Political parties: ACCA at party conferences

ACCA represented members and students at the 2015 party conferences


Another year, another conference season - this year to sunny Brighton for Labour and the 'northern powerhouse', Manchester, for the Conservatives.

As the mix of politicians, journalists, business representatives and the lobby headed off, several of ACCA’s team were there to represent our member and student views.

This year, ACCA held a joint business reception with the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors, British Chambers of Commerce, EEF, ICAEW and The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed.

Kinder politics

At the Labour conference, the newly appointed shadow first secretary of state and shadow secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, Angela Eagle MP, talked about her desire for business to be part of the policy conversation in the coming months and talked about the need for a new, kinder politics.

Further engagement at the Labour conference included a private dinner on pensions supported by Aviva with Alison McGovern MP and a PwC event on fiscal responsibilities with Rebecca Long Bailey MP, shadow exchequer to the Treasury.

These events offered ACCA the opportunity to highlight our position on pensions and our policies on tax: both areas where we will continue to engage with Labour in the coming months.

Long-term economic growth

Straight after Brighton, ACCA went to Manchester for the Conservatives' conference. Again we hosted a joint business reception, this time with the guest speaker being the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne MP (pictured at ACCA's stand), who offered words of thanks for the continued support of the business community.

The chancellor welcomed the contributions of all the organisations – including ACCA – and their commitment to working with the government to build long-term economic growth.

Again at the Conservative conference, ACCA was represented at private dinners on pensions with David Rutley MP, parliamentary private secretary to Iain Duncan Smith, secretary of state for work and pensions, and an event on tax with Greg Hands MP, chief secretary to the Treasury.

We also attended a further two events on the rising phenomenon of the self-employed with David Morris MP, Peter Aldous MP and Charlie Elphicke MP.

Trusted advisers

ACCA was of course quick to point to the fact that accountants are consistently rated as the most trusted advisers by SMES, and colleagues highlighted the advisory role that our members play in supporting the self-employed.

While approaching the issues from different angles, both conferences had lots of events on devolution, public sector reform, Europe, skills and the economy.

New relationship

With the Spending Review set for 25 November, much of the chatter was around what would stay and what would go, with some departments facing cuts of up to 40%.

Many MPs discussed the need for a new relationship with the private sector and the role that public procurement can play in shaping this.

As we’ve seen with the government’s approach to the living wage and apprenticeships, we expect to see more use of procurement as a model for getting business to behave in a certain way, and there is certainly a growing recognition that the relationship between business and government is changing.

Intangibles and innovation

Arguably one of the most forward-looking events was held by the Big Innovation Centre, designed to bring together business, public agencies and universities, and which hosted events on intangible assets and intellectual property - an area of particular interest to ACCA UK.

With studies suggesting that up to 80% of a listed company’s share price is no longer supported by the presence of tangible assets on their balance sheets, ACCA has been conducting work into how SMEs can account for and understand the effect that their intangibles and innovation is having on their business. Our Malaysian pilot is already available to download but do keep your eyes open for our UK study.

If you would like more information on any of the above or our government engagement programme, please contact rosalind.goates@accaglobal.com.