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ICAEW Thought Leadership

ICAEW Thought Leadership Programmes seek to provide clarity, insight, and direction on the current and future challenges to the accountancy profession.


Artificial intelligence and the future of accountancy

Learn about the impact of artificial intelligence and the opportunities it presents for the accountancy profession

Acting in the public interest: a framework for analysis

Exciting new analysis of the issues around acting in the public interest.


Blockchain and the future of accountancy

What is Blockchain, its likely impact on business, and in particular on the accounting profession?

Business and economic crime in an international context

A review of international law and practice in relation to crime committed by or on behalf of business.

Big data and analytics: What's new?

Big data is creating many opportunities for businesses to derive greater insight from data, predict future outcomes more accurately and automate non-routine tasks. But the use of big data and analytics needs to be appropriate and subject to robust challenge. As a result, it’s important to build our understanding around what big data means, and this short report aims to inform decision makers in business and government about the opportunities and risks in this area.

BPM report: working with tensions

Business Performance Management Report 2 -- working with tensions

Business rates - demolish, maintain, rebuild or refurbish?

This thought leadership report explores why business rates in the UK have become controversial and how the system could be reformed. Business rates do not scale with ability to pay, are concentrated in particular sectors, and the complexity and cost of navigating system is a major burden for business. It is time for a new deal and this publication considers the options for reform.


Coping with the substantial gap in cyber security

This is the fifth in the series of Audit insights: cyber security reports. It focuses on the substantial gap in cyber security maturity levels caused by complex legacy IT environments and how business needs to adopt a smarter approach to cyber security laws and standards.

CFO and strategy the nature of strategy

In CFO and strategy - the nature of strategy we suggest how CFOs can explore the nature of strategy as a first step in supporting CFOs in their strategic role.

Culture and purpose in financial services

Following the 2008 global financial crisis, the financial services industry has come under intense scrutiny. Firms need to boost trust, create socially responsible products and prevent future financial crises. In its latest publication, Culture and purpose in financial services, the Financial Services Faculty recommends actions that the industry, boards and ICAEW Chartered Accountants should be taking



Effects of Mandatory IFRS Adoption in the EU: a review of empirical research

In this report we summarise the findings of about 200 research papers on the effects of mandatory IFRS adoption in the EU. It is intended to assist interested parties in the debate on the future of IFRS in the EU, by looking at what we can learn from empirical academic research on the costs and benefits of its implementation to date. It also provides a case study of the challenges involved in using empirical research to review the effects of major policy changes.


Finance Function: a framework for analysis

Building effective finance functions is a key concern of organisations and finance professionals. This report provides a foundation for considering the key challenges and a reference source for those analysing or researching the role of the finance function.

Finance business partnering - a guide

This report provides practical advice for those considering business partnering initiatives and those looking to improve their approach.


Growth, development and accounting

This report explores the role of accounting in promoting economic growth. It considers how this role has evolved and what lessons there are for the future.


How charities can demonstrate positive impact

Audit insights: charities sets out a series of recommendations to help charities demonstrate their positive impact and become more resilient.

How to end excessive pay

Our first application of the Connect and Reflect approach looks at how organisations can tackle excessive executive pay. It requires connecting with the public on pay, reflecting on what is said and taking action if it is required. In this paper we examine the challenges and provide a 10-step action plan to support boards in their approach to remuneration of executives.

How employee directors add value

In this Connect and Reflect report, ICAEW urges boards to consider the value that employee directors can bring to their organisation. The publication explains the role and responsibilities of employee directors and outlines a five-point action plan that should enable boards to take this step to improve their corporate governance.


Is the investment management industry fit for purpose?

More than half of people aged 21–30 have no pension or make minimum contributions. Despite this, investment managers are not successfully encouraging people to save. Here, auditors and ICAEW specialist staff explore whether the investment management industry is fit for purpose and identify what changes need to be made.





Measurement in financial reporting

This report argues that the purposes of financial reporting depend on its institutional context and that this context also affects the costs and benefits of different measurement bases. It proposes that decisions on the regulation of financial reporting measurement should be regarded as matters of public policy, should be subject to the overriding tests of cost-effectiveness and fitness for purpose, and should be subject to the same principles of good regulatory practice as other forms of regulation.

Moving to IFRS reporting: seven lessons learned from the European experience

The report aims to provide practical insights and recommendations for policy-makers, regulators, standard-setters and other interested parties in jurisdictions that have recently adopted IFRS, or are considering introducing or extending the application of IFRS reporting.




Providing leadership in a digital world

Digital technology is transforming businesses, economies and societies. The digital infrastructure is a powerful democratising force, providing access to networks and markets for many more people and businesses around the world. The nature of work is changing, as software increasingly automates tasks, freeing up people to create novel types of value. Innovative business models are emerging based on platforms and ideas of a sharing economy.



Real integrity report

Practical solutions for organisations seeking to promote and encourage integrity. This research report looks at the meaning of integrity and how it can be promoted in organisations.


SME Accounting Requirements final

In this short report we look at the costs and benefits of regulating SMEs’ financial reporting, at why SMEs may require a different regime from other businesses, and at what research can tell us about these questions. We conclude that the evidence available to date is insufficient to develop policies that are soundly based, and that a substantial programme of research is needed.

Spreadsheet competency framework

What does ‘proficient’ really mean when it comes to spreadsheets? Our framework provides a simple way to compare spreadsheet users' skills. Managers can use the framework to assess the skills necessary for different roles, while users will find it helpful in assessing their own spreadsheet competency and identifying knowledge gaps.