Thursday, December 30, 2004

Ignore The Past at Your Peril

The recent news that the ICAEW merger proposal has been put on hold, pending further "discussions" with CIMA, should come as no surprise.

I refer to an article in Accountancy Age that appeared on the 23rd of September 2004.

In summary, the article noted that CIMA had thrown out the merger proposals in July. Consent was only given, at a special meeting held in September, to "consult" and negotiate further; ie they did not agree to proceed with a merger.

It seems that at the time, some CIMA council members were "furious" about the merger announcement in September.

Given the above, it is surely no surprise that CIMA have again rejected the idea of merging.

What is surprising, and very disappointing, is that the Council of the ICAEW have continued to waste time and members' money; on protracted discussions and expensive presentations in promoting an idea that is clearly not welcomed.

Would it not be better for the Council of the ICAEW to address the so called "demographic time bomb" directly, by identifying the causes of a falling membership; instead of sweeping them under the carpet by way of a merger?

Views anyone?

Thursday, December 23, 2004

CIMA Blocks Merger

Further to yesterday's announcement, that the merger plans need to be reworked; it is reported in Accountancy Age that CIMA have in effect said no to merging.

One CIMA council member told Accountancy Age:

"We approached this honestly from the start and said we would be in favour of consolidating the profession, but we are not prepared to accept CIMA being subsumed into the ICAEW along with everything management accounting stands for."

Accountancy Age identify several sticking points:

  • Having The Institute of Chartered Accountants as the new name for the merged body

  • Increased fees for CIMA members

  • An electoral process that was deemed likely to produce an ICAEW-dominated council

The name issue, as already reported, is not just of concern to CIMA but also to the Scottish Institute.

I wonder if the ICAEW Council could better use their time by addressing the "demographic time bomb" by revamping the ICAEW, rather than sweeping the issue under the carpet by way of a merger.

Views anyone?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Newsflash...No News As Yet

The joint statment has finally been released, one day later than promised, by ICAEW/CIPFA/CIMA.

"Proposals to consolidate the accountancy profession were reconfirmed by the Councils of CIMA, CIPFA and ICAEW at their meetings in December.

CIMA Council decided that the detailed proposition presented to each Council needed further work but agreed to continue with discussions

Roland Kaye, CIMA President, said:

A huge amount of effort has gone into defining the shape of the new Institute. Each organisation has distinct strengths and defined interests and it is important to get the proposals absolutely right. Our Council concluded that the current proposals did not yet recognise the distinctiveness of CIMA.”

The talks will continue, and a further detailed proposition will be reconsidered by all three Councils. If the Councils vote in favour, then this will lead to a member vote in the summer of 2005.

The timetable is slipping, the original vote was planned for Spring 2005.

It looks as though CIMA are not yet on board. So, it seems that the merger proposals need to be worked on more; before they are given to the members to vote on.

Where's The Announcement?

Accountancy Age reported last week that with the conclusion of the ICAEW Council meeting on the 20th of December, the last of the three professional bodies to meet, the three would issue a joint statement on the 21st of December.


"No details will be made public until a further joint announcement on 21 December..".

I have trawled through the three websites of ICAEW, CIMA and CIPFA and cannot find any such announcement.

Is it possible that the vote, at the ICAEW on Monday, did not produce the result that the drivers of this merger proposal were wanting?

If anyone can provide me with information as to what happened at the meeting, I would be very grateful.

Thank you.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Other Views

To read the views of others, about the ICAEW merger proposal, please visit other views.

Council Decides

The Council of the ICAEW will decide today as to whether they will take their merger plans to the membership of the ICAEW for a vote.

I would venture to suggest that this is a strange date to pick, being so close to Christmas.

How many members of the Council will actually turn up today and vote?

Would it not have been better to vote after Christmas?

Friday, December 17, 2004

ICAS Wades In

It seems that ICAS (The Scottish Institute) is more than a little "peeved" at Eric Anstee's, chief executive of the ICAEW, proposed name for the merged institute.

He wants to call it The Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Not surprisingly ICAS, which claims to be the oldest institute, is having none of this. They are threatening to take the matter to court, if the merger proposal ever gets as far as deciding on a name.

It seems to me that if basic questions, such as "what do we call ourselves?", have not been adequately addressed and thought through; then the proposal as a whole must be regarded as being highly suspect.

The full article on the ICAS/ICAEW fight can be read in Accountancy Age.

Members Oppose Merger

Accountancy Age conducted survey, during the second half of 2004, in which it asked if people were in favour of the merger.

Over 70% of those ICAEW members who took part were against the merger.

Eric Anstee, ICAEW chief executive, rather bizarrely stated that the results were "encouraging".

I wonder what he would consider to be discouraging?

He noted that the question was not fair, as the there had been no strategic business case put forward at the time.

He reportedly told Accountancy Age:

"If and when we put a proposition to our members, we will only do so if we believe a compelling strategic and business case supports the rationale for consolidation."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Spread The Word

I would like to ask everyone who visits this site, to spread the word about its existence.

Please tell your friends and colleagues, whether they are members of the ICAEW or not, about

I would also be very grateful if you could draw the media's attention to this site. A list of the addresses, and direct email links, of UK media organisations can be found on

Many thanks.

Ken Frost

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Don't Dilute The Brand

My professional body, the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW), will be launching yet another campaign to persuade its 126,000 members to approve a merger with two other accountancy bodies in the UK (CIPFA and CIMA).

The ICAEW ruling council argue that:
  • The demographic skew of the ICAEW means that by 2023, half the membership will be over 55. The merger, in their view, will inject young blood into this dying organisation.

  • The merged body will be larger, and better equipped to address the issues facing accountants in the 21st century.

  • The merged body will be able to stand up to the UK’s other accountancy body, the ACCA. The ACCA is, for reasons that remain unclear, not participating in the merger talks.

  • The ICAEW argue that we have been down this route so many times before, there have been several merger attempts in the past that have been vetoed by the membership, that it is now time to make up our minds once and for all; ie vote yes.
To quote Margaret Thatcher:


The arguments put forward represent the same, tired old mantra recited by previous ICAEW councils. They failed then, and they will fail again to convince the membership that a merger is a good idea.

We, the members of the ICAEW, do not want or need a merger of incompatible bodies. The merger will “dilute the brand value” of the FCA qualification.

Rather like a poorly conceived marriage; forcing unequal, ill suited partners together is a recipe for disaster.

The membership of the ICAEW have strived long and hard to achieve their qualifications; yet the council of the ICAEW seek to fritter away the labour of years, like a gambler “blowing his salary” at the dog track. To accept the merger would, in effect, consign the members’ efforts to the dustbin of history.

To hand over control of the governing council of the ICAEW to a new body, will denude the current membership of its right to veto who can become an accountant.

The council has wasted far too much time and money over the years, in trying to persuade the members to vote for a merger. The time has come to stop this disgraceful waste of members’ subscriptions, and stop the merger juggernaut once and for all in its tracks.

The argument about demographics is spurious, and indeed a sad indictment on the “management” by the council of the ICAEW. The decline in “youthful” members is surely down to the decline in the attractiveness of the qualification, and the out of date “fuddy duddy” image of the ICAEW. These issues should be directly addressed by the council, not swept under the carpet in the guise of a merger.

Diluting the brand is not the way to address the fundamental problems facing the ICAEW.

Vote no to the merger.