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

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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.


  1. AICPA is always forward looking. That’s why AICPA has already started to develop a global business credential (something similar to MBA) which compliment to the CPA designation in the United States with partner institutes across the major countries.
    A New Credential
    for a New Economy

    In today’s evolving global marketplace, there is a growing demand for skilled strategists who draw upon a wide array of competencies to provide solutions that create wealth and a competitive edge for businesses. Responding to this need, the American Institute of CPAs and an international consortium of professional organizations have proposed a global business credential (also referred to by the placeholder name, XYZ). Honoring the CPA profession’s 100+ year tradition of quality and integrity, this visionary new badge of excellence would complement current credentials and validate the holder’s breadth of strategic business ability, experience and commitment to ethics, professional standards and continuous learning across disciplines.
    In essence, the proposed global business credential would stand for broad-based knowledge, much like an MBA does today, and add in the professional rigor associated with the CPA (code of ethics, defined competency set, relevant work experience, continuous learning and re-assessment, rigorous examination). Its requirements are clearly rooted in the values and traditions of the CPA profession. Moreover, these requirements would be consistent from country to country. As a result, the global business credential would signify the same professional quality and level of expertise wherever and whenever it is used, and would not be dependent on the reputation of any particular academic program. Potential credential holders would have to earn their way through a system as rigorous as the one associated with the CPA profession, including passing an admission exam as psychometrically stringent as the CPA exam, but not focused on A&A.
    In addition, credential holders would be members of a global organization dedicated to ensuring that its members are aware of emerging practices necessary for success in a rapidly changing world. They would have access to an online worldwide knowledge resource, as well as a unique network of elite professionals across the globe.

  2. Professor Martin Walker is a Leeds United supporter. ICAEW is useless as a competitor since they give away countless penalties and own goals. New management is vital.

  3. This is all nonsense - if you look at what's happened in the US, MBAs are now frowned upon.

  4. If you are the interviewer and several interviewees comming to attend an interview, one is having a Chartered or CPA certification with a bachelor degree and the second one has got a CPA with MBA degree and third one has nothing besides NVQ. Who do you think will be frowned upon or the weakest link?

    Be realistic we are all living in a competitive world.

  5. Eric Anstee has very effectively done for the ICAEW what Gerald Ratner did for his chain of high street jewellers in 1991.

    The differece is Gerald, as a trader, spoke the truth in a moment of aberration; whereas, Eric did not, or chose not, to even see the truth.

    Gerald Ratner had to go and Eric Anstee's army will have been at least decimated since the 25/10/05 result. Conjecture, yes; but almost certainly fact.

  6. To 6:15am

    I would go for the person who has the required spec i.e. ACCA, ACA etc and the experience required to perform the required tasks.

    If someone walks into my office with an alphabet and MBA after his/her name but no experience, they would be the weakest link.

    Letters, no matter what they are; ACCA, ACA, CPA whatever, only prove that person has sat in a classroom and passed a theory test, granted, a hard theory test but experience is what people really pay for.

  7. I am sorry that you don't even have a chance to go into the interview room if you don't possess the minimum professional qualification requirements such as ACCA, ACA, CIPFA or CPA no matter what experience you had (or bluff to had) gained.

  8. Can anyone get a CA designation after one’s name without working experience in accounting?
    No, all potential CA candidates must be working under mentor of CA in practice/professional environment.

    Why do we need to have professional institutes to confer designation as ACA, ACCA, CIPFA or CPA? It is in fact a standard whereby to provide assurance to employers that members of their bodies have acquired the body of knowledge and undergone necessary training to perform the task normally expected of a competent accountant.


    Hudson has resigned from the ICAS.

  10. Martin Walker BA PhD does not have an MBA nor is he a qualified accountant. As a professor he is entitled, and even expected, to push any MBA emanating from his own department.

    Eric Anstee pushed CIMA and CIPFA and has now added ACCA and even IFA. He did not mention ICAI, he upset more ICAEW members than the total ICAS membership whom he also gratuitously insulted.

    That AccountancyAge is so gullible as to print without critical review is yet another matter.

  11. Des Hudson maintained and improved the solidarity of ICAS members and also increased their student numbers.

    Oh Eric! What have you done?

  12. "experience required to perform the required tasks".

  13. Whether AICPA or ICAEW/ICAS/ICAI never speak of “experience” but “competency”, do you know why?

    Perhaps you are still living in the seventeenth century before the industrialization occur but I am sure the AICPA guys are living in the new economy age. In a dynamic economy and rapidly changes working environment I can assure you that what experience you got today will be totally obsolete six months later. No longer ago in late 1980/early 1990 when we were still using word perfect/word star to do the word processing tasks but nowadays both software have been abandoned.

    That partly explains the role play by professional institutes such as AICPA and ICAs in demanding their members to comply with the continuing professional development requirements in order to keep up with the latest technology, people management skills, business strategy or performance measurements development.

