Members of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) were among a Birmingham audience of business leaders to hear Lord Digby Jones give his expert opinions on what Britain must do in the changing global landscape.
The event, organised by CIMA and held at Birmingham’s Council House, was an opportunity for local management accountants to consider how a variety of challenges facing the business world, such as technological, financial or political, can be countered, and opportunities maximised.
CIMA has over 6,000 members throughout the West Midlands, supporting some of the top regional firms, large and small, and the public sector.
Digby Jones, Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment in 2007-08, was Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) 2000-06 and has a long career in business.
He gave an entertaining view of the current political landscape in the UK, and what the country needs to do to ensure it not only survives challenges and threats, but also makes the most of opportunities, which reinforced the education and training work CIMA is doing to keep its membership ready for business in 2017 and beyond.
With anecdotes from encounters with TV’s Jeremy Paxman and his time in the Navy and his life in Birmingham, Lord Jones looked at why the world is experiencing such disruption, and the importance of good leadership to ensure the UK can compete and thrive.
Paul Hopper-Keeley FCMA, CIMA Chairman for the West Midlands, said: “It was great to hear Lord Jones’ views on the challenges business faces – a timely reminder the world is changing, and how management accountants play a crucial role in driving organisations through these extraordinary times.
“Digby has a history of being passionate about business in the UK, and in particular in the West Midlands, where he grew up, and this passion was self-evident in his superb keynote address.”
Lord Jones said: “Business has to do everything to build wealth, but also to ensure that the whole of society is taken with it – putting business on the side of people who feel that it has passed them by.”
Acknowledging that “the mood music is against business,” he also said that “business was responsible for giving people hope, self-respect and self-esteem.”
After the talk, there was an opportunity for attendees to question Lord Jones on his views, and then to network with fellow senior business people from across the West Midlands.
The evening event was held in association with accounting and advisory firm Moore Stephens and HSBC Corporate Banking.