ICAEW News

ICAEW News

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Originally dedicated to fighting the proposed merger of the ICAEW with CIMA and CIPFA, this site now provides news about the ICAEW

Do you think the ICAEW rebranding was money well spent?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Times

My thanks to The Times for featuring my campaign to stand for Council.

The ICAEW, the body for accountants in England and Wales, may end up with one of its severest critics on its council — but only if Ken Frost can find ten local accountants first. Frost, who opposed the failed merger between the UK’s various bean-counting bodies, wants to stand in the elections but needs the support of ten members in his area first. "I know many ICAEW members, unfortunately not one of them lives in Croydon," he complains. "We welcome any members who want to get involved," says a spokesman. "That's his prerogative."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Calling Croydon Chartered Accountants

I would be very grateful if any chartered accountants living in Croydon could get in touch with me privately, it is regarding the ICAEW Council elections in January 2007.

My contact details are in the menu bar.

Thanks.

Ken

Monday, November 27, 2006

ICAS To Remain Independent

Anton Colella, the new chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), is going to build bridges with the ICAEW after last year's humiliating debacle over the proposed name of the planned merged institute (that was blocked by the membership of the ICAEW).

Colella, in an interview with the Herald, notes that rapprochement is now required with the ICAEW.

However, despite the ICAEW's continued obsession with merging with all and sundry, ICAS have every intention of remaining independent.

Colella is quoted as saying:

"Consolidation is not on the horizon for Icas.

We will, however, be looking to work very effectively with the other professional bodies in the UK. We will be working very hard to ensure we identify areas where we can collaborate
."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Numbers Game

It was reported last week that domestic ICAEW member numbers have all but stood still over the last year.

The Professional Oversight Board's recent survey, Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession, shows that domestic member numbers for the ICAEW grew by a mere 350 over the last 12 months or 0.3%.

However, ACCA membership rose from 56,837 to 59,059 over the same period, and CIMA grew from 51,386 to 53,697; growth rates of 3.9% and 4.4% respectively.

ACCA also trounces the ICAEW in terms of its age profile, with 70% of members under 45 years old, whilst the ICAEW and ICAS both have around 50% over 45 years old.

As we know, the ICAEW preferred method of addressing this stagnation in membership has been that of merging with other bodies. This method, because it dilutes the brand value of the qualification, was rejected by the membership last year.

However, I have been discussing with Dr Jeff Wooller (founder of the Ginger Group - not ICAEW approved) another solution.

We believe that we need to offer a solution which addresses both the needs of the market, and maintains the brand image of the ACA and FCA qualifications.

The ICAEW needs to offer the market what it wants, namely a tiered membership pitched at different levels. We should offer two additional qualifications, each with its own set of designatory letters:
  • An accounting technician qualification, which would be very popular overseas and rival the CAT qualification of ACCA.


  • A non practising qualification, at a higher level than technician, for those who do not wish to endure a training contract. This again would be very popular overseas, and would compete directly with the CAT of the ACCA. It would also be a cheaper and more practical alternative than MBA courses.
Thus the ICAEW could compete in the entire market place, without losing the brand value of its existing qualifications. Future growth rates in the ACCA and CIMA may plummet and the ICAEW would have a global qualification to rival the MBA.

However, we would first need to find out from leading ICAEW members, in business rather than in practice, what they would want from such qualifications. We believe that the ICAEW Faculties would be ideal vehicles for such research.

It will be interesting to see the reactions from the ICAEW competitors to our proposal, an attack would indicate that we have a winning proposal.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Honorary Fellowship

My thanks to Dr Jeff Wooller, President of the Institute of Professional Financial Managers (IPFM), for awarding me an honorary fellowship of the IPFM.

The IPFM made this rare honorary award, for my work on this site in opposing the recently proposed mergers in the UK accountancy profession.

To read the full details please click here Honorary Fellowship.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Price of Rebranding

I see that the Association of Accounting Technicians has rebranded itself, just as the ICAEW intends to do.

The only difference being that the cost, seemingly, was less than the ICAEW's expected rebranding cost of £65K.

I trust that our new logo will really be something very special, to justify the extra outlay.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Druckman Speaks Out Against Consolidation

Paul Druckman, ex president of the ICAEW, has spoken out against another merger attempt:

"I do think it important to not keep going back to the consolidation issue of the UK profession."

I agree.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The New Logo

Many people are complaining about the £65K cost of the new logo for the ICAEW, due to be unveiled shortly.

I would say this, £65K is a mere trifle compared with the £1.4M wasted on trying unsuccessfully to convince the membership to support the merger last year.

We should be thankful for small mercies!

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Izzaq

Never let it be said that accountants take themselves too seriously.

In the spirit of a little light hearted fun, I have set up a "book" on the chances of Michael Izza still being in office by the end of June 2007.

Those of you who wish to take a punt, or want to see how others rate his chances, please visit The Izzaq.

Michael, I hope you will be placing a wager?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Worst Kept Secret

The ICAEW have now officially confirmed what everyone already knew, namely that Michael Izza will become CEO of the ICAEW:

"Michael Izza has been appointed as the next chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW)

He succeeds Eric Anstee who announced his retirement earlier in the year. Izza will take up his role on 6 December 2006.

Michael Izza is currently chief operating officer, executive director and a board member at the ICAEW, the largest professional accounting body in Europe and a £62 million income organisation representing 128,000 members.

Amongst his many achievements, Michael has played a major role in the development of the Institute's current strategy as well as driving forward the operational plan. Michael has also been responsible together with other executive directors for the day-to-day running of the ICAEW. Since January 2004 he has acted as deputy to the chief executive
."

Judging from the above, it seems that there will be no change to the current course that the ICAEW embarked upon under Eric Anstee. I will watch developments with interest.

To read the full release go to ICAEW CEO Appointed.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Confidential Plan

You may recall that last November I wrote about rumours that the ICAEW were considering merging with the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA).

It seems that these rumours had some substance to them.

I understand that in July 2005 there was a report to the members of council of IFA from Michael O'Brien Chairman of IFA, and in November 2005 there was a confidential report to IFA Council members about a meeting between Michael O'Brien, J Malcolm Dean (CEO of IFA), Eric Anstee (CEO of ICAEW) and Les Smith (Head of the Executive Office of ICAEW).

The subject of these two reports?

Progress on discussions on collaboration between the ICAEW, IFA and the International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB).

Seemingly IFA and IAB would agree to affiliate to the ICAEW (to be renamed ICA - post merger with CIPFA). IFA and IAB would then become subsidiaries of the ICAEW, and agree to a common management with the ICAEW.

