The accountancy profession in the UK has come together to launch a new, ambitious social mobility drive designed to provide greater opportunities to talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds across the country. The scheme, Access Accountancy (#AccessAccountancy), will be formally launched at a school in inner city London on 2 April and has the backing of the Chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, Alan Milburn.
Recognising that more needs to be done to improve access to the profession, manyaccountancy firms and the professional bodies have come together to agree a range of targets and measures to significantly increase opportunities for young people from all backgrounds in the UK.
A number of firms have signed up to the commitments as well as the major accountancy bodies. Founding partners include:
AAT, ACCA, Baker Tilly, BDO, Blick Rothenberg, Buzzacott, CIMA, Deloitte, Duncan & Toplis, EY, Grant Thornton, ICAEW, Kingston Smith, KPMG, Mazars, MHA MacIntyre Hudson, National Audit Office, PKF Littlejohn, Price Bailey, PwC and Reeves.
Other firms and professional accountancy bodies are committed in principle, including ICAS.
Commenting on the initiative, Alan Milburn said: “It is welcome that the accountancy profession is taking action to improve social mobility. I hope these measures will lead to significant progress in widening access to the profession, and inspire thousands of young people who might have thought accountancy was out of their reach to investigate the opportunities available. These welcome steps need to be taken further and faster by the whole industry.”
Marianne Fallon, Head of Corporate Affairs at KPMG, who first initiated the scheme along with the ICAEW, said: “There is no doubt that we all need to do more to provide entry routes into the profession for a wider range of talented young people. We are very excited about this programme and believe that it will make a real and lasting difference. We want the accountancy profession to reflect the society it serves. Access Accountancy is about opening the door to anyone who has the potential, the talent and the desire to succeed, whatever their background.”
Information about the scheme will be available at the new website www.accessaccountancy.org, from 2 April, where further updates will be posted as the programme develops.
The launch event on Wednesday 2 April will be held at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson secondary school, a large state school for girls in Angel, Islington in London. Partners from many of the firms will attend.
James Turner, Director of Programmes at The Sutton Trust, commented: “We are delighted that the profession has come together to agree these targets and to work collectively to widen access to the sector. This programme should provide a base for real progress. I hope that more firms, whatever their size, will sign up to the scheme and commit to taking on work placement students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to work in accountancy.”
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Mike Petrook, KPMG Press Office
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KPMG Press Office: +44 (0) 207 694 8773
Notes to Editors
Other firms, including ICAS, have expressed their commitment to the project. Further details will be released as it expands.
Access Accountancy is a new social mobility initiative driven by professional bodies and firms across the UK accountancy profession. It has been established to help talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds gain access to accountancy firms. The voluntary initiative will also involve gathering detailed socio-economic data during mainstream recruitment, a schools outreach programme to help young people understand routes into the profession and tailored practical experiences of work. Signatories to Access Accountancy (www.accessaccountancy.org) have committed to providing 3750 work experience placements over the next 5 years.
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.