Virtually Live returns on 15-17 June focused on the future, with the FRC’s Sir John Thompson providing a keynote on audit reform. As economies and business look to rebuild, the event aims to provide the support members need in a post-COVID world.
Around 5,000 ICAEW Chartered Accountants, students and community members from all over the world participated in ICAEW’s first flagship virtual conference in August last year.
Virtually Live brought together members working in business and practice, through a programme that offered tailored support on technical areas, alongside keynotes from speakers such as Paul Johnson, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and mental health guru Nick Elston, both of whom are returning for 2021.
“We had something for everyone,” recalls Amanda Digne-Malcolm, ICAEW’s Director, Practice. “A lot of the programme was delivered by members for members, and the feedback was off the scale.”
Building on the success of last year’s event, Virtually Live 2021 will provide three days of live and on-demand sessions for members, communities and students completely free of charge.
The programme covers the economics of a post-pandemic world, the future of audit and tax, as well as career development, from technical skills and management to good mental health.
“The aim is to provide a space where people be able to find the support across a range of different areas to help them planning what happens next for their career, their organisation, or their practice,” says Digne-Malcolm.
The first day focuses on post-COVID and post-Brexit recovery and how this can be achieved while meeting the UN’s sustainable development goals.
Paul Johnson returns to discuss the Dasgupta Review on the economics of biodiversity with HM Treasury’s Emily McKenzie, while Burberry’s CFO, Julie Brown, will be providing international perspectives on recovery with Jacqueline Chan, Managing Director of Hong Kong’s DBS Bank.
There will also be sessions reflecting on the impact of the UK’s exit from the EU, support on access to finance and the importance of business development.
On 16 June, Virtually Live 2021 sets its sights on the future of the profession.
The day opens with Sir Jon Thompson, Chief Executive of the Financial Reporting Council, providing his thoughts on governance and audit reform, ahead of a panel discussion on the future of tax.
Wednesday is the day for those looking for their technical updates, with sessions on advisory, financial reporting and tax, as well as a presentation from John Selwood on what good looks like in audit.
The final day of Virtually Live 2021, examines the impact of the pandemic and digitalisation on the careers and working lives of Chartered Accountants.
Delegates will get to hear from futurist Sophie Hackford on what life in a robot world will look like, as well as from Nick Elston on what you can do now to support good mental health in the workplace.
Other sessions will provide support on career development, diversity and inclusion, and effectively managing teams.
Stronger together in 2021
Showcasing and amplifying the voices of Chartered Accountants remains at the heart of the programme this year, with many of the speakers ICAEW members too. This is particularly important in the transformative times we find ourselves, according to Digne-Malcolm.
“We are in a period of massive change, not only due to COVID and Brexit, but also due the impact of technology,” she says. “Put all of that together and it's a very different world, with significant challenges. For Virtually Live 2021 we are giving guidance and support by sharing stories of people who are facing similar issues.”
Building on this approach, and taking on feedback from last year, Virtually Live 2021 will also include opportunities for virtual networking throughout the event. These sessions will enable delegates to discuss key issues with each other, as well as the ability to talk to speakers, ICAEW staff and partners.
“We know that members really value the opportunity to network and meet people like them, so this is an important facet to this year’s event,” confirms Digne-Malcolm. “I look forward meeting lots of our members at Virtually Live 2021 and hearing their stories.”
From full-day conferences offering the latest updates for specific sectors to webinars offering support on technical areas and communication skills. ICAEW offers hundreds of learning opportunities through its events.