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 21-23 June. His motivational address titled Corporate social responsibility: a key ingredient to life as a professional, invited the audience of largely accounting professionals, to go beyond the numbers and get involved in more philanthropic and other outreach activities.

“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 tocontinue our advocacy to become recognisedand respected in the region not only for the work we do, but how we live. Anyone who is able to meet thestringent requirements of becoming a chartered accountantcertainly is capable of playing major roles in nation building.”

Leighton McKnight

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.  He called on the delegates at the conference of chartered accounts, to get more involved in mentoring at risk youngsters and assisting with their educational requirements.

At the end of McKnight stirring address,he 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.