Planning Your Career Journey Event – Sustainability & The Future of Finance

Following our most recent Planning Your Career Journey event in Glasgow – “Sustainability & The Future of Finance” – featuring senior finance professionals from ICAS & Aggreko, Consultant, Harry Young shares some insights and top tips from the event.

On Thursday 22nd June, Rutherford Cross held its latest Planning Your Career Journey event in Glasgow, featuring Chris Barber – CFO of ICAS, Kyle Hill – Head of Treasury at Aggreko and Dawn Demellweek – Director of ESG at Aggreko. Sustainability and ESG are hugely important and topical subjects and we were delighted to facilitate such an important and insightful conversation. The speakers on the night were all excellent and it was pleasing to see such a busy and diverse audience, with individuals who are currently studying for professional qualifications, all the way through to senior leaders seeking to upskill their knowledge on Sustainability and ESG.

Chris spoke first and my key takeaway from his presentation was that as an Accountant change is coming; it might not be here yet, but it is coming and very soon it will impact you. In particular, changes to financial reporting standards are coming, and from 2024 these will include standards around sustainability, so finance professionals will need to be prepared for this.

It was interesting to hear what this means from a macroeconomic perspective and how different countries will be approaching sustainability reporting, as well as what ICAS’ position is and how they are changing their curriculum going forward to align more with this focus on sustainability Chris also provided the audience with some insight into his career journey and what factors influenced his decisions, allowing him to progress his career and achieve his ambitions.

Dawn presented next and it was fascinating to hear what a circa £2 billion+ global business, headquartered in Scotland, is doing from an ESG perspective. Given Aggreko is in the temporary power generation business, you wouldn’t immediately assume they have an ESG focus, but Dawn talked us through Aggreko’s plan to be net-zero emissions from their facilities and operations by 2035, and the plans for a 30% reduction in the intensity of emissions from their solutions by 2030. It isn’t an understatement to say that from an ESG perspective, Aggreko is leading from the front and as a recruiter, I was particularly interested to hear how sustainability & ESG filters down to how they treat their employees.

Kyle concluded our presentations and shared his experience of building a career in finance at Aggreko. Kyle has spent 11 years at Aggreko starting in an ICAS Tops scheme and progressed to Head of Treasury at a relatively tender age. He shared several useful tips with the audience, and it was hugely insightful to hear in detail about the decisions that have helped him accelerate his career and the thought processes behind them. After speaking with the audience afterwards, it was clear that those currently going through ICAS study took a great deal from his insights and experiences, and we can all appreciate his mantra that we should all make sure to ‘enjoy our journey’.

All our speakers on the night were hugely insightful, coming from different backgrounds and at different stages of their careers. They all agreed that change is coming; new FRS are coming, businesses are going to be held to a higher standard, and as an accountant your role will change as AI and Automation eat up traditional finance tasks.

Sustainability is more important than ever as we seek to fight against the climate crisis. Sustainability reporting and an increased focus on ESG are coming for all businesses. Developing a robust ESG framework goes beyond emissions, filtering all the way down to how you treat the people in your business.

Many thanks again to our speakers on the night and to our audience for taking time out of their Thursday evening to attend – we are already looking forward to the next one!

If you would like to attend future Rutherford Cross events, or you are interested in taking part as a guest speaker, please get in touch: [email protected]