PracticeAuditProfile: ICAS president Murdoch McKillop

Profile: ICAS president Murdoch McKillop

Former Andersen partner Murdoch McKillop could not have taken on the role of president at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland at a much busier time. The institute has just undertaken a major review of its structure, organisation, aims and objectives, while looking towards its 150th anniversary year.

McKillop’s role will be as the ICAS figurehead as it moves through the difficult transition period from what it was to what it wants to be. Fortunately, his past experience in corporate recovery should hold him in good stead.

The Glaswegian’s first role in accountancy, and from where he was admitted as a member of ICAS, was with Arthur Andersen. McKillop spent three decades with the firm, right up until its end, in a number of important roles.

He started at Andersen’s Scottish corporate recovery practice and, after moving to London, worked as administrator on high-profile cases such as Maxwell, Leyland DAF and Ferranti. He eventually became senior corporate restructuring partner at the firm’s global corporate finance practice, and spent much time working in south-east Asia until the firm’s spectacular collapse. But even then, he led the workout of Andersen’s finances that ended in September 2002.

Unsurprisingly, the events that befell the firm to which he had dedicated 31 years of his career had a significant impact on McKillop, and he has already stated that he wishes to use his position in some ways to make sure such instances do not happen again.

He has thrown his full weight behind IASB chairman Sir David Tweedie’s move to increase reporting clarity on a global scale and has called on accounting institutes, including ICAS, to be more vocal in their advice and guidance to members.

McKillop is still working in corporate restructuring with firm Talbot Hughes McKillop in London, although his role as president of ICAS may somewhat curtail his activities.

ICAS’ strategy working group has been busy over the past year looking at how the institute should work over the next decade or so.

The council should start the arduous task of implementation during the rest of the year. This could well take up much of McKillop’s time as president, a probability he has already admitted.

It should, however, help ICAS deal with another one of McKillop’s pet subjects – cash generation. This is a topic that has arisen from his lengthy background in corporate recovery, where a shortage of cash causes problems despite some good-looking accounts.

It looks like a very busy year ahead for the new president and its new chief executive Ian Marrain, but both are confident that the future of ICAS is on a sound footing.

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