Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Top 50 Most Influential On Social Media

The ICAEW is seeking nominations for the top 50 most influential people in finance on social media.:
"We want to gather the top 50 most influential names in finance on social media. Get voting now using the hashtag "

Friday, October 04, 2013

Congratulations to Liz Rylatt

Congratulations to Liz Rylatt (an ICAEW member) who will join the ICAEW as its finance director in January 2014 from the BBC.

AccountancyAge points out that the original advert for the job specified that candidates must be ICAEW qualified chartered accountants.

Are we to assume the any merger plans with non chartered bodies are well and truly on ice now?;)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cold Calling

Why is did the ICAEW cold call me today to try to sell me an excel course?

Are membership fees now destined to finance the cost of cold calling members?

Monday, September 02, 2013

Advanced Stage Exam Results

The results of the ICAEW July 2013 Advanced Stage examinations were published by the ICAEW on Friday 30 August 2013.

In summary  the results were:

  Pass Rate %
Business Reporting 2,472 78.7
Business Change 2,380 83.9
Case Study 2,116 75.4

Congratulations to those who passed, and commiserations to those who didn't.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Results of Bungled Elections

In May this year the ICAEW bungled the elections to council, and were forced to re-run the elections in S Essex, London, Manchester and N-W England.

The results of the re-run of the London elections can be seen via this link.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Well Spotted Elaine

Kudos to my chum Elaine Clark for spotting the typo in the Telegraph article about bean counters.

Can you spot the error?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ageism and Accountants - A Lack of Sagacity

Sage, as per the dictionary definition, means "having, showing, or indicating profound wisdom".

Hmmm, in a remarkable display of exactly the opposite, Sage (that has been "in the business of helping businesses manage their finances, people, customers and suppliers and to plan for future success since 1981") has decreed the following (as per AccountingWeb):
"The pace of change within the profession has accelerated and created an environment where ‘Generation Y’ accountants are best placed to respond to the changing role and demands, according to the latest Pulse research from Sage."
Who are "Generation Y"?

Thsoe born between 1980 and 1993.

Therefore, according to Sage, if you are an accountant and older than that you may as well give up now as your clients/employers no longer need or want you.

For why?

Seemingly clients and organisations "now expect a prompt response to their enquiries and access to information whenever they need it, with online being the most popular method for business owners wanting to share data with their accountant for the first time."

Clearly those born before 1980 are incapable of using the net, and are non responsive to client demands!

How is it I am able to run so many websites and interact in real time on Twitter etc (given that I am so very old?).

Paul Tooth, managing director at Sage Accountants Division, dug himself into a real hole by saying:
The accountancy profession is changing. Our research is a strong benchmark for the industry and it suggests it is no longer enough for accountants to be numerically proficient. In this hyper competitive environment practice professionals are offering much more to clients and fulfilling multiple roles including, virtual FD, IT consultant, HR expert, marketer and payroll specialist. "
Based on Sage's "research" please could they explain to me where they think people can find a 20 year old (born in 1993) qualified "accountant" with enough real world experience to act as virtual FD, IT consultant, HR expert, marketer and payroll specialist?

I ask, because Sage itself is currently recruiting a Commercial Finance Manager Sage CRM Fixed Term Contract.

The qualifications required include "experienced in working in a multi-national environment Qualified ACA/ACCA/CIMA with at a minimum of 5 years' experience in industry".

Know any 20 year olds with that type of experience?

Whilst I think about it, given that 1980 seems to be a significant cut off date for Sage, Sage may care to worry about its own age given that it has been around since 1981.

On that point Brendan Flattery (CEO of Sage) needs to think about his position, as he is a qualified accountant born in 1964.

Ageism in business is an absolute disgrace, the fact that a "professional" company such as Sage appears to endorse ageism makes me wonder exactly whether these companies really understand the businesses which they claim to "serve".

Thoughts and comments from those in the profession who are over 20 years old much appreciated!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Road To Mandalay

The ICAEW and the Myanmar Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work more closely together.

