CA Magazine February 2024 - With a little help from our friends (Brand)

The ICAS Foundation has set itself the target of becoming the leading charity in its field. Here's how it aims to get there

The ICAS Foundation is ICAS’ social mobility charity. It is unique in supporting students studying accountancy or finance-related degrees during any year at university provided they meet the criteria of coming from a lower-income background. Although it was operating under a different name from 2003, it was officially registered as the ICAS Foundation in 2014. Its objectives are:

  • Support social mobility, ethnic diversity and gender diversity in students studying accountancy and finance-related subjects at university.
  • Help promote ICAS to a more diverse audience and improve accessibility to the profession.
  • Assist ICAS Foundation students by providing one-to-one mentoring by a CA, financial support, work experience opportunities and work-ready skills and training.
  • Give back to the profession by partnering with firms to recruit the next generation of CAs.

Sanjay Singh, ICAS Foundation Director, says: “The ICAS Foundation is working closely with the profession to ensure accounting firms are able to fulfil the ambition of removing barriers to entry, and fostering opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to thrive in an accounting career. This ensures exceptional talent is not overlooked and accountancy firms are able to reflect a corporate culture that better mirrors our society. We have supported over 300 students at university, many of whom have gone on to become CAs. We are nurturing future leaders in the accountancy profession, and ICAS members play a vital role in helping us to achieve this.”

In 2023, the ICAS Foundation received a record number of student applications for its programme and that is only expected to continue to increase in 2024. As a charity that strives to improve social mobility in the accountancy profession, the key to its success will be greater member support and collaboration with more firms.

But reaching our ambitions relies on three key areas of collaboration:

ICAS and its members
Your donations to the ICAS Foundation enable us to deliver our charitable purpose, develop a professional mentoring offer and boost our programme to ensure all the young people and mentors we support receive the best service.

Firms and the wider profession
Accountancy firms can access high-quality students for internship and graduate employment, meet sustainability goals and EDI
outcomes, and align CSR schemes by supporting the ICAS Foundation.

As President Clive Bellingham CA highlights in his column this month (p8), the ICAS Foundation recently announced a partnership with Johnston Carmichael that we believe will prove a template for similar schemes through 2024 and beyond.

Third-sector organisations, universities, colleges and schools
The ICAS Foundation can create the best opportunities for young people and provide an exemplary social mobility programme. It
will be the success of our collaboration with the education and third sectors that holds the key to us achieving our goal of increased social mobility in the accounting profession for the next 10 years and beyond.

10 facts for 10 years infographic

Foundation 25 fundraising

Foundation 25 sees 25 CAs undertake a challenge of their own choosing to raise awareness of, and £1,000 for, the ICAS Foundation. Here, Vice President Karen Scholes CA tells us what she’s doing and why

Name: Karen Scholes CA
Occupation: Partner, Scholes CA
Challenge: An evening of modern jive dancing

Why did you choose this challenge? Modern jive is fun and energetic. My husband, Kenny, and I attend classes in Orkney under the tutelage of Steve Higgs. We’re in the “improvers” group (Steve also coaches beginners and advanced). We enjoy the company of our fellow dancers, Steve’s expert teaching and the music, and all that exercise is very beneficial.

What does the ICAS Foundation mean to you? I am committed to improving social mobility and empowering young talent in the accountancy and finance sector. Investing in these students is vital, not just for ICAS, but for the entire profession and the broader economy.

Donate to any of the Foundation25 here.


The ICAS Foundation is a registered Scottish charity No SC034836.

You can support the work of the ICAS Foundation by donating, volunteering to mentor a student or providing an internship or work placement. You can also contact us to discuss a specific area where you would like to help.

This article was originally published in the ICAS CA Magazine, February 2024.