Business leaders urged to ‘inspire and collaborate’

Dignitaries including Simon Holdsworth (left), Andy Green (second left), Jonathan Snary (third left) and ICAEW President Paul Aplin (centre)


Business leaders across the South West have a responsibility to inspire the next generation of accountants, lawyers, financial directors and referrers, according to Thrings’ managing partner, Simon Holdsworth.

In a speech to the ICAEW, he also called on the business community to work together to respond to opportunities and challenges presented by the changing political and economic climate in order to maximise commercial opportunities and meet clients’ business needs.

Holdsworth was speaking to more than 400 accountants, professional services advisers and members of the regional business community at Thursday’s annual dinner hosted by ICAEW West of England, which represents business finance professionals.

The event – which took place at Bristol’s Ashton Gate conference centre and included a keynote speech by Guardian columnist Guy Browning – was also attended by members of the Bloodhound SCC project team, whose car is aiming to break the 1,000mph barrier and set a new world land speed.

Earlier in the day, representatives from dinner sponsors Thrings and Brunel Professions joined ICAEW West of England president, Jonathan Snary, and ICAEW committee member, Rick Sturge, at Hambrook Primary School, where Bloodhound driver, Andy Green, spoke to a group of key stage 2 pupils about his team’s historic record attempt.

Over the past couple of years, the Bloodhound Education Project has engaged directly with a 130,000 schoolchildren across the UK. One of its aims is to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians by encouraging them to engage more with these subjects at school.

Andy Green with pupils at Hambrook Primary School


Drawing parallels with the professional services community, Holdsworth said: “While our own organisations might not deal in jet and rocket-powered cars, we, as employers and business leaders in the financial services and legal services arena, have a responsibility to follow Andy’s lead and inspire our own teams.

“The success of Bloodhound’s record attempt hinges on the hard work and commitment of a number of talented people, including many from the South West. Our region is rich in talent and innovation, and it’s our duty to enthuse, motivate and harness the skills and talents of our young people who are the leading entrepreneurs, accountants and lawyers of tomorrow.”

Turning his attention to broader issues, Holdsworth said: “The pace of political and economic change in this country – against the backdrop of Brexit - seems to be higher than ever. And nowhere is this more the case than in the financial services and legal sectors, where change is being driven by advances in technology, competition between firms, reporting and changing client needs.

“Brexit, general elections and the actions of overseas governments are outside of our control, but the onus remains on the business community to react, adapt and respond to challenges in order to maximise commercial opportunities and meet clients’ business needs.

“Collaboration between the legal and financial services communities is also arguably more important than ever. It is essential that we all continue contributing to, and strengthening, the South West economy while inspiring and propelling the next generation towards successful and rewarding careers.”

During his address, Jonathan Snary encouraged guests to support Bloodhound. He said: “Our annual dinner is a fantastic celebration and provides attendees with the opportunity to share best practice. We always raise funds at the event to make a difference to local charitable or not-for-profit organisations.

“Talent and inspiring young people have been key themes throughout my year as president, and I’m delighted to get behind Bloodhound and the work it is doing with young people.”

Thrings, which was sponsoring the ICAEW West of England dinner for the twelfth consecutive year, was also represented by partners Warren Reid, Kerrie Hunt, Alastair Govier, John Richardson, Elaine Meyrick, Simon Hore and Robert Barnes, and Lucia Fellino, the firm’s finance director.

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