  14. Anon 11.18

    Sheer bilge. Half a century ago businesses operated using the typewriter, the UK postal system was efficient, and it was considered a matter of courtesy to respond to letters the day they were received. Most people had a good command of language.

    The hand-held electronic calculator had not yet been invented and most accountants were deft at using mental arithmetic. The calculator I still use today was purchased in 1981.

    The banks functioned superbly well with keyboard accounting machines but punched card machines and computers were rare in any business in England and Wales.

    Then, as now, the Ancient Greek Mathematicians were regarded as fellows of another college and not just clever schoolboys. UK degrees were, without exception, well regarded.

    In the last 5 decades crimes of violence and fraud have escalated, society has become ruder and more inconsiderate, the standard of education has fallen dramatically, and accountants are no longer steeped in integrity and ethics. Recent events in the US (as elsewhere) demonstrate the crass incompetence and outright dishonesty of business leaders and their accountants and auditors.

    On the other hand, I agree that there have been major advances in many fields and CPD is important.

  15. What are you talking about? Are you writing a history book? What CPD has to do with the crime rate "In the last 5 decades crimes of violence and fraud have escalated......" I can get my head around of what you wish to tell us?

  16. I assume you are a foreigner and did not type what you meant to. Of course anybody with poor English may experience difficulty in comprehension.

  17. It's not a comprehension problem nor poor English but the one who wrote about "In the last 5 decades crimes of violence and fraud have escalated......" has mental disorder problem.

  18. The removal of Hudson from the ICAS is great news for MAC.

    Hopefully the next ICAS CEO will be more sympathetic to a merger with ICAEW. Remember – merge like with like.

  19. Hudson is an English solicitor who is reported to be taking up a similar ( too good to refuse) post with the Law Society in London.

    ICAS and ICAEW are, in my opinion, only likely to become further apart, except for a major change of policy and personnel at ICAEW.

    I wish Hudson well. He has more nouse than Anstee and the ICAEW council combined.

  20. ICAS possess self belief. Unlike ICAEW they have shown no wish to merge with sundry bodies.

  21. Re "The removal of Hudson from the ICAS is great news for MAC.

    Hopefully the next ICAS CEO will be more sympathetic to a merger with ICAEW. Remember – merge like with like."

    The last time that ICAS voted on proposals for merging with ICAEW was before Des was CEO.

    I would also note that relations with ICAS soured in the last year as a result of the actions by the ICAEW Council and "leadership" re the name issue.

    It is the ICAEW that have damaged their chances of merging with ICAS.

    Do not blame Des Hudson.

  22. Ken,

    Why would ICAS merge with ICAEW? It would in effect be a takeover.

    However, the REMOVAL of Anstee would allow working together with ICAS and other CHARTERED bodies.

    Get rid of your rose tinted specs. It does not pay to be the only one who is right.

  23. "It does not pay to be the only one who is right."


  24. Ken,

    You have the strong view that 12 is the ideal number of ICAEW Council members. You may well be right but nonone else has said that and you know there is no chance.

    As regards the ICAS merger, now their financial difficulties are behind them, it would be a miracle if you could find many, or even any, ICAS supporters. After the recent merger and name fiasco they know their position.

  25. I have just read that the Manchester MBA is a specialised Financial MBA.

    One CIMA guy remarked "coals to Newcastle".

    Here endeth the lesson on Professor Walker.

  26. Simon Cheung , 25 April 2006 @ 09:15 AM [Edit] [Remove]
    South Africa Independent Board for Auditors
    In South Africa a new independent regulatory board has been established whereby all person whether belonging to SA Chartered Accountants Body or not and even those don’t possess any formal accounting qualification must be registered with this board for engaging in public audit practice.

    Registration of both individuals and firms as registered auditors is effected under sections 37 and 38 of the Auditing Profession Act, 26 of 2005 (“the Act”). Termination of such registration is dealt with under section 39 of the Act, and renewal of registration under section 40 of the Act.

    In UK the national identity card legislation has passed in which all citizens must be registered with the UK Identity and Passport Service whereas persons who engage in audit practice and providing professional services to the general public could escape from the registration requirements. What a shame.

  27. Ken,

    "However, the REMOVAL of Anstee would allow working together with ICAS and other CHARTERED bodies."

    That suggestion made at 10.35 AM has now been 50% implemented (A-Age 27/4/06).

    It was not a clever move. It was, as already stated above, obvious. Anstee deserves no credit at all for being so slow witted and he will continue with his outrageous mismanagement unless he is dismissed. He remains interested in consolidation with CIPFA and CIMA which can only damage ICAEW and The New Alliance.

    Why does Anstee have to speak to GAA members about these merger plans - because he cannot ever admit he was wrong and his face has to be saved.

    Get shot of Anstee.