IFA and IAB would morph into one organisation which would affiliate to the ICAEW. However, there would be two routes to membership (IFA and IAB) and a new class of membership of IFA "Bookkeeper".

The two brands within the new IFA would be controlled by the newly formed ICA council. The November report emphasises that the two brands were seen as "routes", or "qualifications", to membership of the one overarching organisation - the ICA and its affiliate IFA.

It is spelt out that:

"a student can qualify as a bookkeeper via IAB, and thus enter membership of the IFA, and can continue to increase their skills, experience and qualifications to the point at which they can become a full audit member of the ICA."

IFA would have acted as a "feeder body" for the ICAEW, it also seems that IFA/IAB would have pressed for IFA qualifications to be granted exemption for fast track entry to ICA.

All IFA and IAB staff would also have been offered a job within ICA.

I wonder when the ICAEW council were going to tell the membership of the ICAEW about this plan?

Needless to say, this is all past history now. The best laid plans of mice and men etc.

After all, there is no way that the ICAEW would try to foist another merger on its long suffering membership.

Is there?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Absent Minded Anstee

The ICAEW has announced that new group will be formed to support over 8,000 of its members who work, or have an interest, in the public sector.

Seemingly the ICAEW will pay CIPFA to provide these services. Eric Anstee is quoted by Accountancy Age as bemoaning the fact that if the merger had gone ahead:

"we would have kept the qualification separate and made cost savings".

In other words, he is blaming the failed merger for the costs of this project.

The trouble with this argument, is that it conveniently ignores the £1.42M of our money that the ICAEW bunker wasted on the failed merger attempt.

Funny he forgot that!

Friday, October 06, 2006

What Price The Presidency?

On Thursday the ICAEW council voted down a proposal to pay future council presidents £100,000 for holding office.

The FD states that the vote was close, 23 votes to 22, with "a number of abstentions".

Given that there are around 100 members of council, either there were a hell of a lot of abstentions or else a large number of council members did not bother to attend the meeting.

Why do we need a council of 100, when so many of them do not actually attend key votes such as this?

The FD reports that one member had argued that paying the president would send a bad message to members.

Quite!

Council member Alan Livesey then suggested that the vote should be retaken later, as some council members left the meeting before the vote was taken.

To repeat:

Why do we need a council of 100, when many of them do not actually attend key votes such as this?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Coup Within The ICAEW Bunker?

I read with interest, and a degree of amusement, the article in Accountancy Age that stated that new ICAEW Council members have actually had the "stones" to criticise the current ICAEW structure.

Seemingly they believe that the ICAEW Council is "parochial", "ill defined" and should be slimmed down.

Correct me if I am wrong, but have I not been arguing for this over the last two years on this site?

As long ago as March 2005 I published this article "Best In Class", arguing for a slimmed down version of council.

Could this report indicate that there stirs within the hearts of some members of council the desire to actually listen to what the membership say?

Maybe the residents to the ICAEW bunker, who have for so long jealously guarded the out of date Victorian structure of the ICAEW, are facing a coup. They will find themselves having to finally accept the fact that the ICAEW, if it is to be fit for purpose for the 21st century, will have to cut council down to size and reorganise along the lines that I have been arguing for during the past two years.

We shall see.

Nonetheless, it is at least encouraging to see that some members of council are reading this site and finally taking on board the message that I have been repeating ad nauseam for the last two years.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Regionalisation

Seemingly the ICAEW is considering turning Scotland into a region, without districts.

The logical consequence of this would be for the current district structures of England & Wales to be restructured into regions.

That at least is what Accountancy Age think.

Herein lies one of the fundamental problems with the current ICAEW structure. The ICAEW was formed in the 19th century and the structure laid down by the "founding fathers" is still in place today; ie districts and a large, cumbersome and unnecessary council.

The ICAEW needs to restructure itself to reflect the realities of the 21st century, rather than the 19th; ie council should be abolished and the districts restructured.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Succession

Much like the speculation within the Labour Party over the successor to Tony Blair, the ICAEW also has been dealing with succession issues.

Those of you with long memories may recall that way back in June, Eric Anstee announced that he would be stepping down and that the ICAEW would begin the search for a replacement.

Some three months have passed, and as yet the ICAEW has made no official announcement as to the progress of their search.

However, Accountancy Age report today that some 10 interviews have taken place with a number of candidates. The upshot being, if the report is to be believed, that the ICAEW are "playing safe" and going for an internal candidate Michael Izza (currently COO).

It will be interesting to see if the ICAEW update council, and indeed the membership, on the progress being made at the council meeting scheduled for 4th October.

Does the slow pace of progress and lack of information indicate that there are problems wrt filling the role?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Bold Prediction

Michael Cleary, the head of Grant Thornton, has made a bold call for unification of all six UK professional accounting bodies in a speech delivered to the Institute of Financial Accountants.

Cleary said that it is a "nonsense" for Britain to have more than six professional organisations.

He went on to predict that within a decade all the institutes will combine to form one nationwide institute.

Cairn Energy chairman Norman Murray, who is president of the Scottish institute (ICAS), disagrees:

"We have always said that consolidation is not inevitable.

To demonstrate to our members that merging would be in their interests and in the public interest, we need to show that we can work together closely with other institutes first and foremost.

At the moment we see no need to merge
."

The ICAEW president, Ian Morris, also spoke up about co-operation when he visited Edinburgh to address the 1300 members of the English institute who work in Scotland.

Quote:

"Our relationship with ICAS is one of partnership.

I value the long-standing and constructive working relationship that exists between (us)."


I agree that a merger with ICAS would be beneficial for both bodies, if the membership can be persuaded. However, last year's appalling public relations disaster wrt the name change foisted on the ICAEW members by the ICAEW leadership has not done the ICAEW's reputation in Scotland any favours.

Ian Morris is right to say that we should value a long standing and constructive relationship with ICAS. Unfortunately, last year the leadership of the ICAEW did its very best to destroy the relationship.

As regards Michael Cleary's desire to merge all bodies, a merger should only be sought between similar bodies of equal standing in respect of qualifications and prestige. ICAS and ICAEW are two such bodies; CIPFA, CIMA et al are not.

That is why the merger with CIPFA failed last year, until the leadership of the ICAEW get that message we will not be able to move forward and engage in constructive dialogue with ICAS.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Money Talks

Those who tried to water down our qualification last year, by diluting it with other brands, may care to read the following Reuters article:

"The average total pay package offered by investment banks and other financial services employers in the City for Associate Chartered (ACA) accountants is now a record 65,000 pounds a year, according to a study by recruitment firm Morgan McKinley.

