There’s a job you can do that’s as broad as CEO

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Trustees in Council are responsible for overseeing AAT’s operations. Are you up to the challenge?

You may not think the role of CEO is something you are qualified or equipped to carry out at this point in your career. But you may be surprised to learn there’s an exciting role you could fulfil in a matter of months that has a similar breadth of oversight and responsibility. 

We’re referring to standing for election to AAT Council to act as a trustee.

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“Aside from the role of the CEO, I can’t think of another job that involves such a range of responsibilities”, says Sarah Beale MAAT, AAT’s own CEO.

“Trustees look at every single initiative, and make sure they align to our priorities, our values and ask, ultimately, are they good value for money?” she explains.

Joining Council is a challenge because you’re forced to make yourself think in a “much bigger way”, confirms Lucy Cohen FMAAT, who joined Council in 2022. “You’re not just thinking about your own business, your own goals, you’re thinking about the greater goals of an organisation and how that’s going to affect learners and fellow AAT members. As a business owner myself, it’s been fascinating for me to learn how other organisations handle their corporate governance, their budgets, their reporting.”

Council’s responsibility

“Council is ultimately responsible for the strategic direction of AAT”, explains Andy Murray FMAAT, who in 2020 became the youngest Council member at the age of 27. He notes Council has responsibility for governance, meeting charitable objectives and working in the public interest. 

“I served on the management board and we were very involved in setting that vision in collaboration with the executive team. That became Securing Future Relevance, and it was really rewarding to be part of that.”

Could it be you?

AAT is keen to invite as diverse a range of people as possible to help guide it into this new era by putting themselves forward for election, bringing with them their skills, insights and experiences, as well as contributing and challenging ideas.

“We would like people of all ages and all backgrounds,” says Murray. “That only adds to the diversity of Council, which is absolutely what we need.”

Not only that, but 2022 saw the highest number of applications made by members to join Council, and AAT is keen to see a repeat this year.

What does it do for candidates?

While trustees are volunteers, for members joining Council there are significant professional benefits, especially in setting them up for future roles, including at board level.

“Council deals with such a variety of different things, and it really equips you to do that. It could be you’re talking about the pension scheme, and shortly after, your focus turns to the provision of CPD”, explains Becky Glover FMAAT, who is finance director at VNC Automotive and joined Council in 2022.

It’s that broad view over the entirety of AAT’s operations that members are unlikely to find elsewhere, Glover says. Not only that, she emphasises, but Council is drawn from a wide range of members, which means the body, covers a wide range of expertise, such as business owners from a variety of sectors.

What do candidates need?

Members considering putting themselves forward for election should, naturally, bring something to the group. The role of a trustee is a serious one with significant responsibility. 

“Treat it like a job interview”, Murray advises. “You need an inquisitive nature. It’s not our job to give the executive a hard time for doing something. We need to understand the thought process.”

“You’ve got to be yourself”, says Francesca Tricario FMAAT, co-founder of Future Cloud Accounting, who also joined Council in 2022. “It’s important to be a good communicator and collaborate with others.” 

Council: the Presidents’ pathway

Current AAT President Christina Earls FMAAT has served on Council for a number of years.

 “A lot is asked of volunteers in Council, and that can be daunting”, says Earls. 

“There are reports to read, digest and understand, and some decision-making. I think the first time you’re given those reports, it can hit home for some. 

“It’s great to play a part in forging the strategy of AAT, and you’re a director of an organisation. That brings with it some obligations. 

“It’s about making your voice heard, and representation. We need diversity in the sectors that Council members are drawn from, such as the public sector, for example. That’s in addition to other forms of diversity, such as ethnic and neuro diversities, which we would like more of on Council.”

Stand for AAT Council

We are searching for a diverse range of people from AAT’s membership to help us shape the future. Could that be you?

Read more

Calum Fuller Calum Fuller is editor of AT and 20 magazines. He's previously served as editor of Credit Strategy, assistant editor Accountancy and began his career at Accountancy Age..

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