Technology is rapidly evolving, and AI is entirely transforming the way that we work, communicate, and interact with the world. The first ICAEW Annual Conference focuses on the increasing importance for accountants to adapt and keep up to speed with the latest technological advancements. This one-day conference will bring you the very latest from the best solution providers in the accounting and technological space, helping you to shape the future.
Inspiration - Leading speakers will provide you with insight and tangible advice on the latest technology trends.
Lead the way - Embrace lifelong learning and leverage important trends.
Future-proof career - Leverage new technical skills with eight hours of CPD.
Extensive networking - Grow your network by meeting with like-minded tech experts and stay ahead of trends.
Tech demos - Experience the latest in tech at our expo with partners waiting to demonstrate their latest innovations.
ICAEW’s CPD regulations are changing. From 1 November 2023, members and other professionals regulated by ICAEW will need to complete a minimum number of hours’ CPD per year, some of which will need to be verifiable. Attending events like this could contribute to eight hours of verifiable CPD, so long as you can demonstrate that the content is relevant to your role.
We recognise that your travel to this event will produce CO2 emissions, which is why we have committed to offset your journey by financing our chosen certified climate projects in areas where we can make the most impact, contributing to several of the UN SDGs. We are dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint and promoting sustainable development.
Should you experience any difficulties booking onto the event, please go to our events support page - how to book.
The opinions expressed by external guest speakers in interviews or other publications included on this website are, by their nature, those of the speaker. They are not necessarily fully endorsed by the ICAEW or purport to reflect the official policies and views of the ICAEW or its members.
Please note that the programme and timings are subject to change.
Welcome Refreshments & Registration
Iain Wright, Managing Director, Reputation & Influence, ICAEW
Chair's opening remarks
Zoe Kleinman, BBC Technology Editor
Keynote: Will Chat GPT take my job?Nir Evron, Global BlackBelt EMEA, Microsoft
The accountancy profession is often cited as one of the professions most at risk from the next generation of AI. Is this just fear mongering? Will new technologies such as ChatGPT really be the demise of the profession or just another string to our bow?
Working towards a net-zero futureNat Pullin, Sustainability Leader
To meet rising stakeholder demand and regulatory requirements finance leaders need to be upfront and transparent about how they are managing ESG risks, meeting goals, and integrating sustainability into strategy. Tech has become a major enabler in the world of ESG reporting with over 99% of public companies expecting to invest in ESG tech reporting tools in 2023.
More than ever finance professionals need better insights on how tech can help with ESG reporting, disclosures, corporate strategy and operational transformation. In this session we will explore through practical use cases how leading companies have been implementing AI powered analytics to provide decision makers and stakeholders with real time access to information on ESG performance.
Morning Refreshments & Exhibition Viewing
Session A: 11:30 - 12:00
Session B: 11:35 - 12:05
Headline Partner Session: Accounting for ESG: The where, when and what
Green Accounting – shaping the net zero pathwayLee Freeman, Carbon Solutions Consultant, AuditelIn today’s world, the urgency to adapt and respond to the global push towards sustainability is paramount. As stewards of financial integrity and business strategy, accountancy professionals have a huge role to play in crafting a greener tomorrow. This illuminating talk dives deep into the pivotal role that technology and data play in transitioning businesses and accounting practices towards a net zero future. This talk will not only inspire but also arm you with actionable insights to start and continue on your transition journey and to lead in the age of green accounting and shape the future, one ledger at a time.
12:05 - 12:10
Session A: 12:10 - 12:50
Session B: 12:15 - 12:55
Finance transformation in a digital world – the hype versus realityDavid Anderson, Partner, Deloitte
Over the last few years, we’ve been consistently told that the impact of digital was set to transform the way finance functions serve the business. Investment in technology by CFOs reached unprecedented levels on the promise of automated transaction processes with AI and analytics placing finance at the heart of decision making in the business.
The big question remains how much of the promised benefits and value creation has been realised? In this session we will explore use cases that will bring to life the realities of digital transformation for finance functions. In so doing we will learn the critical success criteria in the finance transformation journey and lessons learnt by CFOs.
How to get the most of your Cloud investments Will Farnell, App Advisory PlusThe accountancy profession is heavily invested in ‘the Cloud’, but often realising the benefits can be elusive. There is little doubt, however, that getting it right can transform the way you service your clients and grow and diversify your business.
Cloud computing can be confusing – the number and types of applications that are available are growing by the day. So how do you get the most out of your current services and how do you go about selecting the right cloud-based services for your business from the vast array of applications out there?