'The continual rise in total compensation packages for these individuals is testament to the value they place on the qualification as well as the desire to secure these individuals in what is an extremely tight candidate market,' said Robert Thesiger, chief executive of Morgan McKinley
."

Money talks, it is clear that the market recognises the value of the undiluted ACA/FCA qualification; it is a pity that those on the ICAEW who tried to push last year's botched merger through did not value it as highly.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ethics

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has a released a new information paper on ethics education in the accountancy profession.

The paper is designed to stimulate discussion and debate on the subject of ethics education.

The framework laid out by IFAC emphasises the development of ethics knowledge and ethical sensitivity at an early stage in pre-qualification education, before enabling students and professional accountants to demonstrate their ethical judgment and decision-making skills. It also reinforces the need for accountants to make an ongoing commitment to ethical behavior.

Meanwhile, the ICAEW, has put off its ethical examination until 2007.

Enough said!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Breaching The Walls of The Bunker

Executives around the world believe that it takes companies slightly more than three years to recover from a crisis that damages their reputation.

That at least is the conclusion drawn from to market research carried out by Burson-Marsteller.

The research is based on the opinions of 685 business "influentials" - CEOs, senior executives, financial analysts, business media and government officials in 65 countries.

It shows that quickly disclosing the details of a scandal or corporate misstep should be management's top priority, as it begins the process of restoring corporate reputation.

The latest research conducted by the firm took a closer look at the crisis
management strategies that a company should use to protect, manage and build its reputation.

According to the market research, the top ten crisis management turnaround strategies are:

-Quickly disclose details of the scandal/misstep (69%)
-Make progress/recovery visible (59%)
-Analyse what went wrong (58%)
-Improve governance structure (38%)
-Make CEO and leadership accessible to the media (34%)
-Fire employees involved in the problem (32%)
-Commit to high corporate citizenship standards (23%)
-Carefully review ethics policies (19%)
-Hire an outside auditor for internal audits (18%)
-Issue an apology from the CEO (18%)

Deborah Bowker, chair of Burson-Marsteller's U.S. Corporate/Financial Practice said:

"A crisis can have a devastating impact on a company's reputation in terms of its profitability, credibility, competitive position, and ability to retain and attract top performers.

However, companies can lessen their recovery time and be welcomed back into the fold, with their reputation restored, if they follow a few well executed and integrated turnaround strategies
."

Bearing in mind the long list of recent disasters that the ICAEW have inflicted on the membership, and the brand value, of the ICAEW; including, but not limited to, the following:
Do you not think that the ICAEW should take heed of the above advice from Burson-Marsteller?

I certainly do!

The question is, are the ICAEW open to advice from outside the Moorgate Place bunker?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Desperate or Incompetent?

I understand that one of this site's regular visitors contacted the ICAEW, a few months ago, to ask about how the "Pathways to Membership" (backdoor route to membership) of the ICAEW would work.

Today he finally received a response from them, in the form of a phone call, asking if he was interested in furthering an application.

I don't know whether this is a sign of desperation, or plain incompetence (given how long they took to come back to him).

Where's Damian?

Anyone know where Damian Wilde's blog has gone?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Report

So when are the ICAEW going to share with the membership the report into the Durgan Debacle (ie the report on the failures of the tendering process)?

Seems that I was right about the timing of Anstee's resignation announcement, being used to draw attention away from the internal control failings in the ICAEW bunker.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Consolidation Dead For Five Years

The consolidation of UK accounting institutes is a dead issue for the next five years, according to the new president of CIPFA Caroline Gardner.

I wonder if the ICAEW agree with this view?

Friday, June 30, 2006

Anstee Steps Down

Even the most glittering and majestic of reigns must come to an end.

The above sentiment will doubtless be disseminated by the ICAEW executive as they seek to put a positive spin on the departure "leaked" yesterday, and due to be formally announced today, of Eric Anstee the first ever CEO of the ICAEW.

Anstee presided over the latest (sixth in 35 years) failed merger attempt of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The timing of the announcement is hardly propitious, coming as it does in the middle of the ICAEW Council Conference which is trying to clear up the mess resulting from the Durgan Debacle.

I do not intend to dwell on Anstee's triumphs and failures; nor indeed do I intend to worry about whether he resigned, retired or was sacked.

However, I would note that Anstee, earlier this year, indicated that he would be in favour of trying to place a merger vote before the membership again. It will be interesting to see if his departure marks the death knell for any future foolish time consuming and money wasting merger attempts.

It should not be forgotten that the last attempt cost us £1.4M, plus untold damage to our brand value.

The departure of Anstee does not let the ICAEW off the hook, with regard to its operations and structure:

  • Council needs to be cut from its current absurd level of 90 plus, to a more manageable and effective size of around 6-12 people


  • The questions raised earlier on this site, in relation to the Durgan Debacle need to be addressed openly


  • The selection of the next CEO will be "interesting", both in terms of who applies and who is finally selected by the ICAEW


  • It should also be noted that Anstee intends to stay on his role, until a successor is found. It will be interesting to see if any new "initiatives" are announced during this period
Finally, as a minor matter of curiosity, it would be interesting to know how/why the story about Anstee leaving was leaked a day early and by whom. It is worth noting that the "leak" was well timed enough to enable Accountancy Age to put together several reports on the matter, in time for publication early this morning.

It should also be noted, that the timing and professionalism (Accountancy Age were well primed with several articles and a podcast-which would have taken 24 hours to arrange) of the "leak" means that Council's attention will be distracted from discussing/focusing too hard on the Durgan Debacle.

Who would gain from that?

Maybe though, I am just too cynical?

The future direction of the ICAEW will be decided over the coming months, it will be a very exciting period indeed. I will be following developments very closely.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

An Invitation

Council members are invited to post here, or email me directly, any news items relating to the current ICAEW Council Conference.

I regard the attitude of the ICAEW, as quoted by Accountancy Age, re questions over the Durgan Debacle as being a "private matter for council" as being contemptible.

I offer those members of council, who actually respect the membership, an opportunity to tell the membership what is really going on in their ICAEW. I will maintain your anonymity should you so wish.

The days of deals being done in smoke filled rooms are over.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Durgan To Stand?

There are rumours emanating from the ICAEW bunker that indicate that Graham Durgan may be considering "re-accepting" the presidency.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Unanswered Questions

The Durgan debacle refuses to die down, and there are rumours emanating from the ICAEW bunker relating to the how the Independent heard about the matter in the first place.

The post Durgan "clean up" by the ICAEW, in itself, has raised a number of questions which need to be answered:
  • Why was Council (and apparently also the Board) not informed of the impending problem sooner? These contracts had been under negotiation for several months not mere days.


