The Accountant – Issue 3 of 2021 (MIA Publication)
As a Senior Business Controller in charge of Revenues, Mr Brian Ferrante certainly has his plate full. But the responsibilities of the profession only strengthen his determination to build a better society. A tireless volunteer at the Autism Parents Association, Mr Ferrante is this year’s recipient of the MIA Kevin Mahoney Award for Altruism.
What was your reaction when you were told you were selected for the Kevin Mahoney Award?
I try to avoid the limelight as much as possible but, at the same time, I am a firm believer in leadership by example. When I was told that the Award was going to be presented at the MIA New Members’ Ceremony and that I would be expected to address the graduates, I saw it as an opportunity to promote the values behind this initiative to our new colleagues.
Why do you think the Award is relevant in this particular period?
As long as there are disadvantaged people in our community, the Kevin Mahoney Award will always be relevant. The challenging times we are living through have increased the number of people who are struggling. The Award for Altruism is today more relevant than ever.
Would you say that your career impacted your sense of duty towards society and others?
Definitely. I grew up in a middle-class household and my upbringing was relatively sheltered. For the first eight years of my career, I worked as an auditor and consultant which required visits to multiple clients and led me to engage with people from all walks of life. This experience made me more aware of social dissimilarities and I realised that not everybody had the benefit of a privileged upbringing. This sensitivity towards others intensified when I went to work for an international company with a strong sense of Corporate Social Responsibility, and we used to organise volunteering weekends at women’s shelters, respite homes and other institutions.
Do you think the profession contributes to the wellbeing of the community?
Yes, the profession gives a lot back to society. Firms but also individual members contribute significantly, both in terms of pro bono work and other initiatives such as donations and fundraising for worthy causes. We rarely hear about these noble efforts because professionals usually do it without much pomp, and that is the way it should be.
How can the profession contribute further?
As volunteer organisations are becoming increasingly regulated, many worthy organisations need our expertise in accounting, finance, and fundraising. We are uniquely positioned to help the non-profit sector become more professional and efficient. I believe that, as accountants, we have a greater responsibility to care for the wellbeing of the community and that should be reflected more in our education. The more seasoned among us, especially, should lead by example and guide new entrants along this direction.
Do you feel that people expect higher standards of integrity and decency from professionals in general?
The core values of accountancy place greater responsibility on us to lead exemplary lives outside of work. I think that the events of the last five years or so have led to a lowering of the bar. With hindsight, the profession could have done more to protect its standards and reputation, but it is now up to us to regain the trust of the public.
How did you learn that you were nominated for the Kevin Mahoney Award?
I received a call from the Institute sometime in July. Some months before this surprising conversation, I remember a former colleague asking a lot of questions about my involvement with the Autism Parents Association. At the time, I thought that he might have known someone whose child had been diagnosed with the condition, but when I was informed of the Award, I realised that he probably needed the information to compile the nomination.
What advice would you give to the next recipient of the Award?
I would first congratulate them, then encourage them to promote the Award. If every one of us inspires another person to help others, society in general, and our profession in particular, would be better off.
Will you nominate anyone for the next edition of the Award?
I will definitely be sending one or two nominations.