Michael Izza was appointed chief executive of ICAEW in 2006. Under his leadership, the organisation has embarked on an ambitious strategy to transform itself into an international professional accountancy body, headquartered in the UK. A key part of his role is to promote the contribution made by the profession as a driver of business, economic confidence and growth across the world.
CEO: How do you see your role as CEO of a professional organisation?
Michael Izza: ICAEW supports over 140,000 chartered accountants around the world, and we have a responsibility to them to uphold the reputation and status of their institute and their profession.
As the chief executive and as a chartered accountant, it is my job to provide leadership and vision not only to our members and students, but also to our staff throughout the world.
My role has been to deliver on our strategy, to lead the organisation through what are tough economic times for everyone, and to spearhead our engagement and influence with political and regulatory stakeholders. On the public policy front, we're gaining profile and we're a more international body than ever before - we have 21,000 members working outside the UK.
Do you see ICAEW as having a leadership role?
Absolutely. We are a globally recognised international body, and our large and diverse membership is a fundamental driver that the economy and government have recognised.
We have taken a leadership role and have influenced the agenda and debate; for example, since the financial crisis, ICAEW has led the debate on understanding the issues and learning lessons from what happened during the crisis. From this, we have developed guidelines for corporate governance and addressed the role of audit.
How do you think you can influence government strategy?
Through our members, who work in either practice or industry, we are able to gain a unique perspective on what's really happening in business and the economy. In the UK, 1.5-2 million businesses are being advised by ICAEW members in practice in any one year. As a result, we have been asked to be witnesses at select committees at the House of Commons.
ICAEW office holders and senior staff regularly meet ministers, regulators and standard setters around the world to discuss issues facing our profession and the business community at large.
Where do you see ICAEW in 2020?
I see ICAEW's spread and influence continuing to grow internationally from the foundations we have laid in China, the Middle East, South-East Asia and Europe over recent years.
I would like us to be seen as a trusted, impartial adviser and source of expertise for policy-makers whose decisions have an impact on businesses of all shapes and sizes. Most importantly, I want to ensure that we continue to provide value to our members and our growing student base.