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 The decline in “youthful” members is surely down to the decline in the attractiveness of the qualification, and the out of date “fuddy duddy” image of the ICAEW.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.


  1. A very useful website.

    The ICAEW members have been badly let down by the ICAEW Council over the years. The problem we think is that the President is not elected democratically by its members. The President is elected by other Council members. The main attribute is that he has never stepped out of line. This creates an attitude in which any proposals by a President tend to passed unanimously because no one wishes to be seen to be rocking the boat.

    We believe that any Council Member should be able to nominate himself/herself for President and produce a manifesto. If there is more than one applicant then the members should vote at the AGM.

    Dr Jeff Wooller (ICAEW Ginger Group not officially approved by the ICAEW)

  2. Thanks for your comments Jeff.

    In addition to stopping the merger, I feel that this site will be a useful platform on which to discuss and develop ideas for improving the ICAEW.

    All contributions are welcome.