  • Was it just coincidence that the issue was raised at the very last Council meeting before the new President took office? Earlier notification might have enabled the matter to be resolved without the need for Graham to stand down.


  • The Independent article was virtually word-for-word what the Chief Executive said to Council on 3 May 2006. Any leak would, therefore, appear to be either internal or a Council member with perfect memory.


  • Why is it necessary to have a single "preferred supplier" status, why not simply a quality threshold (a "kitemark") with anyone passing it awarded appropriate status? Had EWI been one of two or more such suppliers, there would have been no need for Graham to stand down. Again, a coincidence?


  • Council opted for the Group of Past-presidents to look into the issue rather than commissioning an independent, external audit. Council expected the Group to report back rather than just providing an oral comment. An external auditor would, of course, have provided a full written account of the issues. Perhaps Council was steered towards the route it chose as this was easier to influence.


  • An internal audit has revealed "some issues" - why hasn't this report been made available to Council?


  • Who overlooked inviting ATC International to bid, and why?


  • The Special Council meeting was called at very short notice and attended by only 41 Council members (out of 96). Why wasn't the date advised to Council members earlier so that they could pencil it in their diaries... just in case a meeting was required. Indeed, were any Council members advised to pencil in the date prior to the official announcement? If so, who was advised, by whom and why?


  • Has this just been a momentous cock-up by a junior member of staff, or a very cleverly orchestrated conspiracy by someone much more senior?


  • Was the leak deliberately designed to bring Durgan down? If so, who leaked the story and why?


  • Why is it left to this site to expose these issues, is it not the role of the professional media to be investigating this?
I look forward to seeing the above questions answered.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

ICAEW To Review Internal Controls

Accountancy Age report that following the Durgan contract fiasco, there will be a review of the internal control procedures relating to how preferred supplier contracts are awarded.

The review will be carried out by Ian Morris, President of the ICAEW.

I have twenty years international experience working in industry, reviewing business controls, advising on best practice (eg purchasing and contract tendering), conducting fraud investigations and implementing codes of ethical conduct.

The ICAEW are more than welcome to contact me if they wish for some impartial, arms length, advice on this matter.

Overwhelming Support?

Quote from yesterday's ICAEW press release:

"Members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales have given their overwhelming support to proposals that will enable the Institute, over time, to broaden its portfolio of qualifications for finance professionals in response to market needs.

At a special meeting of members, held on 6th June 2006, over 88% voted in favour of the resolution that enabled the Institute's Council to create new qualifications and schemes for the awarding of diplomas and certificates subject to Privy Council approval
."

The 88% does seem to be "overwhelming"; until you realise that for each of the special resolutions less than 20000 members (16%), out of approximately 128000, voted in favour.

I don't know that I would be so keen to trumpet that as "overwhelming" support.

Ian Morris, President of the Institute is quoted:

"The strength of the Institute is its membership and I'm delighted with their support for this year's annual and special meetings.

The vast majority have voted in favour of the resolutions we put forward, a very visible demonstration of support for our strategic direction
."

I am afraid that I must disagree with the above statement.

The vast majority have not voted, in fact over 80% of the membership have not bothered to vote.

That is not a vote of confidence in the strategic direction of the ICAEW, nor a very visible demonstration of support, but a clear signal of apathy and disengagement.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Deja Vu

I read with interest the letters page in Accountancy Age (1st June 2006 page 14) and noted one particular letter from a Nick Wilson who, aside from referring to the anti merger lobby as being dinosaurs, made reference to "the parochial small minded behaviour of the so called 'leaders' of the Scottish Institute".

Imagine my surprise when turning to the letters page of the June edition of Accountancy (page 22), I see the very same letter (almost identical word for word, albeit slightly longer) from a certain Nick Wilson.

I am guessing that this is the same Nick Wilson who, back in November 2005, wrote to PASS having a go at the Scots in very similar language.

Quote:

"The Scottish institute seems to be run by some very small-minded, backward parochials...!"

There's that "P" word again!

It has been well reported that the Labour Party encourage their apparatchiks to write to gullible local newspapers, eager for content, extolling the virtues of Labour and slagging off the Tories. This is a form of "low level" media campaigning and PR.

However, it is comforting to know that Accountancy and Accountancy Age would not be gullible enough to fall for such blatant media manipulation by apparatchiks of the ICAEW.

Friday, June 02, 2006

A Confused Message

There seems to be some confusion as regards the tendering process used by the ICAEW, in relation to the Russian and Chinese training contracts that caused the implosion of Graham Durgan's bid to become President and the ongoing media relations debacle.

Accountancy (June 2006 page 5) state:

"The ICAEW says the work was awarded on an 'open tender' basis..."

Yet an article (Misrepresentation and Shabbiness) was posted on this site (18 May), which Accountancy read, that stated:

"The story gets worse, the ICAEW are reported to have described the agreements with EWI as 'non-exclusive'. Yet this is contradicted by CEO Eric Anstee, who is quoted in the Independent as saying:

'We do not envisage working with further training firms until the volume of students in each location builds'.

Indeed, as if to rub further salt into the wounds, ATC International told the Independent that it was not asked by the ICAEW to pitch for its contract for Russia
."

Additionally, Dr Jeff Wooller, wrote in the comment section:

"The Institute of Professional Financial Managers was not asked to pitch. We have a good reputation for courses in Eastern Europe and our own website in Russian."

So, is that open tendering or not? It doesn't sound very open to me.

I have sent this to Accountancy asking them to clarify their report.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Durgan Not to Stand - Confirmed

The Independent confirm's that Graham Durgan will be stepping aside as President of the ICAEW, as noted here yesterday.

The article notes that the ICAEW maintain that Durgan's interest in EWI, the training company awarded the Chinese and Russian contracts, were openly declared throughout the tender process.

However, what the ICAEW failed to do was hold an open tendering process allowing all companies to apply for the contracts.

That is why they are in this mess. Unfortunately, the ICAEW don't see it this way and are blaming the press for this.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Confusion at The ICAEW

Whilst the ICAEW reels from the Durgan contract fiasco, its standing with other professional bodies has taken another public battering; as Des Hudson, CEO of ICAS, questioned the ICAEW's recruitment strategy.

He is quoted by Accountancy Age as saying:

"We were surprised by the strategy, with respect to the various qualifications."

He noted that by getting other accountants to take up the ICAEW qualification, the ICAEW was contradicting its previous strategy of merging with other professional bodies whilst trying to keep the qualifications distinct.

Quote:

"To me there's confusion between their current and previous statements."