Lunch & exhibition viewing
Optional sponsored lunch sessions with seating (please register your interest at the time of booking)
13:00 - 13:30 A) Cloud Audit with CasewareOver the past few years, auditors have had to adapt their working methods to embrace remote working and promote effective team-client collaboration. Several firms have adopted cloud technology to promote a stronger and more streamlined approach to their audit production, however, there are still many firms who are reluctant to make the switch. This session will offer a deeper dive into how audit firms can thrive using cloud technology, what the remote working landscape currently looks like and how to deliver training and reviews virtually. We will also look at and discuss how cloud software can help firms enhance their cyber security and beat the skills shortage by encouraging new recruits and reducing staff turnover.
B) Digital transformation for accounting and finance – Driving adoption for future success with BlackLineThe human factor is often ignored when considering process and technology changes; however, people are a key element in driving the success of digital transformations. Nevertheless, accounting and finance professions have responsibilities here too: learn and embrace the technology as well as the new automated process. Seeing the big picture and how these changes will make them successful can be a challenge for those with the “if it's not broke, don’t fix it mentality”.
Session A: 13:50 - 14:20
Session B & C: 13:55 - 14:25
Driving digital transformation by connecting Close to ControlHugh O’Neill, Senior Sales Engineer, FloQast
Finance and accounting teams are focused on transforming their operations to deliver faster and more accurate financials in addition to the capture of controls to drive audit-readiness. In this session, you will learn why in spite of heavy investments in technology, over 51% of accounting teams say that they are in desperate need of modernisation across their Close processes. Companies that manage their control environment, either to mitigate the risk of fraud or for regulatory compliance, face a material impact on cost and resources. Join Hugh O’Neill, Senior Sales Engineer at FloQast (former Financial Director), as he discusses these challenges. Learn how transforming key areas with a Close, Connect and Control approach can drive measurable results in a quarter or less.
Forging a powerful partnership: Taking the pain out of automation and integrationMark Hollingworth, Head of Partnerships, Accounts IQ
In a landscape where 58% of accountants face manual task burdens, embracing this software solution becomes essential for growth. Partnering closely with firms and clients, AccountsIQ offers an integrated and scalable approach, going beyond mere product acquisition. Discover the untapped potential of financial management software with Mark Hollingworth, Head of Partnerships at AccountsIQ. In this session we’ll delve into automation, streamlined processes, enhanced efficiency, and improved decision-making to gain a competitive edge in the mid-tier market. Seize this opportunity for a brighter future and optimal financial management.
Discover Xero's App Store to help you and your clients thriveXero
Dive into Xero's App Store with a Xero Consultant and discover:
14:20/14:25 - 14:30
Session A: 14:30 - 15:00
Session B & C: 14:35 - 15:05
AI: from fantasy to realityRussell Gammon, Chief Solutions Officer, Tax Systems
2023 witnessed an unprecedented emergence of generative AI, notably chatGPT. Its capabilities extend beyond writing poems or songs, raising questions about its utility in practical fields like Taxation. To explore this, we've critically evaluated chatGPT's potential in handling VAT and Corporation Tax cases. The analysis revealed both its proficiency and its limitations, providing valuable insights for future tax strategies.
However, this technology brings inherent risks and uncertainties. It's essential to recognize and navigate these potential pitfalls carefully, and further investigation is crucial. The impact on tax practitioners can't be overlooked either. As we integrate this advanced technology, understanding its implications for those working in the industry becomes paramount to ensure effective usage and to mitigate potential disruptions.
Using technology to harness the growing potential of mid-market outsourcingPeter Hucker, CEO, Xledger
Peter will be discussing the growth of finance outsourcing in mid-market organisations along with Rob Howard from Accurise. During this session they will talk about the developing international trend towards mid-market outsourcing, the role technology plays, and the opportunity this creates for accounting practices and their clients. This session will also examine what data and technology needs mid-market clients most often have, how those needs differ from smaller clients, and why leveraging the right technology is a crucial component in meeting this demand.
The AI advantage: steps to future-proof your practiceTony Stevenson FCA, Senior Digital Enablement Manager, FreeAgent
With artificial intelligence (AI) emerging as a hot topic in the accounting industry, it’s vital to recognise the opportunities it presents, along with the potential pitfalls. Join FreeAgent’s Tony Stevenson FCA to get the real scoop on what’s happening and how you can lay the foundations to collaborate with AI technologies. He’ll discuss the current state of AI in the accounting industry; predictions on the practice of the future and how FreeAgent uses AI to enhance features with you and your clients in mind.
Afternoon Refreshments & Exhibition Viewing
Technology, audit quality and professional judgementFranki Hackett & Shamus Rae, Engine BTechnology is transforming the way auditing is conducted in terms of quality and effectiveness, providing deeper insights for the business to manage risk. AI powered data analytics elevates performance, provides greater value to the organisation, and increases the credibility of internal and external auditors with their stakeholders by providing them with a higher level of operational assurance.
However, technology is no replacement for the skills and informed judgement of a finance professional.
