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Leaders Special Interview: Stephen Heathcote CEO Prime Global (Uncut)

On today’s bonus UNCUT episode, a Leaders Special Interview with Stephen Heathcote, CEO of Prime Global, who talks to Rob about what accountancy leadership looks like in challenging times and where the opportunities lie for accounting firms.

Stephen Heathcote joined PrimeGlobal in 2019 as Chief Executive Officer. He has extensive global experience of leading change across the accountancy profession. In 2020, PrimeGlobal was awarded association of the year at the International Accounting Bulletin Digital Accountancy Awards. The judges noted “The competition was strong, and the judges selected PrimeGlobal for its exceptional year under new leadership, restructuring its global governance and delivering strong growth of over 10 per cent.’’

His leadership background in the accounting profession includes undertaking the COO role at the UK Financial Reporting Council (introducing a new regulatory impact assessment during the global financial crisis), a senior management position at KPMG (leading the global change to the firms methodology) and over ten years as a key member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) executive team (leading global markets and overseeing all operations).

Key takeaways from the full uncut interview include:

⍟ What makes Prime Global the most diverse accounting association in the world

⍟ How a background in politics helps a leader understand the egos, motivations and goals of their people

⍟ The key differences between accounting associations, networks and alliances

⍟ The importance of accounting firms belonging to a community in these challenging, uncertain times

⍟ What has prompted more and deeper engagement across member firms in an accounting association or network in challenging times

⍟ The biggest surprise or discovery when stepping into a chief executive or senior board role

⍟ The analogy between CEO roles and football managers/coaches in seeing how different people have different personalities and needs

⍟ What kind of things a global CEO of an accounting association is proud of amongst many achievements

⍟ What putting an emphasis on team instead of self means for a leader at any level

⍟ The role of culture and corporate brand for CEOs in leaving a legacy or building a reputation

⍟ Examples of failures that define leaders and CEOs, and what can be learned from specific ones

⍟ The different ways leaders can respond to critical feedback, failure or negative press

⍟ What kind of people speak into the lives of accounting leaders and CEOs – shout out to Helen Brand of ACCA and her best advice

⍟ What happens when becoming a more senior leader takes you away from what you might love doing the most

⍟ The major things that frustrate a global CEO in the accounting profession, and how Covid might just change this

⍟ How a pandemic has forced accountants and accountancy firms to change and be more adaptable

⍟ The kind of things a global CEO loves most about their job

⍟ What leaders must do to get more done, make more impact and serve the world better (clue – it’s not about ego and self)

⍟ The importance of being more innovative, entrepreneurial and collaborative as a leader or CEO

⍟ Shout out to Traction by Gino Wickman in running a successful business and taking it to the next level

⍟ Examples of bad doctrine or advice put out by some leaders and personalities that damages the reputation of the accountancy profession

⍟ Tips for bringing through the next generation of leaders in any company or organisation

⍟ Words of wisdom to potential leaders and rising stars who aspire to senior roles in their firm or organisation

Stephen Heathcote on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-heathcote-b327573a/

NOTE TO LISTENERS:

This is a full-length interview (usually 20-30 mins long) from which the highlights show earlier in the week was taken. You can listen to this on a previous episode.

Martin and Rob love to hear from the show’s 7000+ listeners in 144 countries around the world. If you like the show, leave a review wherever you listen, and please recommend the show to your friends and colleagues.