As John Prescott has found to his cost, slings and arrows can be survived - ridicule cannot. The leadership of the ICAEW are making themselves look ridiculous.

Durgan Not to Stand

It is reported that Graham Durgan will not stand for Presidency of the ICAEW next week.

This has yet to be confirmed by the ICAEW.

Had the ICAEW followed an open tendering process for the training contracts for the Chinese and Russian contracts, much of this fuss would have been avoided and Durgan might still have been able to stand for President.

The ICAEW needs to practice what it preaches when it comes to best business practice.

Assuming that Durgan is stepping aside, he has saved the ICAEW a large amount of embarassment; I wonder if others will follow his example?

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Backdoor Route To Membership

It seems that the backdoor route to membership of the ICAEW, via one exam for members of other bodies, has been exposed as the sham it is; namely a quick and dirty way of increasing the membership of the ICAEW by diluting the quality.

The Telegraph reported yesterday that the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has been asked to intervene by CIMA, and investigate the backdoor entry system devised by Eric Anstee following the merger failure last year.

It seems that not only is the ICAEW intent on diluting the brand, and offering a backdoor qualification, they are also reportedly overstepping the bounds of ethics in respect of cold marketing the ICAEW to members of other bodies.

Another example of the ICAEW not practising what it preaches when it comes to ethics.

Maybe Council and the executive should take some time out to read the ethical guidelines of the ICAEW?

Charles Tilley, the chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (Cima), is quoted in the Telegraph as saying:

"Both qualifications are high-quality but the Cima qualification is founded in business and the ICAEW one is founded in practice. Offering the qualification this way is not in the public interest.

The approach they are adopting, I question how professional that is.

I am aware of at least three of my members who have been cold-called on behalf of the ICAEW
."

I wonder how much more damage the Executive of the ICAEW will do to the brand value of our professional body and qualification, before the membership finally reacts and kicks them out?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Distasteful

Those of you who wish to take lessons in the fine art of "winning friends and influencing people", and of building good working relationships with other professional bodies, may be well advised not to follow the example set by Eric Anstee CEO of the ICAEW.

That is if the report in today's Times is anything to go by.

It seems that the ICAEW is now trying to poach other institutes' members. Prompting Charles Tilley, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, to say:

"I question whether it is professional."

Size, in Anstee's view, is everything.

In my view, it is quality not size that matters.

However, the views of the membership of the ICAEW are ignored by the current "leadership"; as such my views, and your views, don't count.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Misrepresentation and Shabbiness

Today's Independent reports that the qualifications of the president-elect of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Graham Durgan, were misrepresented on his company's website.

Seemingly Durgan was being passed off, on the Emile Woolf International College website (a company which he owns 60% of), as having both LLB and FCA qualifications.

The only trouble is, according the The Independent, he is neither a bachelor of law nor a fellow of the ICAEW. He is in fact a bachelor of sciences, and an associate of the ICAEW.

I recall Durgan teaching me at BPP, back in the 1980's (he was very good), and do not understand why he is not an FCA; given that if you keep up your CPD etc, you become one after a defined period of time should you choose to apply.

This news comes hot on the heels of the report in yesterday's Independent that revealed that Durgan's company has been named as the "recommended supplier" of training, for the newly won ICAEW contracts to provide training to Russia and China.

It is reported that this could generate contracts worth £200,000 a year to EWI.

Not surprisingly the Independent notes that Durgan's senior role within the institute and EWI has fuelled concerns over potential conflict of interest.

The Independent quotes one member of the profession as saying:

"It's a bit shabby that he was allowed to pitch. If you want to be a commercial business, then don't be president...It's a bit grubby."

Durgan's spokesman is quoted as saying:

"During his deputy presidency, Graham has stepped away from any commercial decisions by the institute that could benefit his firms. During his presidency, he will play no active executive role in his businesses."

An ICAEW spokesman is quoted:

"Throughout the process, the deputy president declared a financial interest in EWI which had been approached to do the work. He was not involved in any way in the evaluation process."

They don't get it do they?

It is not just a question of being independent, it is a question of being seen to be independent.

That is drummed into you from day one of your training contract, it is lamentable that the ICAEW who spend so much time lecturing others about ethics and independence cannot practice what they preach.

The story gets worse, the ICAEW are reported to have described the agreements with EWI as "non-exclusive". Yet this is contradicted by CEO Eric Anstee, who is quoted in the Independent as saying:

"We do not envisage working with further training firms until the volume of students in each location builds".

Indeed, as if to rub further salt into the wounds, ATC International told the Independent that it was not asked by the ICAEW to pitch for its contract for Russia.

Correct me if I am wrong, but based on my experience running fraud investigations, audit departments and companies, open tendering is the bedrock of an ethical and well run business. This is another area that the ICAEW is fond to lecture the world on, yet fails to practice what it preaches.

It now seems that the ICAEW has realised that is has got itself embroiled in yet another mess, that could have been so easily avoided. They have told the media that no agreements with EWI have been signed, and that a committee of past presidents will look into the selection process and will report in the next few days.

The phrase "shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted", springs to mind.

I assume that, depending on the level of outcry and damage to the brand that this sorry little tale produces, there will be some form of political fudge; ie Durgan will step aside, or the contract will be awarded to another supplier.

Too little, too late.

The damage has been done.

We should never have been placed in this position in the first place. The ICAEW claims that it is run by professionals, with industry and business experience. However, the leadership have succeeded yet again in damaging the brand value of our qualification.

This dismal story is another addition to the sorry tally of evidence, that has been building up over the past few months, that shows that the executive and council of the ICAEW are unfit to lead the ICAEW viz:
  • The leadership of the ICAEW were trounced for trying to bully us into merging with CIPFA.


  • Using the services of Media Strategy, a PR company that breached the Code of Practice of the Association of Professional Political Consultants which resigned its membership of that body rather than face an investigation.


  • Damaging the ICAEW's reputation by delaying the introduction of the new syllabus, and most importantly the ethics module, for 2006.


  • Wasting our money on a futile MORI poll asking us why we voted against the merger, don't they read or listen?


  • Angering and alienating accountants around the world by trying to push through a name change, that ended up being blocked by the Privy Council.
Individually these points are damning enough, yet put together they speak volumes about the quality of leadership at the helm of the ICAEW.

I ask the following of the membership:
  • When will we be rid of this shambolic leadership?


  • When will the ICAEW learn that it is here to serve the interests of the membership, not the other way around?


  • When will that Victorian anachronistic structure known as Council be removed from office?
Failure to address these issues will see the end of the ICAEW as a legitimate force, and respected brand, within the profession.

I don't want to see that happen, neither do the rest of the membership. The time for the membership to take control of the ICAEW is now.

