My apologies but due to technical reasons, as they say, this is the first newsletter this year (ed. Autumn 2018). The honest answer is the committee still needs volunteers for various tasks including preparing the newsletter, so if you fancy being an editor please get in touch.

Despite the lack of a newsletter we have had the most successful year yet, with two very high calibre technical days & an excellent networking event hosted by Grant Thornton on Cyber security. With record attendances and very high quality speakers I would like to place on record my thanks to all the committee for all their continued hard work.

This is a special year for our PAiE group as we are celebrating our 30th anniversary. As a consequence I am pleased to announce that to mark the occasion our annual dinner in December will be at the Heineken Experience.

Tickets strictly limited so act now!

Looking back the PAiE group has grown from a small group hosting evening and half day events for 15 people to full day programmes which regularly attract more than 100 attendees. For this we must thank past committee members for their work. I would like to say a special thanks to Bryan Lee Smith for his leadership. Without him we would not be here today.

During the last 30 years we have also witnessed much change in our profession, sadly much of it linked to scandals, the most recent being the collapse of Carillion. It has become commonplace for observers of the accounting profession to open speeches by asserting that the profession is in the midst of the greatest crisis in public confidence in its history, the overall effect of which has been a loss of trust in our profession.

Regardless in which part of the profession you work, we are all tainted by such scandals.

I recently read an article making a powerful case that accountants are not only the foundation of business interaction but also key players in many other aspects of people's lives. The article went on to say:

Society trusts us, to not simply do what is right but to ensure that our clients and employers also do what is right. Trust can be hard to measure but it is society's trust in the accounting profession and how the profession facilitates trust in the marketplace and in society, which will shape us. The accounting profession, like other professions, relies primarily on two key characteristics: expertise and responsibility. As accountants we have to know what we should do, how to do it and why we do it. We also have to possess the strength and courage to do it, even at the expense of self-interest”.

Food for thought!

Moving on to other issues, Brexit of course hovers in the background with many of us working for companies with operations in the UK.

One significant effect of Brexit for accountants is the potential impact on our professional qualifications. As yet it has not reached the agenda of the politicians and I suspect will not rank high on their list of priorities. So far the UK accounting bodies have been acting behind the scenes with politicians both in the UK and Brussels. In the summer they published a paper on the Implications of Brexit on cooperation within the European audit profession. It is available to read at accountancyeurope.euAt the moment I can add no more than what you have heard from your own respective institutes. As soon as more information is available we will pass it on. Meanwhile from my observations of what has been going on, I do not think this is going to cause any of us any great personal problems. The challenges will be for companies wishing to relocate staff to the UK or vice versa. Perhaps going forward it will also reduce the opportunities to study for one of the UK professional qualifications but we shall see!