Friday, February 17, 2006

The Price of Failure

Eric Anstee, CEO of the ICAEW, gave an interview to Accountacy Age in which he "explained" the reason for the failed merger attempt with CIPFA last year.

He cited the findings of the recent MORI poll conducted by the ICAEW, and paid for by the membership, noting that 33% of the members who voted no did so because they knew that the value of their qualification would be diminished.

This finding is hardly surprising, given the fact that this was one of the arguments put forward against the merger time and time again.

I fail to understand why the ICAEW felt it necessary to pay for a poll to tell them what was already well known.

Anstee's conclusion is that the "message" that the ICAEW was trying to deliver to the members was not "getting across".

This being the case I would like to ask, who was responsible for delivering the message?

Answer: The leadership of the ICAEW.

Indeed I would note that they even hired Media Strategy, a controversial PR company that had left its own professional body, to get that "message across". This was of course at great expense to the membership of the ICAEW.

The merger vote cost the membership of the ICAEW £1.4M.

The leadership now claim that it failed because the message was not "getting across", despite the fact that they put a lot of effort and money into getting their "message across", it is still in denial.

Responsibility for this costly failure clearly lies with the leadership of the ICAEW.

The ICAEW does not need another vote, but a radical overhaul and change of the leadership; ie those who failed should go.


  1. Ken,

    Perhaps you, or someone you know, could devise and implement a 'popularity' poll for (a) Eric A, and (b) ICAEW Council.

    Both are likely to be massively popular with ICAS, ACCA and CIMA, so participants should disclose their qualifications.

    I met and old FCA friend earlier this month and I was amazed how vitriolic was his condemnation of Eric. Do at least 30,000 members think Eric should resign now? We can be very sure Eric has not the stomach do find out. If Eric doesn't believe in democracy then MAC have to play a really rough game.

    All discussions with other institutes involving permanent association with ICAEW should cease immediately.

    ICAEW will, in my opinion, never fully recover from the damage already done; but if the current stupidity of Eric and "his" Council is not resolved by the coming AGM (never mind 2007) then ICAEW will rapidly become an historical "has been" from within and without.

  2. Ken,

    Apologies for the spelling in my last post

  3. Ken, surely your position of joint 11th with Anstee should entitle you to equal press coverage !

  4. Ken - as you know I alreadsy believe the ICAEW is in deep trouble. This does nothing to improve things.

  5. Ken,

    If you have not already done so I sugest you copy your well-crafted comment as a letter to Accountancy Age.

  6. Thanks Anon, copies have been sent to the FT, Accountancy and Accountancy Age.

    It would be nice if the leadership of the ICAEW did not "hog" the media limelight on this.


  7. It looks like our leadership feels that there is enough support in the next round to get the merger through.

    Having say that, I wonder what it needs to fire the whole group of hot heads who continue to waste our time and money on areas that are of no relevance to members.

  8. For info:

    Accountancy was the Journal of the old "Incorporated Society" and they only retained their designatory letters for some 10 years post merging.

    Eric makes many statements without caring if they are true. Also when irked he doesn't act with professional courtesty and decorum.

  9. All Anstee has to do is to say that he is against the merger.

    Then the grass roots will automatically campaign for a merger.

  10. As the price of failure Eric will probably get a substantial bonus.

  11. Ken,

    Great to read your letter in AA today (24/2/05) - only sorry that the comment on Media Strategy was shortened.

    I think the tide has turned againt Eric and will reach tsunami proportion - but then the Institute will be damaged beyond repair. Any man of honour would resign now.