I have voted against all of the proposals put forward by the ICAEW for the forthcoming AGM, as a protest about the way the ICAEW is being led.

I would recommend that, in order to send a clear signal to the leadership that we want change, others do the same.

If you cannot bring yourself to vote against all of the resolutions, then at least vote against the subscription rise (since it will only be wasted on yet another merger campaign next year), and the awarding of honourary FCA's (we are not a university).

The time for action is now.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The ICAEW Annual Review

The ICAEW published its annual review for 2005 on May 8.

In it Eric Anstee talks about formalising the working relationship with CIPFA, he goes on to say:

"So we are exploring options for a closer working relationship with CIPFA on policy issues such as pensions as well as offering member and student benefits in learning and professional development.

We remain committed to the principle of consolidation of the UK profession in the long term
."

It is clear that the ICAEW is determined to try to push the merger through again. Lessons have not been learned.

The review also notes, as one of the ICAEW's achievements in 2005, the restructuring of the ACA and training framework. This is patently untrue, or let me say a gross exaggeration, the new syllabus which was due to be launched in 2006 was put back to 2007 becuase of internal problems within the ICAEW (see Chaos at The ICAEW).

Anstee goes on to say:

"We have begun exploring routes to qualification to increase access to the profession, setting an ambitious target of doubling student numbers by 2010.

Equally, we have looked at wider avenues of increasing membership, for example, with the membership and co-operation agreement with the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants announced in 2004.

We are continuing to build such partnerships with premier bodies in other key markets
."

I have made this point before, but it seems worthwhile making again, the size of the ICAEW is not the issue; it is the quality of the membership that is crucial to maintaining our brand value.

By opening the doors to other bodies, who do not have identical training methods or exam systems, the ICAEW are simply diluting our brand.

The ICAEW are seeking a 4% increase in subscriptions, given that they wasted over £1.4 million last year on the failed merger vote and that they are clearly seeking to try the same again in 2007, I have voted against the rise.

Monday, May 08, 2006

ICAEW Media Blitz

I read the various media placements from the ICAEW, published by Accountancy Age and Accountancy, over the last few days with interest. These placements were in the form of interviews with Eric Anstee (CEO of the ICAEW) and various other senior members of the ICAEW executive.

You will note that I have used the words placements. Although the articles were in the "form" of interviews, it is very clear by the timing and co-ordination that this is in fact part of a media campaign being waged by the ICAEW to improve their damaged image. There were no counterpoints presented, or indeed requested, by either Accountancy Age or Accountancy.

I think it fair to draw the following very general conclusions:

1 The ICAEW, by presenting other members of the executive, are trying to draw the sting from the regular criticisms leveled against Anstee that he is solely responsible for the merger debacle; and that the executive of the ICAEW is a one man band.

2 Anstee states categorically, when asked if the ICAEW will try another merger vote, "I hope so".

We can therefore expect to go through the whole expensive procedure again, before the end of next year.

3 The ICAEW will continue over the coming months to try to present a favourable media image. It is to be hoped that the media remember that there are two sides to the coin.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Global Accounting Alliance-Updated

Proving that the ICAEW and ICAS can work together they have announced, together with ICAI and six other accountancy bodies, the formation of the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA).

Quote:

"Representing over 700,000 of the world's leading professional accountants, the Global Accounting Alliance will promote quality professional services, global membership support, share information and collaborate on important international issues.

The Alliance will work with national regulators, governments and stakeholders, through member-body collaboration, articulation of consensus views, and working in collaboration, where possible, with other international bodies
."

If we can work together in this manner, why did we need to merge?

Unfortunately, Eric Anstee current head of the ICAEW, is still trying to flog the "dead horse" of merger. He is still interested in consolidation with CIPFA and CIMA.

However, he told Accountancy Age that he would have to speak to GAA members about merger plans.

Have I missed something here?

Surely the merger plans were rejected by the membership of the ICAEW last year?

Precisely why should he hold discussions with the GAA about merging?

What part of the word "No" does he not understand?

Update 17:15 27 April 2005

If you look up the registration of www.globalaccountingalliance.co.uk, you will see that it was registered on 15th September 2005 by the ICAEW.

This was before the merger motion was defeated in October 2005. This implies that the wheels were already in motion for the creation of the GAA.

Why then, if the ICAEW was working towards a global alliance at that stage, did they persist in telling the members that the most effective way of making our voice heard on the world/national stage was via merging with CIMA/CIPFA?

FYI, I have registered www.globalaccountingalliance.org.uk in my name, and will ensure that it redirects to this site in the next 48 hours.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Threat of the MBA

Martin Walker, Professor of Finance and Accounting at the University of Manchester, is quoted in Accountancy Age as saying that the MBA qualification offers greater opportunities to high quality finance professionals than the ACA qualification.

It is debatable as to whether the MBA, as such, poses a direct threat to the ACA. However, Professor Walker then goes on to argue that the ICAEW needs to re-badge the ACA qualification. He notes that merging with CIPFA might reduce costs, but it would not address the shortcomings of the current ACA qualification:

"..if you haven't go the product that is internationally competitive, it doesn't matter how cheap it is".

He is absolutley correct. It should also be remembered that whilst the ICAEW was spending vast sums of time and money last year in trying to railroad through the merger, they allowed the relaunch of the new syllabus (originally planned for this year) to fail.

The neglect of the syllabus is inexcusable, and will have a detrimental long term effect on the brand value of the ICAEW.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Business Confidence Monitor

A week or so ago I received an email from the ICAEW inviting me to complete their business confidence monitor.

Given the chance to win a case of booze, I gave them the benefit of my opinion.

A few days later I received another email from the ICAEW, asking me to fill in the survey; it said:

Please ignore if you have completed this survey already.

The Institute invites you to participate in the ICAEW/Orange - UK Business Confidence Monitor survey for Quarter 2 2006.


Today I received my third invitation from the ICAEW to complete their business confidence monitor, again asking me to ignore it if I have already completed the survey.

- How many more of these emails am I to receive?

- I assume that all other members are also receiving them?

In the great scheme of things, this is not a major issue.

However, it is indicative of the lack of attention to detail and the inability of the ICAEW to effectively communicate/manage its communications with its own membership.

Message to the ICAEW:

I know that the you read this site, so would you kindly stop sending me this particular email!

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Dying Institute?

Accountancy Age report that ACCA has 73,839 students in the UK and Ireland, CIMA has 57,106, while the ICAEW has 8,560.

The article also notes that the growth of ACCA and CIMA is outstripping that of the ICAEW.