In this session we explore through the lens of auditors and audit committees, practical use cases of the technologies that are transforming the audit profession, the practical challenges in implementing these and the critical role for professional judgement in the era of AI.
16:10 - 16:15
Session A: 16:15 - 16:45
Session B: 16:15 - 16:45
Partner Session to be confirmed
Understand the benefits of a seamless audit workflow from a single solution
Keynote: Taking your Team on the Technology JourneySpeaker: Lola Abitogun, Founder, Alchemy HR
Technology has the power to transform the way we work and can have a significant impact on employee experience, employer brand, and employee retention. However, in order to realise these potential benefits, employees need to embrace the technology and the associated change.
In this session, Lola Abitogun will explore why technology is so important for employee experience, paying particular attention to younger workers entering the workforce and the implications of getting this right or wrong. The session will also provide a framework of how to take employees on a technology implementation journey with you, in a non-threatening way that encourages participation and increases your chances on success!
Chair's Closing Remarks
Zoe Kleinman, BBC Technology EditorZoe Kleinman is the BBC’s first ever Technology Editor, appointed to the role in 2021. With over 20 years broadcasting experience, Zoe has spent most of her career as a specialist presenter and reporter covering all areas of the tech agenda. She has also presented BBC Radio 4's PM Programme.
From gadgets and games to cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, she makes tech news accessible to a mainstream audience of millions across national and international BBC Radio, TV and online outlets including Radio 4’s Today programme, BBC World TV and the UK’s most watched news shows. Zoe has raced drones in the Nevada desert, taken a backseat drive in a driverless car, spent the night in a house full of robots and climbed Mount Everest in Virtual Reality.
She’s reported on Elon Musk’s controversial takeover at Twitter, the volatile world of cryptocurrency, the gender bias in Silicon Valley, Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, and her exclusive reports about the parents whose children accidentally spend thousands of pounds inside video and mobile games was discussed by politicians and led to a parliamentary committee hearing on gaming and gambling. Zoe’s wider journalistic skills are hugely respected across the BBC and in 2020 Zoe was asked to work as a senior journalist on the BBC News team covering the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lola Abitogun, Founder, Alchemy HRLola started her career as a Graduate Tax Advisor and went on to qualify as a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) and Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA) during her time at Deloitte. However, having discovered her passion for Human Resources (HR), in 2017, she made the decision to make a career change into HR. She quickly progressed in the HR space and in 2021, founded Alchemy HR, a boutique HR consultancy specialising in helping clients to build high performing HR teams. Her clients include some of the most impressive start-ups and scale-ups across crypto, marketing and fintech industries.
Lola also advises employers on how to attract the best young talent. This advice is often unpinned by her Masters degree dissertation research project which focussed on employer attractiveness to Gen Z employees.
Nir Evron, Sr. AI Speech, Language and Search Lead, Global Black Belt, EMEA, MicrosoftNir is passionate about data, and enjoys being able to help organisations digitally transform by utilising their data assets. Nir enjoys learning, thrives in complex environments and values building strategic plans and executing them. Nir believes that the age of data has only begun and is thrilled to be an active part of this revolution.
David Anderson, Partner, DeloitteDavid has spent his career working with CFOs and business leaders on finance and business transformation. His recent work has included leading the development of FinLearn, a digital platform that provides finance professionals with interactive learning based on Deloitte expertise and experience in the field of transformation. David lives in Windsor with his wife and two sons. In his spare time David enjoys running, cycling, paddle boarding and snowboarding.
Will Farnell, Founder of App Advisory PlusApp Advisory Plus is the UK's leading independent directory of accounting integrated apps and software platforms with a highly engaged audience of accountants and individuals who are looking to review and recommend accounting integrated apps and software platforms. Will is author of the Digital Firm, consultant and mentor to accounting firms looking to deliver effective digital transformation in their firms. A regular speaker in relation to how accounting firms can leverage technology to achieve practice growth and delivering consulting services to firms of accountants supporting them in becoming a digital practice
Lee Freeman, Carbon Solutions Consultant, AuditelLee is passionate about helping clients on their journey to Net Zero by reducing their carbon emissions and their costs at the same time by providing solutions which follow the BSI PAS 2060 standard. Lee qualified as a chartered accountant with one of the UK’s top 10 practices and has spent a number of years in various senior finance roles with a number of publicly quoted and privately owned organisations, both in the UK and overseas. This insight has provided first hand experience of the challenges that businesses face and has led to significant projects advising companies on how to improve their long term approach to carbon solutions and procurement. He is an associate consultant to the British Standards Institute (BSI Associate Consultant). Knowing he has made a difference to the organisations he works with by saving them time, money, stress and the PLANET is the greatest feeling he gets from business.
