Sir David Tweedie takes up president role with accountancy body ICAS


SIR David Tweedie is to become the next President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

Sir David, who is regarded as one of the world’s most influential accountants, takes up the role on April 20.

As former chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the UK Accounting Standards Board (ASB), Sir David spearheaded a two-decade long overhaul of UK and global accounting standards.

With the goal of creating a universally comparable accounting language, he led the adoption of international financial reporting standards (IFRS) into over 100 countries around the world.

As President of ICAS he is set to continue his quest to improve financial reporting, as part of a wider remit of building a professional community of ICAS members and contributing to the development of the profession worldwide.

Commenting on the financial landscape, Sir David Tweedie said: “Lessons in all quarters are being learnt from the global financial crisis.  There is work to be done in restoring confidence and trust in business and in the profession – including preparers of financial statements and auditors.  Increased transparency and clearer communication will be pivotal to this.

“The status quo is not an option but it should be a matter of natural evolution not revolution.  As we continue to shine a light into the debate it should result in more of the good and detailed work of the auditor being reported to the true clients – shareholders and investors; more useful financial reporting and communication which tells the full story of a business and reflects economic reality; and regulators and auditors working more closely together.

“In the midst of all this we must not forget the voice of the smaller companies.  Small audits are different.  Accountants have an even more important business advisor role to play in this case.”

Following the onset of the financial crisis, Sir David believes the need for well-written principles-based accounting standards is of more importance.  “Ultimately it should reduce the cost of capital”, he said.  “Studies have shown that in Europe IFRS has reduced it by 47 basis points.  That is a huge amount and the more that can be done, the more you end up with investment and growth.  We are talking macro-economics with a global effect.”


After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with ICAS and his later work as lecturer, David Tweedie returned to the Institute as a technical director in 1978.

“When I started my accountancy career in the ‘70s, values and ethics were dripped onto me”, he explained.  “Under today’s spotlight that tone at the top needs to be even more visibly evident; with values and integrity literally dripping through an organisation.  Organisations and individuals that push ethical considerations to the heart of their strategies will stand a better chance of sustaining success over the long term.”

During his one-year tenure as President he is keen to work with ICAS on its focus to open up access to the profession, ensuring ICAS members give back to society and act in the public interest.

ICAS’ Chief Executive Anton Colella commented:  “In a changing society, we are opening up new routes to becoming a chartered accountant.  David shares ICAS’ passion to increase opportunities for young talent. In his words we are responsible for passing down an inheritance to the new generation.

“It is an interesting and pivotal time for accountancy and the business markets. ICAS continues to work on behalf of its global membership to advance the development and thinking within the profession. There is no doubt that David is one of the most influential accountants and global leaders.  We are proud to be working with him to continue our efforts.”

Sir David Tweedie succeeds Iain McLaren.  He is joined by Vice Presidents Brendan Nelson, a non-executive director at RBS and BP, and Jann Brown of Cairn Energy.


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