Whilst it is true to say that size of itself is not an indication of quality, the ICAEW should be concerned that the number of people wishing to join the ICAEW is, on the face of these statistics, declining.

Yet, last year, the ICAEW wasted time and money chasing the false solution of a merger with lesser bodies.

The ICAEW needs to identify and address the "internal" issues that are putting potential new members from joining, and not waste its time and members' money on further merger votes.

Issues that need to be addressed include:

-The exam syllabus

-Ethics in the profession

-The size and structure of Council

-Value for money in respect of subscriptions

-Working more closely with CCAB

-Improving relations with ICAS

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Domain Name

In order to improve the accessibility of this site, and to reflect the fact that this site is being used for an open discussion of ICAEW policy and strategy, I have purchased the domain name www.icaew.info

The current domain name www.stopthemerger.org will still function. However, as from Monday, the new one will also direct you to this site.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Institute Website Down

Following on from a report yesterday that the ICAEW was having more than a few problems with its revamped website, it appears that the whole site has crashed today.

Hardly the professional image that a modern 21st organisation should be projecting.

Didn't anyone run a thorough Beta test first, before going live with the new site?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Hold The ICAEW To Account

Dennis Howlett has suggested that the ICAEW should set up their own blog or public forum, where members of the ICAEW could post their views on issues that concern them and hold the ICAEW (in particular the executive) to account for their actions.

I think that this is a very good idea.

However, I don't think that it stands a cat in hells chance of happening.

The ICAEW, during the merger debacle, showed that they did not wish to be held to account; they most certainly did not respond to any of the emails that I sent them about the merger.

Do you really think that they will allow their actions and policies to be opened up to public debate and discussion, and openly engage with the membership?

Monday, March 20, 2006

CIMA Steals a March on The ICAEW

In January I noted that ACCA had pipped the ICAEW to the post by a year, by introducing an exam on ethics.

It seems that CIMA are also going down the same route. The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants has launched revisions to its qualification, the Certificate of Business Accounting, which is designed to develop the fundamental skills and techniques.

This includes modules ranging from business economics and financial accounting through to ethics, corporate governance and business law.

Robert Jelly, Director of Education, emphasises the focus on ethics.

The ICAEW were to introduce their new syllabus this year, which included a separate exam on ethics, unfortunately owing to unspecified problems the new syllabus will not go live until 2007.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Logical Paradox

Last year the leadership of the ICAEW were trying to persuade us that members of CIPFA and CIMA were our professional equals, and that we should merge into one body.

Having failed to push the merger vote through, this year they announce a new initiative to enable members of the ACCA, CIMA and CIPFA to qualify for membership; provided that they have at least five years of professional experience, and pass an entrance examination equivalent to the advanced case study set for ACA finalists.

Do these two policies not strike you as being somewhat contradictory?

How can in 2005 the ICAEW push for members of CIPFA and CIMA to merge with the ICAEW, without the need for an exam, yet this year they need to sit an exam?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Counter Points

Martin Waller, of The Times, has written a short and pithy piece about the name change and merger issues in today's edition.

Visit Counter Points, and scroll down to read it.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

CIPFA and CIMA Secret Discussions

I understand that, contrary to the media spin being pumped out by the ICAEW that merger plans are for the moment not being pursued in the immediate future (taken to be up to the end of 2007), Eric Anstee has already had meetings with both CIPFA and CIMA over the last few weeks with a view to restarting merger negotiations.

Any further information on these meetings would be much appreciated.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Name Change Aborted

In a remarkable volte-face, it seems that the ICAEW has abandoned plans to change its name to the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

A spokesman for the English institute is quoted in The Herald as saying that the proposal had been scrapped "after consultation with members."

This is odd considering the fact that Eric Anstee had announced that, despite the merger vote fiasco, he was going to go ahead with the change of name anyway.

I wonder if this particular U turn has more to do with the opposition from ICAS, other professional bodies and politicians, rather than the views of the members of the ICAEW?

Whatever the reason, it is yet another humiliating defeat for the current leadership of the ICAEW.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Price of Failure

Eric Anstee, CEO of the ICAEW, gave an interview to Accountacy Age in which he "explained" the reason for the failed merger attempt with CIPFA last year.

He cited the findings of the recent MORI poll conducted by the ICAEW, and paid for by the membership, noting that 33% of the members who voted no did so because they knew that the value of their qualification would be diminished.

This finding is hardly surprising, given the fact that this was one of the arguments put forward against the merger time and time again.

I fail to understand why the ICAEW felt it necessary to pay for a poll to tell them what was already well known.

Anstee's conclusion is that the "message" that the ICAEW was trying to deliver to the members was not "getting across".

This being the case I would like to ask, who was responsible for delivering the message?

Answer: The leadership of the ICAEW.

Indeed I would note that they even hired Media Strategy, a controversial PR company that had left its own professional body, to get that "message across". This was of course at great expense to the membership of the ICAEW.

The merger vote cost the membership of the ICAEW £1.4M.

The leadership now claim that it failed because the message was not "getting across", despite the fact that they put a lot of effort and money into getting their "message across", it is still in denial.

Responsibility for this costly failure clearly lies with the leadership of the ICAEW.

The ICAEW does not need another vote, but a radical overhaul and change of the leadership; ie those who failed should go.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Here We Go Again!

It seems, that if reports in Accountancy Age are to be believed, Eric Anstee is preparing to make yet another merger attempt with CIPFA before the end of 2007.

It also seems, from the quote in the Accountancy Age article, that he wants to "service all the members".

One very literal interpretation of the word "service" is "f**k", I wonder if he is trying to tell us something?

Views anyone?

Friday, February 10, 2006

MORI Poll

Isn't it about time that the results of the ICAEW MORI poll into the failed merger attempt were released?

After all, we the members paid for it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Challenge Of Council

If the report in today's Taking Stock is anything to go by, some members of ICAEW council appear to have better things to do with their time than to pay attention during council meetings.

TS reports that one council member was seen the playing with a Sudoku puzzle during a meeting.

The fact that a member of council evidently finds the meeting irrelevant, illustrates the point that I have been making for some time; namely that the current structure and size of council is inappropriate for the 21st century.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Closed Shop

Accountancy Age report that the ICAEW has named three candidates up for election as the institute's vice-president.

David Furst, Dennis Cox and Hilary Lindsay have applied for the role.

The successful candidate serves in the position for a year, before serving as deputy president for the same term, and then president the year after.

Two questions:

1 When were the nomination lists opened, and publicised, to the membership?

2 Why are the members, as a whole, not allowed to vote?

This does really rather resemble a closed shop, hardly the best structure for an organisation that claims that it wishes to be at the forefront of the profession in the 21st century!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Supersize Me!