Russell Gammon, Chief Solutions Officer, Tax SystemsRussell is Tax Systems’ Chief Solutions Officer. He has 15 years’ experience in Tax Technology, having worked for two of the Big Four before joining Tax Systems. In his role as CSO he is passionate about building products that improve users' experiences.
Franki Hackett, Head of Audit and Ethics, Engine BHybrid audit and data science specialist (ACA) and leader on ethics and technology in professional services. Head of Audit Ethics at Engine B and school governor/charity trustee. Chairperson of the Data Analytics Community Group at ICAEW, member ICAEW Ethics Advisory Committee. Previously Visiting Fellow at Kings College London building an open data repository for corporate tax data. 2020/21 Policy Leader Fellowship at the European University Institute’s (EUI) School of Transnational Governance, focusing on tax transparency and international economic justice.
Mark Hollingworth, Head of Partnerships, Accounts IQMark has over 20 years’ experience advising accountants, professional services firms and high-growth companies on digital transformation and accounting software solutions.
Jack Holloway, Solutions Consulting & Revenue Operations Manager, Caseware Jack is a chartered accountant and qualified auditor. He began his career working for a Top 50 firm based in London before moving to a Top 6 firm in Manchester working on nationwide audits. After managing audit projects, Jack moved to industry working as a Financial Controller. Jack moved to Caseware's training team drawing on his extensive knowledge of the product gained in previous roles and now has a wide-arching role covering many areas including Solutions Consulting and Revenue Operations.
Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, Partner, MHAMark specialises in the rural business, agriculture, horticulture, food manufacture, education and healthcare industries as well as supporting organisations from a wide range of sectors to develop and deliver impactful sustainability and ESG strategies. As one of the authors of the firm's Dynamic ESG service suite, Mark is well placed to guide business leaders through the process of integrating environmental, social and governance considerations into their operations with an emphasis on measurable outcomes and ROI. Mark has worked in both the public sector and private enterprise, bringing a dedication and enthusiasm to the unique challenges each provides. With an auditor's eye for detail, he has become known for his sharp insights and capacity for business transformation.
Andrew Moyser, Partner and Vice Chairman, MHAAndrew is part of the Eastern Region team and specialises in audit, assurance and financial reporting. Andrew's portfolio includes a number of large international groups with listed parents, as well as UK owner managed businesses. Andrew has been at MHA since 2005 and is the firm’s Audit Compliance Partner and a member of the firm’s Audit Policy Group. In this role, Andrew ensures the firm’s audit quality as he reviews the firm’s high-profile clients and more complex audits. Andrew leads the firm’s audit innovation project – responsible for bringing Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence into our audit procedures.
Lee Northfield, Digital Transformation Consultant, XeroPrior to joining Xero Lee worked in practice as a Cloud Accountant for many years. Lee is now a Digital Transformation Consultant at Xero where he helps partners utilise and gain efficiencies using Xero.
Hugh O'Neill, Senior Sales Engineer, FloQastHugh trained as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in Dublin. He moved to London in 2011 and has worked in senior finance leadership roles across several industries including real estate and digital marketing before joining FloQast in the spring of 2021. He is currently the Senior Sales Engineer at FloQast.
Nat Pullin, Sustainability LeaderDuring her time at Microsoft she worked with global organisations to activate their cultural, business and sustainability transformation working on projects such as carbon accounting for assured data, net-zero measurement, water management and inclusive workplaces.
In this decade of action, Natalie believes that digital technology has a critical role to play in scaling impact as we broaden the breadth of data collected and move from disclosures to using sustainability data for business activities.
Shamus Rae, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, Engine BPrior to the birth of Engine B, Shamus spent 13 years at KPMG as a Partner and Head of Innovation. His work concentrated on new and disruptive technologies and their impact on the Professional Services industry. Shamus is committed to revolutionising the way companies work and his people-focused values are paving the way for a new generation of responsible leadership. A dedicated change-maker and highly respected industry voice, Shamus is now exclusively focused on leveraging AI and data to transform organisations.
Tony Stevenson FCA, Senior Digital Enablement Manager, FreeAgentTony is the Senior Digital Enablement Manager at award-winning cloud accounting software provider FreeAgent, where he is engaged in implementation, industry thought leadership and working with our integration partners. Tony is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales.
Iain Wright, Managing Director, Reputation & Influence, ICAEWIain started his career as a chartered accountant with Deloitte before moving to One North East, the regional development agency for the North East of England. In 2004 he became Labour Member of Parliament for Hartlepool, having succeeded Peter Mandelson in a by-election. During his time in Parliament Iain was a Minister in Gordon Brown’s Government, first as Minister for Housing and Planning at the Department for Communities and Local Government between 2007 and 2009 and then as Minister for Schools and Apprenticeships in the Department for Children, Schools and Families from 2009 until 2010.
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