Friday, October 27, 2006

The Izzaq

Never let it be said that accountants take themselves too seriously.

In the spirit of a little light hearted fun, I have set up a "book" on the chances of Michael Izza still being in office by the end of June 2007.

Those of you who wish to take a punt, or want to see how others rate his chances, please visit The Izzaq.

Michael, I hope you will be placing a wager?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Worst Kept Secret

The ICAEW have now officially confirmed what everyone already knew, namely that Michael Izza will become CEO of the ICAEW:

"Michael Izza has been appointed as the next chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW)

He succeeds Eric Anstee who announced his retirement earlier in the year. Izza will take up his role on 6 December 2006.

Michael Izza is currently chief operating officer, executive director and a board member at the ICAEW, the largest professional accounting body in Europe and a £62 million income organisation representing 128,000 members.

Amongst his many achievements, Michael has played a major role in the development of the Institute's current strategy as well as driving forward the operational plan. Michael has also been responsible together with other executive directors for the day-to-day running of the ICAEW. Since January 2004 he has acted as deputy to the chief executive

Judging from the above, it seems that there will be no change to the current course that the ICAEW embarked upon under Eric Anstee. I will watch developments with interest.

To read the full release go to ICAEW CEO Appointed.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Confidential Plan

You may recall that last November I wrote about rumours that the ICAEW were considering merging with the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA).

It seems that these rumours had some substance to them.

I understand that in July 2005 there was a report to the members of council of IFA from Michael O'Brien Chairman of IFA, and in November 2005 there was a confidential report to IFA Council members about a meeting between Michael O'Brien, J Malcolm Dean (CEO of IFA), Eric Anstee (CEO of ICAEW) and Les Smith (Head of the Executive Office of ICAEW).

The subject of these two reports?

Progress on discussions on collaboration between the ICAEW, IFA and the International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB).

Seemingly IFA and IAB would agree to affiliate to the ICAEW (to be renamed ICA - post merger with CIPFA). IFA and IAB would then become subsidiaries of the ICAEW, and agree to a common management with the ICAEW.

IFA and IAB would morph into one organisation which would affiliate to the ICAEW. However, there would be two routes to membership (IFA and IAB) and a new class of membership of IFA "Bookkeeper".

The two brands within the new IFA would be controlled by the newly formed ICA council. The November report emphasises that the two brands were seen as "routes", or "qualifications", to membership of the one overarching organisation - the ICA and its affiliate IFA.

It is spelt out that:

"a student can qualify as a bookkeeper via IAB, and thus enter membership of the IFA, and can continue to increase their skills, experience and qualifications to the point at which they can become a full audit member of the ICA."

IFA would have acted as a "feeder body" for the ICAEW, it also seems that IFA/IAB would have pressed for IFA qualifications to be granted exemption for fast track entry to ICA.

All IFA and IAB staff would also have been offered a job within ICA.

I wonder when the ICAEW council were going to tell the membership of the ICAEW about this plan?

Needless to say, this is all past history now. The best laid plans of mice and men etc.

After all, there is no way that the ICAEW would try to foist another merger on its long suffering membership.

Is there?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Absent Minded Anstee

The ICAEW has announced that new group will be formed to support over 8,000 of its members who work, or have an interest, in the public sector.

Seemingly the ICAEW will pay CIPFA to provide these services. Eric Anstee is quoted by Accountancy Age as bemoaning the fact that if the merger had gone ahead:

"we would have kept the qualification separate and made cost savings".

In other words, he is blaming the failed merger for the costs of this project.

The trouble with this argument, is that it conveniently ignores the £1.42M of our money that the ICAEW bunker wasted on the failed merger attempt.

Funny he forgot that!

Friday, October 06, 2006

What Price The Presidency?

On Thursday the ICAEW council voted down a proposal to pay future council presidents £100,000 for holding office.

The FD states that the vote was close, 23 votes to 22, with "a number of abstentions".

Given that there are around 100 members of council, either there were a hell of a lot of abstentions or else a large number of council members did not bother to attend the meeting.

Why do we need a council of 100, when so many of them do not actually attend key votes such as this?

The FD reports that one member had argued that paying the president would send a bad message to members.


Council member Alan Livesey then suggested that the vote should be retaken later, as some council members left the meeting before the vote was taken.

To repeat:

Why do we need a council of 100, when many of them do not actually attend key votes such as this?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Coup Within The ICAEW Bunker?

I read with interest, and a degree of amusement, the article in Accountancy Age that stated that new ICAEW Council members have actually had the "stones" to criticise the current ICAEW structure.

Seemingly they believe that the ICAEW Council is "parochial", "ill defined" and should be slimmed down.

Correct me if I am wrong, but have I not been arguing for this over the last two years on this site?

As long ago as March 2005 I published this article "Best In Class", arguing for a slimmed down version of council.

Could this report indicate that there stirs within the hearts of some members of council the desire to actually listen to what the membership say?

Maybe the residents to the ICAEW bunker, who have for so long jealously guarded the out of date Victorian structure of the ICAEW, are facing a coup. They will find themselves having to finally accept the fact that the ICAEW, if it is to be fit for purpose for the 21st century, will have to cut council down to size and reorganise along the lines that I have been arguing for during the past two years.

We shall see.

Nonetheless, it is at least encouraging to see that some members of council are reading this site and finally taking on board the message that I have been repeating ad nauseam for the last two years.