Be about more than just the numbers - Leighton McKnight urges accountants to be nation builders
PwC Jamaica's Territory Leader Leighton McKnight is challenging regional professional accountants to look beyond the numbers and get more involved in nation-building through more focus on corporate social responsibility.
McKnight was speaking at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean's (ICAC) 36th Caribbean Conference of Accountants, held in The Bahamas from June 21-23. His motivational address, titled 'Corporate social responsibility: a key ingredient to life as a professional', invited the audience of largely accounting professionals to not just crunch the numbers, but to get involved in more philanthropic and other outreach activities.
McKnight said: "Accountants are often stereotyped as 'numbers-focused' and 'bean counters', and I've been on a long campaign to change that perception. Still, as a profession, we have to continue our advocacy to become recognised and respected in the region not only for the work we do, but how we live. Anyone who is able to meet the stringent requirements of becoming a chartered accountant certainly is capable of playing major roles in nation-building."
McKnight spoke in the context that despite the Caribbean being a top tourist destination with some of the world's best beaches, its heavily relied-on tourism product is at risk, because the Caribbean and Latin America have the highest per capita murder rate in the world. He added that a major cause of this problem is the fact that too many Caribbean youngsters are at risk due to poor socialisation practices and neglect. McKnight called on the delegates at the conference of chartered accountants to get more involved in mentoring at-risk youngsters and assisting with their educational requirements.
At the end of his stirring address, McKnight received a standing ovation and, spontaneously, an outreach fund was started by ICAC to help youngsters in need, with delegates contributing generously to the fund.