Ian McBane is the National Head of the Technology, Media and Telecoms sector, BDO UK
My parents set me on the path by choosing GCSE economics for me, even though I didn’t really know what it was at the time! It turned out I loved it and became interested in all things business.
I initially decided to work in practice because of the continuous learning and training element. There are many reasons why I have stayed: I’ve worked in different disciplines and with different businesses and people, from start-ups to multinationals across a range of sectors. With the world constantly changing, helping businesses adapt and solve challenges has kept the practice environment extremely varied, interesting and rewarding.
"We need to embrace technology and become value creators and trusted business advisers"
I worked in Australia at a fairly early stage of my career, which was a defining experience. It allowed me to travel and work across South-East Asia over a two-year stint, building experience and connections, and broadening my horizons. ACCA was a door-opener for me from that perspective.
One of the achievements I’m most proud of was attending Harvard Business School and participating in their executive leadership programme – especially given that I didn’t attend university. It has also been great to have the opportunity to present at conferences around the world, from Beirut to Las Vegas.
"I want to keep challenging the team, and to include people with different ideas and ways of thinking"
I firmly believe that technology is transforming the role of today’s finance functions. Technology is enabling businesses to collect, process, report and analyse data much more effectively through automation.
Accountants today are under pressure to evolve in order to stay relevant. With many traditional accounting tasks being automated, we need to embrace technology and become value creators and trusted business advisers. Having the power to forecast and carry out scenario planning using artificial intelligence means finance teams can facilitate greater understanding and insights, building resilience into business planning for the future.
Alongside technical and digital skills, future accountants need people skills – after all - being able to communicate and support clients and teams through the good times and the difficult ones too, is a vital part of the job.
Looking ahead, I’m keen to support the team to fulfil their potential, and nurture the future leaders of the accountancy profession. Diversity of thought is critical. I want to keep building and challenging the team, and to include people with different ideas.