verbatim reports of Council meetings asking how they could possibly send out a female articled clerk to clients with male articled clerks,” says Wilkinson. “When our exam system was opened to women in the 1920s, they sat separately from men in the exam halls in case they distracted them.”


In May 1920, aged 76, Harris Smith finally became a member. Wilkinson is determined to honour this remarkable woman over her presidential year. “I want to celebrate her resilience and her determination to achieve the qualification she wanted.” 


A number of events are planned, from district society to international level, plus a special panel discussion at Chartered Accountants’ Hall. A portrait of Harris Smith has been commissioned and Wilkinson would like to rename the Small Reception Room at Chartered Accountants’ Hall after her, and have the Outstanding Achievement Award given to her posthumously. Like Harris Smith, Wilkinson is also a pioneer. Her parents expected her to become a housewife. She had different ideas and considered going into the law but was put off at a careers fair. 


“When I told this man that I wanted to find out about becoming a solicitor, he said the classic thing: ‘Ridiculous. You’ll only marry and have children. It will be an utter waste going through such rigorous training’. But I wanted a profession, a career and to do well. So after my degree in French and Italian, I became a chartered accountant – a move I’ve never regretted.” She joined Deloitte as a trainee in 1976 and found she was a rarity and usually the only woman on an audit.


“To be honest, I was surprised to find out later that when I qualified women made up just 10% of the profession. But there were some very odd practices. Women weren’t allowed to wear trousers. People were casually sexist. “When I started work, some of the managers had Pirelli calendars on their desks. I was shocked, after the hard sell they give you when you’re interviewed. To walk into what you think will be a professional office and find there are a whole load of men with girlie calendars on show… Thank goodness the worst sort of extremes have gone now.” 


Utilising her accountancy skillset and languages, Wilkinson spent time in Milan, Brussels and Montreal, and worked on the collapse of the Banco Ambrosiano in Luxembourg and a big fraud investigation in Geneva. She left Deloitte in 1987 to become a technical consultant to firms on auditing, financial reporting and practice assurance. The next few years were spent juggling children, domesticity and clients.


“This is a fantastic profession for women because it can take you down so many different routes,” she says. “You can end up working in almost any kind of business. You can work almost anywhere in the world subject to visas and language and it is very flexible. Women can make it work for them if they want to have caring responsibilities. I made it work around having children. I became self-employed and worked part time. It’s easier said than done but there is a lot of flexibility in it and I would really advocate it.”


Not surprisingly, Wilkinson intends to carry on her role as an ambassador for inclusion and social mobility in the profession while president. She is keen to spread the message that chartered accountancy is an inclusive profession that is open to all, no matter their background. But she is also aware the profession has come in for extensive criticism in the past couple of years. She accepts that things need to change and wants to play her part in working with government and the regulators to ensure that the profession is fit for the future.


“We need to look forward to the future and make audit something that is valued and useful. We must turn the expectation gap on its head, stop saying that the public doesn’t understand and ask what the users of accounts actually want from us. We need to be positive about change and input into how we can make the future of audit – and the profession – bright.” “In fact,” she adds irrepressibly, “put all three themes together and I am calling them ‘a bright future for all’.”


The account


I like being an FCA because… It has given me a professional career with great flexibility. I was able to travel, set up my own business, and work part-time. 


I’m happiest when… All of my children are with me and my husband. 


The hardest lesson to learn has been… To pace myself and not over-programme my time. 


I’d like to be remembered as… Someone who delivered what was promised and did it well. 


The loves of my life are… My husband and children. However, there will be a new candidate as our first grandchild is due soon. 


My worst habit is… Butting in when people are talking



关于ICAEW

翻译:Sherily
审阅:Chloe,Irene,Christmas
美工:Ailsa