Blog – Jamie Hunt, ACCA

Accountants and barristers working together for a brighter future

pastedGraphic.png

Jamie Hunt, Case Presentation Manager at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) offers some insight on working for a leading international accountancy body. 

ACCA is rapidly growing across the globe; we now have approximately 187,650 members, 48,800 affiliates, 440,952 students and a presence in 182 countries. ACCA has just celebrated its most successful year to date and the next three years will offer new challenges for our organisation. Certainly in our view, the world is becoming smaller day-by-day and therefore, the Case Presentation Team is striving to become more sensitive to the challenges emanating from the different cultural and ethnic landscapes of the many countries where ACCA operates.

After commencing my role as Case Presentation Manager in September 2015, the Case Presentation Team has grown; we now have a team consisting of five barristers and one solicitor who provide effective representation before ACCA’s Disciplinary and Regulatory Committees in line with our regulations and procedures. Our role is extremely varied and every day offers a new challenge. For example, we could be tasked with providing advice to the Executive Director regarding regulatory compliance issues for ACCA members in Hong Kong or drafting amendments to the Disciplinary, Authorisation, Appeals Regulations and ACCA Rulebook, which is enforced across ACCA on an international scale and covers ACCA’s complaints and disciplinary process as well as specific aspects of audit regulation.

Each member of the Case Presentation Team has extensive knowledge of financial regulation and carries out a vital and diverse role. On a daily basis, the team advise and provide guidance to ACCA with regards to the investigation of complaints against students, affiliates, members and firms. When in hearings, the team will also present cases before the Disciplinary, Interim Orders, Admissions and Licensing and Appeal Committees. The barristers usually present cases while acting alone; however they will also appear as led juniors in our most high profile or complex cases before ACCA Committees and the High Court.

Each barrister within the team has been authorised to conduct litigation by the Bar Standards Board and the majority of the claims for judicial review and other forms of litigation against ACCA are defended in-house by the Case Presentation Team. The barristers are additionally responsible for providing specialist accredited legal training in the form of lectures and seminars across ACCA on a global scale.

The skills and values brought by each member of the team are invaluable to ACCA, they all play a critical and vital role in assisting ACCA deliver its strategic priorities. The team is always keen to identify new opportunities and assist with creating a narrative for ACCA’s regulatory landscape. Each member of the team is committed and enthusiastic about working for ACCA as well as upholding the ethos of the employed Bar.

Practising as an employed barrister allows me to make a difference for ACCA and to provide value for our members, affiliates and students. Quite simply, no day is the same; working within ACCA offers a great deal of variety. I thrive on the new challenges brought from working in an international corporate body and particularly enjoy managing a team of skilled advocates.

But when asked about the future career progression for the Case Presentation Team, I am confronted by the difficult question: what progression does the employed Bar truly offer? Whilst the employed Bar offers career progression within your professional role, it still remains difficult for members of the employed Bar to pursue a judicial career or apply for Silk. The times seem to be changing, however at a terribly slow pace. In my view the Bar Council and the Inns could do more to raise awareness and provide additional support for employed barristers who are keen to apply for Silk or judicial positions. I actively encourage the barristers within my team to pursue a judicial career and remind them that career opportunities should not be limited to those within the organisation.

The pejorative stigma that once followed a barrister who left the self-employed Bar for the employed Bar no longer exists. Certainly in my view, the employed Bar offers a progressive future for many talented barristers. The wider legal profession has started to appreciate that members of the employed Bar are growing year on year. In short, whether practising at the employed or self-employed Bar, we are all barristers representing the interests of our client or in our case, our employer.

Jamie Hunt is Case Presentation Manager, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. The Case Presentation Team consists of Deborah Baljit, Sarah Cawley-Wilkinson, Samantha Hatt, Emily Healy, Mohammed Ismail and Leeann Mohamed.

Follow ACCA on Twitter @ACCANews