Friday, December 21, 2012

The #economia50

My thanks to those who voted for me in economia’s (the official magazine of the ICAEW) list of the top 50 most influential sources of finance news and information in social media.

I am number 30 on the list.

As per economia:
We asked, and you responded. Here are the top 50 most influential sources of finance news and information in social media, voted for by economia readers and ordered by PeerIndex…

Using the hastag #economia50, readers sent us their nominations, we counted the votes and ranked them according to influence in association with PeerIndex, to reveal the economia Finance Twitter 50.

Topping the list is Michel Barnier, the EU commissioner who oversees financial regulation. The bilingual bureaucrat’s presence at the top of the list suggests the significance of the ongoing EU audit debate as well as the general uncertainty over the eurozone.

Aside from the influence of Europe, the list is dominated by journalists, with Newsnight’s economics editor Paul Mason coming in at number seven. The energetic tweeter offers insight to the UK economy and the political machinations behind it.

Flying the flag for chartered accountants in the top ten is Richard Murphy, founder of the Tax Justice Network and an advisor to the TUC on taxation and economic issues. A sometime columnist for The Guardian and, he offers his followers forthright views on the profession.

Never afraid to express his opinions on HMRC or the profession in general, Ken Frost rounds out the top 30. Frost writes regularly on his own website and blogs for Metro.

Given her role as chair of the Public Accounts Committee, which has spent the last month lambasting tax avoidance schemes used by large companies in the UK, it’s no surprise that MP Margaret Hodge features on our list at 37.”
The full list can be seen here economia.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

ICAEW Withdraws Audit Qualification of 713 Members

As per Economia there has been a wee bit of an administrative snafu within the ICAEW, that will negatively impact 713 members erroneously given an audit qualification since 2008:
"More than 700 ICAEW members are to have their audit qualification withdrawn after the discovery of an administrative error in the ICAEW Learning and Professional Development department.

This resulted in their receiving the qualification although their audit experience did not match the eligibility criteria. The error does not affect their ACA qualification or their ICAEW membership.

Letters are on the way to the 713 members who were among 28,000 members given the qualification over the past four years on the basis of their audit experience. This was part of an initiative, launched in 2008, that was designed to ensure that ICAEW-registered audit firms were helped to maintain compliance with EU legal obligations which require them to be controlled by qualified auditors.

As firms had widened their interests into other, non-audit areas, it became more difficult to ensure that 51% of the partners were audit qualified. However, there were plenty of ICAEW members who met the eligibility criteria, even though they no longer worked in straight audit.

To save the members having to write an extensive and time-consuming narrative detailing all their audit experience, and obtain fresh counter-signatures, ICAEW drew on its records for evidence of eligibility. The problem arose because members who trained outside the UK or in a crown dependency were mistakenly included when they shouldn’t have been. Strict restrictions set by UK company law require members to have gained their key experience for the audit qualification in UK statutory audit work.

“As soon as we became aware of the anomalies, we contacted the FRC and set up an internal inquiry,” said Mark Protherough, ICAEW executive director for learning and development. “We have now restructured the department to ensure that the right oversight is in place and that this sort of administrative mistake does not happen again.

“We apologise to those members who were awarded the audit qualification when they shouldn’t have been.” 

Those affected members who believe they do in fact fulfil the eligibility criteria should get in touch with ICAEW.

The institute thinks it unlikely that firms will find they do not comply with the 51% rule as a result of the mistake. However, if they are concerned, they should also get in touch."

How is it this error has taken four years to surface, and has only now been discovered?

Monday, December 03, 2012

ICAEW and CIOT Offer Fast Track To Joint Membership

The ICAEW and CIOT have announced a fast track scheme to joint membership of the two professional bodies, that will enable successful students to join both bodies within three to four years (faster than using the traditional route of ICAEW first then CIOT).

The programme includes a new paper "Taxation of Major Corporates" which, given today's PAC report on HMRC and the ongoing media frenzy over multinational tax avoidance, is clearly relevant to those with a penchant for tax.

Here is the full text of the announcement:

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) have launched a Joint Programme enabling students to simultaneously achieve two prestigious qualifications – the ICAEW chartered accountancy qualification, the ACA, and the Chartered Tax Adviser qualification, the CTA.
Those students who successfully complete this route, which is likely to take three to four years, will be eligible to apply for membership of both ICAEW and CIOT – providing they have undertaken relevant professional work in tax and accountancy during their studies. This could be quicker than if they had followed the traditional path of training to become a CTA after qualifying as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

Within the Joint Programme there will be separate routes to qualification for those specialising in direct and indirect taxation.

Mark Spofforth, ICAEW President said:
“The Joint Programme is designed for the most dynamic and talented corporate tax professionals who are ambitious to rise quickly to the senior levels of the profession.

“Under this new programme, students complete all the requirements for the ACA and CTA in a way which considerably reduces the study overlap, time out of the office, and tuition costs.

“It still enables the employer to be confident that the student has gained the relevant skill set required for an accountant ready to advise on tax at the highest level. The combination of two well respected and high quality programmes will help employers offer their employees a more efficient route to become tax specialists.”

Patrick Stevens, CIOT President said:
“The CIOT and ICAEW have worked closely with professional services firms to create this flexible new programme for those specialising in tax. It has been designed for students dealing with the tax affairs of FTSE 350 companies or other large corporates from the start of their training. It also has a route suitable for those specialising in indirect tax.

“As well as drawing on the existing strengths of the two qualifications it incorporates a new, specially developed paper, Taxation of Major Corporates, which has been developed jointly by ICAEW and CIOT. This paper has a strong practical focus and deals with the kind of corporate transactions that students will find relevant to their employment.”

Paul Morton, Global Head of Tax at Reed Elsevier, added:
“The challenges faced by our department are very demanding so we look for new team members to be highly knowledgeable. We can be sure that a tax professional who has the ACA and CTA qualifications will have all of the technical skills needed to succeed in our team.”

CIOT: George Crozier on 020 7340 0569 or 07740 477374 (
ICAEW: Caroline Florence on 020 7920 8564 or 07973 400 264 (

Notes to editors
  1. For links to further information and brochures please go to or
  2. ICAEW is a professional membership organisation, supporting over 138,000 chartered accountants around the world. Through our technical knowledge, skills and expertise, we provide insight and leadership to the global accountancy and finance profession.Our members provide financial knowledge and guidance based on the highest professional, technical and ethical standards. We develop and support individuals, organisations and communities to help them achieve long-term, sustainable economic value.
    Because of us, people can do business with confidence.
    ICAEW is a founder member of the Global Accounting Alliance, which represents around 785,000 of the world's leading professional accountants in over 165 countries around the globe, to promote quality services, share information and collaborate on important international issues.