The making of a special edition

It’s not every day that your client celebrates a milestone – so when ICAEW’s IT Faculty magazine had its 200th issue in the run-up to Christmas, we couldn’t let the opportunity pass.

Back when Chartech was first published as a newsletter in 1991, we lived in a world without Google, eBay, iPads, smartphones or selfies; email was new and exciting and mobile phones were barely portable. But the past 25 years, when seen in terms of the key cultural and technological moments we have lived through, is a mind-blowing phase of history. Take for example the fact that internet use grew from 0.3% of the world’s population in 1993 to more than 50% 19 years later; or that the number of smart devices on Earth now exceeds the number of people. It’s hard not to see this as a defining period for humankind. As such, a timeline of such breakthroughs simply had to form the backbone of the issue.

Once our sub-editing team had checked (and double-checked) all the elements we thought pertinent to the timeline, we realised we had more than enough to create a special gatefold centrepiece. The designers, in conjunction with the production team, carefully planned and measured an eight-page middle section that would fold out to reveal a full timeline.

Special editions also call for special covers. We went to a very distinctive illustrator, Nuria Madrid, whose work on sister publication economia has been admired across the agency. Nuria created a bespoke, 3D image of the number 200 made up of past covers of Chartech magazine. This gave us the chance to show the progression of Chartech over the years, moving from newsletter to magazine and expanding its coverage of IT issues affecting accountants and other finance professionals.

Finally, we commissioned some of our favourite writers and regular columnists to assess where we are now in relation to the technology and accounting landscape of 25 years ago. We also asked industry insiders, academics, lawyers and ICAEW leaders what technology had surprised them, what had been their favourite innovation, and what is still to come. The writers also took an in-depth look at the world around us in terms of automation, compliance, social media, privacy, and the software and hardware that now drives pretty much everyone’s working day.

It is especially nerve-racking to send a special project to print. But equally, it is worth the extra effort that goes into it. There is no finer feeling, after seeing something through from research and development to final checks, than getting the printed product in your hands. This was a piece of work that everyone involved in could be justly proud of. And it was definitely the Chartech team’s favourite project of 2015.