The front page of today's Accountancy Age again reports on that most well publicised, and poorly kept, secret namely that the ICAEW are pressing ahead with plans to integrate with the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA).

IFA have only 9000 members, and are allegedly embroiled in something of an internal spat amongst themselves over accusations of disciplinary issues within the upper echelons of their leadership.

Needless to say, if the documents that Accountancy Age claim to have are anything to go by, the ICAEW are not put off by the damage to our reputation and credibility that the association with IFA will do to us.

They appear to be carrying on "full steam ahead" to bring IFA on board.

Their rationale being that size matters, and that the integration will address the falling student and membership numbers.

When will the ICAEW realise it is not size that matters, but quality?

Additionally, does it not occur to the ICAEW that the reason for the falling student numbers is the fact that they are unable to provide a syllabus that is relevant to the 21st century?

In fact, as their botched introduction of the 2006 syllabus shows, they are not able to provide a syllabus at all!

We kicked the absurd idea to merge with CIPFA into touch, and we will most certainly do the same with this ridiculous plan.

One small thing that the leadership of the ICAEW seem to have forgotten, is that they have yet to tell the membership of their plans.

This despite the fact that the talks, allegedly, have been going on for at least six months.

Indeed the plans allow for IFA becoming a "fallback" body for failed chartered accountants, especially CIMA and ACCA failures, under what the ICAEW term a "confederation".

Star Trek this is not!

Happy with this?

Proud of your institute?

I am most certainly not!

MORI

My compliments to F G Fitzgerald, who's letter appears in today's Accountancy Age.

The letter makes the very obvious point that paying MORI to poll us is a daft way to waste money, given the fact that the ICAEW could simply email all the members with a questionnaire.

How free and easy the ICAEW are with our money!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ethics et al

I am not alone in banging the ethical drum.

See The Wisdom of Compassion.

Ethics impact everything that we, the profession, touch; yet the ICAEW has postponed the ethics exam.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Listening Institute

The Herald reports that the controversial plan for a name change of the ICAEW have not been mothballed.

The report notes that the ICAEW is waiting to hear the outcome of the MORI poll that it is conducting with some of the membership.

The article states:

"A spokesman for the ICAEW admitted, however, that the application will not be lodged before the body knows the results of a members' poll by Mori on the ICAEW's recent failed merger with public sector accountants' body CIPFA.

He said: "We will not do anything until we know what they (ICAEW members) think about it." .
.."

Does this sudden desire by the ICAEW to listen to its members mark a change in policy of the Institute, or is this merely a face saving exercise to avoid yet another embarrassing defeat when the Privy Council rejects the proposal?

It is a pity that the ICAEW ignored the members last year, when it spent £1.4M on trying to persuade us to merge with CIPFA.

Comments, as always, welcome.

Friday, January 13, 2006

What a Shambles!

It seems that the leadership of the ICAEW are intent on digging an even deeper grave for themselves this year.

Hot on the heels of the well deserved trouncing they received for trying to bully us into merging with CIPFA, they then managed to further destroy the ICAEW's reputation by delaying the introduction of the new syllabus, and most importantly the ethics module, for 2006.

Not content with wasting our money on a futile MORI poll asking us why we voted against the merger, don't they read or listen? The ICAEW now intends to add to its ever growing list of strategic and management failures.

Accountancy Age report that the Privy Council will block the proposed name change, which had so angered ICAS and other professional bodies around the world.

This in itself speaks volumes about the quality of leadership at the helm of the ICAEW. However, in case there is any room left for doubt, Accountancy Age also report that the proposed merger with IFA (the merger that ICAEW have yet to officially tell us, the membership, about) may be entering rather choppy waters.

Astute readers will note that IFA have a membership of 9000, it is a body that is even smaller than CIPFA. Yet, in order to prove its machismo, the ICAEW are now seemingly intent on merging with anything no matter how small.

It seems that there are allegations that senior members of IFA may be facing suspension for disciplinary offences.

How will that improve the reputatation of the ICAEW?

Here are few questions that we all need to mull over:
  • When will we be rid of this shambolic leadership?


  • When will the ICAEW learn that it is here to serve the interests of the membership, not the other way around?


  • When will that Victorian anachronistic structure known as Council be removed from office?
Failure to address these issues will see the end of the ICAEW as a legitimate force and respected brand within the profession.

I don't want to see that happen, neither do the rest of the membership. The time for the membership to take control of the ICAEW is now.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

MORI Poll

Has anyone had a call from MORI yet, regarding the reasons as to why the merger failed?

If anyone has been polled by MORI, please could they drop me a line with a summary of the questions being asked.

Thanks.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

ACCA Steals A March On The ICAEW

The ACCA have announced that prospective ACCA's will be required to sit a new ethics exam.

The subject will be examined for the first time in December 2007.

The ethics module will comprise an exam on ethics, tailored practical experience and an online module presenting students with real-life ethical dilemmas.

Clare Minchington, managing director of education, training and development at ACCA, is quoted by Accountancy Age as saying:

"After the accounting scandals of recent years, it's vital for the accountants and financial professionals of tomorrow to be equipped to operate in an industry subject to such close scrutiny.

Our new qualification prepares the way for the professional accountant and I am especially delighted with the online ethics module because it's the first of its kind
."

I couldn't agree more.

It is worthwhile remembering that the ICAEW were to introduce an ethics paper in 2006, and would have been able to show that they were the leading institute in the field of ethics and a leader of the profession.

Yet as I can personally attest to, I was asked to an interview for the position of Ethics examiner, the ICAEW failed in their attempt to manage this and have ended up having to postpone their revamped syllabus.

See "Chaos At The ICAEW" for the background on this.

It is sad to say, but the leadership of the ICAEW are failing the membership and the profession.

It is time for a radical change.

Step one, reduce ths size of council to no more than 12.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Financial Power List

I am sure that you will be as amused as I am to read that Accountancy Age have placed me on their Financial Power List for 2006.

I am 11th on their list of the top 50 of "The Ones To Watch". The list identifies the "most influential names to look out for" in the world of finance for 2006.

I stand shoulder to shoulder with such illustrious names as:

-Dave Hartnett HMRC Director (1st)
-Gordon Brown (6th)
-Eric Anstee CEO of the ICAEW (joint 11th)
-Sir Christopher Hogg Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council (17th)

I am sure that Eric is pleased to see that he tied with me:)

Quote:

"Frost, whose idiosyncratic blogs lit up 2005 when pooh-poohing ICAEW strategy, is expected to carry on with added zeal in 2006".

They aren't wrong there!