Somerset chartered accountant Paul Aplin is the new president of ICAEW (the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales), a position he will hold for the next 12 months.
During that time, Aplin, who is a tax partner with AC Mole & Sons based in Taunton, intends to focus on improving access to the accountancy profession for people of ability, regardless of background.
“We need to recruit the best, irrespective of background, irrespective of school, irrespective of everything except talent, potential and attitude,” he said. “I want us to probe the barriers too many still perceive as blocking their path to the profession.”
The campaign is especially close to his own heart, having failed his 11+. He went to a secondary modern school that became a comprehensive, enabling him to sit GCEs and eventually go to university to read biology and chemistry. He joined AC Mole & Sons in 1980 and qualified as a chartered accountant in 1985; he qualified as a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation in 1989 and became the firm’s first tax partner in 1992.
Aplin has challenged his fellow chartered accountants to help ten young people from diverse backgrounds into the profession. The first, Khadijah, a student from Ghana, has been helped by the ICAEW Foundation on her way to getting a 2:1 in accountancy at university. Previously she worked on a building site carrying buckets of cement.
He will also focus on embracing digital technology and reinforcing the idea of a connected global community of chartered accountants during his year as president and will be travelling widely to promote the ICAEW as an international organisation. His first overseas trip will be to Malaysia later this month.
Paul Aplin joined ICAEW’s Tax Faculty committee in 2001 and has served as its chairman and chair of its technical committee. He was named Tax Personality of the Year in the 2007 UK Tax Awards for the part he played in persuading the government to reverse its decision to shorten the tax return filing deadline. In 2009 he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for public service and services to the accountancy profession.
In the 2013 British Accountancy Awards he received the Outstanding Industry Contribution Award and has been included for the last five years in the Accountancy Age Financial Power List of people who influence tax and financial policy in the UK.
Away from the office he is a keen hill walker, climber and photographer. At home on the Somerset Levels he and his wife Sharon keep ducks and enjoy walking their border collie.