First Intuition Think Tank (FITT) forums
In these unprecedented times, the ever-changing situation continues to affect employers in a way they haven’t done in the past. As a result, we have organised a continuing series of First Intuition Think Tank forums. Generally speaking, we will discuss the topics which are repeatedly affecting businesses right now. These topics are those we feel are most relevant to employers that we work with. Expert speakers will share their experiences on these topics and point us to real-world case studies.
Below you will find the schedule for our first four FITT forums for 2021 and a summary of what the sessions will cover.
Sustainability in Finance and Beyond – Wednesday 27th October 8.30am to 10am
Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow (31 October – 12 November 2021), we will be exploring sustainability and why it is important to the finance industry. Including what has changed over recent years, what is driving change, what finance organisations can do to become more sustainable, and where to start to make a positive change.
Previous 2021 FITT Forums
How the Pandemic has Changed the Accountancy Industry and How we Train New Intakes
This session discussed how the pandemic has affected the accountancy industry, the changes made by the awarding bodies during this time and how they have benefited the industry, the role the accountancy profession can play in the recovery of COVID, as well as predictions for the future.
Guest speakers included Andrew Williamson, Director of Marketing and Brand Strategy at AAT, Claire Bennison, Head of ACCA UK, Stephen Flatman, Vice President of Examinations at CIMA/AICPA, Shaun Robertson, Director of Education and Qualifications at ICAEW, Christopher Argent, Editor in Chief at GenerationCFO.com, Louise Wilson, Head of Finance Sector at Moneypenny, Graham Hambly, Publisher and Editor at PQ Magazine, and Martin Taylor, Chairman at First Intuition.
Recruiting the ‘COVID Generation’
This forum explored the impact the pandemic has had on young adults. As well as the allowances that will be required in recruiting the coming cohort of school/college leavers to account for lost learning and skills development opportunities. Not only will students have suffered huge disruption to their education for in excess of 12 months. They will have had extremely limited opportunities for early work experience in the hospitality and retail sectors. They will also have seen extra-curricular employer outreach and career activities disappear. This forum considered how the skill sets of these young adults are likely to differ from our normal expectations. As well as how their CV’s might look and what their exam grades may or may not mean.
Guest speakers including Form the Future, AstraZeneca, Leeds City Council, and Long Road Sixth Form College formed a balanced panel exploring the impacts on the different parties involved, from employer to student.
The Role of Data Analytics in Accountancy
This forum explored how digitisation, automation, and Artificial Intelligence are revolutionising the way that financial transactions are recorded. As well as how they are also transforming the way that data can be interrogated, analysed, and presented to aid better business decision-making.
We were joined by leading experts in this rapidly growing field, including Inflo, the financial DA software that is now embedding into ICAEW exams, Head of Products & Markets at AAT, Cambridge Judge Business School, GenerationCFO, and representatives from the awarding bodies AAT, ACCA, CIMA and ICAEW.
Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Workplace
This forum discussed the importance of diversity in the workplace for employers as well as what businesses can be doing to improve EDI. Embracing diversity and inclusion, and providing equality goes a long way in promoting a work culture that values talent beyond stereotypes. Moreover, an inclusive workplace fosters better productivity and efficiency, improves retention of staff, and can act as a major attraction during recruitment.
Guest panellists included Richard DeNetto, Associate Director at CBI and Campaign Lead for Change the Race Ratio, Sharon Critchlow FCCA, APFS, Chartered MCSI, FRSA, Wellbeing and Emotional Intelligence Evangelist and Trainer, Rachel Blackburn MBA, Executive Coach at US2U Consulting, and Representatives from the awarding bodies AAT, ACCA, CIMA and ICAEW.
Onboarding the ‘COVID Generation’
Onboarding the COVID Generation follows on from our session looking at recruitment of the COVID generation. This forum explored the additional support that employers and training providers should offer to new hires affected by the pandemic. This is to ensure new starters transition smoothly into the workplace and are provided with the support they need to start a successful career, following months of increased isolation and lack of skill-building opportunities.
Guest panellists included Anne Bailey, CEO and Co-founder of Form the Future CIC, Debbie Longhurst, Business & Education Development Manager at Growth Works with Skills, Sean Allison, Managing Director at Not Going To Uni, and representatives from the awarding bodies AAT, ACCA, CIMA and ICAEW.
Retaining and Attracting Qualified Staff
Businesses are currently facing a shortage of qualified and experienced accountants as it is proving hard to retain and attract them. There are increasing incidences of competitors poaching staff, sometimes even before they are qualified, as well as upward pressure on salaries. Gareth John hosts a discussion to examine the approaches employers can use to keep staff engaged and loyal when they qualify. As well as how to be appealing to experienced candidates in the marketplace looking for their next role.
Guest panellists included David Culley, Director at Pure Resourcing Solutions, C-J Green, Co-founder and Executive Director of BraveGoose, Katherine Wiid, Recruitment Retention Coach at Recrion, Frances Hall, Director at Corbar Consulting, Crystal Haygreen, Director of Post-Qualification Education at First Intuition, Chris Argent, Founder of GenerationCFO, Alex Bond Burnett, Founder and Lead Executive Performance Coach at Speaking Ambition and representatives from the awarding bodies AAT, ACCA, and ICAEW.
2020 FITT Forums
You can find a full archive of valuable insight from 2020’s First Intuition Think Tank forums here. Many of the discussions held last year are every bit as relevant now.