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!


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


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.


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:)


"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!