Monday, November 19, 2007

AIA Launches Forum and Blog

The Association of International Accountants (AIA) has launched a public discussion forum on its website (ahead of the ICAEW's plans for something similar), and a personal blog by the CEO Philip Turnbull which is accessible to all members of the public.

I wish them well with these innovations.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

EC Books Failed For 13th Year Running

Accountancy Age reports that the European Court of Auditors has refused to sign off the European Commission's books for the 13th year in a row, citing a "lack of supervision" and "irregularities" in its accounts.

The audit did not unearth any major fraud case. However, it noted that some of the EU's farm subsidies and aid for development of poor regions had/may have gone to ineligible people.


"The most frequent errors were claims for illegible expenditure and failure to carry out tender procedures as well as a lack of evidence to support the calculation of ... costs involved."

This humiliation could not come at a worse time for the EC.

Marta Andreasen, the former chief accountant of the European Commission, has said she is up against a "mafia" in the Commission whose aim it is to frighten off whistleblowers.

Andreasen lost her appeal against her dismissal by the EC last week, but that said she plans to appeal that judgment too.

Andreasen was suspended by the Commission in 2002, and was later sacked after exposing failures and weaknesses in accounting procedures.

As if by strange coincidence the ICAEW has invited Siim Kallas (Vice President of the EC in charge of administration, audit and anti fraud) to address a meeting at the ICAEW on 26th November.

The meeting is being organised by the ICAEW (co hosted by CIPFA) to promote "improved understanding of the Commission's accounting and auditing process".

The meeting also aims to:
  • Consider objectively the progress made by the Commission in reforming internal accounting and auditing process

  • Elicit an exchange of views on how public and private organisations deal with qualified accounts
It might prove to be an "interesting" event!

Given the ICAEW's current predilection for globalisation and co-operation with international professional bodies (despite an internal structure of governance that resembles a Victorian trading association) now would be a good time for the ICAEW to sally forth into Europe, and offer to train those in the EC who hold the purse strings, and have responsibility for spending our money, in the basics of accounting and financial reporting.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


As some of you may be aware, the ICAEW has been conducting a consultation exercise whereby Gracechurch Consulting conduct an hour long telephone interview with selected members of the ICAEW in order to determine the attitudes and requirements of the membership.

I have not been contacted, I am guessing that the ICAEW know my views already:)

However, there is a good summary of the process on "The Small Practice Accountant".

It seems that this is just the start of the process.

Quote from the Small Practice Accountant:

"One of the questions I asked was how many people had been contacted and how many were participating in the initial study. The consultant I spoke too said she would find out and email me. Her reply though said the following:

'With regard to the number of participants in this stage of the study the Institute has asked me to provide you with the following information:

This is an initial stage of exploratory research which will cover members from a range of different segments. We need to review the findings of the exploratory work before a larger scale survey which will cover all segments of the membership can be designed. This will be designed to ensure that accurately reflects the views of all segments of ICAEW membership and it is statistically valid

It seems that the ICAEW has finally started to realise that the membership is not that happy with how things have been run and are being run.

The question is, will the ICAEW have the courage to address the key issues such as; the size of council, the absurd council election process, the fees/costs of the institute etc?