The ICAEW, having failed to dilute the brand by merging, has found another way to dilute it. This time via the old trick of dumbing down the exams, and extending time period needed to qualify.
Rob Lewis quotes Raymond Madden, the Institute's executive director of learning and development:
"Instead we said you can take as long as you like, but you can only attempt each paper a maximum number of four times.
Theoretically you could do one paper a year and take fifteen years, but the chances are you wouldn't get a job with a firm. The market manages [the time-bar] for us."
"We are more flexible than we used to be..."
Lewis notes that the 12 papers that need to be sat at the professional stage can be taken anywhere in the world by home-studiers, who have never done a day's accounting in their life.
Students can take exams at their own convenience.
The desire of the ICAEW to grow in size is undermining the value of the qualification.
The ICAEW should remember that strength comes from quality, not quantity.