As per the ICAEW:
"The MoU establishes a framework for the two bodies to work together to develop talent and advance the accountancy profession in Myanmar and South East Asia. ICAEW and MICPA will share views on the accountancy profession both nationally and internationally, with emphasis on co-operation in areas such as corporate governance, professional ethics, technical research, continuing professional development, professional accountancy training, quality control, education and examinations.

Together, the bodies will create a framework for MICPA to review and advance its strategy and plans. ICAEW and MICPA will also be developing learning programmes in areas of mutual interest – such as International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), International Standards on Auditing (ISA) and audit firm governance."
I assume that the ICAEW's push for global growth is one of the reasons why the subscriptions keep going up each year?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

ICAEW - The Video

The ICAEW have published a jolly wee promotional video outlining (albeit very briefly) its foundation, founding fathers and place in the modern world.

I am pleased to see that phrase "chartered accountant" has been used.

However, it also claims that it was founded in the UK; is that entirely accurate given that Scotland has its own institute, and that the video shows only England and Wales in red (symbolising the region that the ICAEW was founded in)?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Do Something Political - Vote!

It is time once again for members of the ICAEW to vote on the AGM resolutions, included within which is the annual increase in subscriptions (this time 3.1%).

Whether you think an increase is justified or not, I urge you to vote.

I would note that despite the fact that many private companies and public ones have resisted increasing their charges over the past few years, the ICAEW without fail continues to increase its subscriptions; almost as though it feels that it has a God given right to do so (or could it be something to do with the enormous hole in its pension fund?).

Hence I have voted against such an increase.

Despite the increases in subscriptions every year, last year the turnout was shameful; less than 6% turnout!

As I wrote at the time:
"Unsurprisingly of those members of the ICAEW that could be bothered to vote, a significant percentage (almost 20%) voted against an increase in the annual subscriptions.

Accountancy Age reports that of the nearly 8,000 members that voted, 19.8% voted against an increase.

The ICAEW has over 138,000 members worldwide, the turnout of less than 6% is a disgrace and shows an alarming disconnect between the bunker in Moorgate and the membership who live and work in the real world
There is currently a lively discussion on a Linkedin thread about the fee increase. Given that people feel so strongly about the issue, for heaven's sake vote!

Friday, May 10, 2013

ICAEW Council Elections Bungled

My thanks to Christie Malry for pointing me to his post about the bungled ICAEW council elections.

As per Julia Penny:
"Thanks for everyone who voted for me in #ICAEW Council elections. Unfortunately looks like the vote needs to be re-run though."
Well done lads!

I am surprised that the ICAEW screwed this up, they have been so fastidious in the past wrt ensuring that things are run according to their rules; as I discovered 11 Jan 2007 when I tried to stand:
"My thanks to The Times, which has come out in support of my candidacy for the ICAEW Council elections:

"Ken Frost has found one Croydon accountant, so it’s nine to go. As I wrote the other day, Frost, a long-standing critic of the accountants’ professional body in England and Wales, wants to stand in elections to its council. But according to the peculiar rules of the ICAEW, he needs ten nominations first from members of his local association. One has come forward, he tells me, and I may be able to put him in touch with another, if Herne Hill in South London is deemed sufficiently local. The ICAEW insists the rules must be observed in all cases. Frost must run!"
Also as per 13 Jan 2007:
"In November the ICAEW wrote to all members, informing them that Croydon had no representation from members "not in practice".

"Election to the vacancy will therefore be 'assured' for a member not in practice provided one or more such candidates come forward..."

Election procedure 18 states:

"To redress the under-representation on Council of members not in practice and, in particular, of members in business, the Council has agreed that, for the years 1995-2007 inclusive, it will 'assure' one seat per constituency for a member not in practice..."

Well, I am not in practice, and I am in business. I offered to stand, and advised the ICAEW as such; but noted that although I know many ICAEW members nationally who would sign my nomination, I knew no one in Croydon.

Despite this, they refused to notify members of my wish to stand.

Given that they could not have possibly known, before nominations were in, as to whether there would have been a non practising member standing, and given that they were asking for non practising members to stand, I wonder why they did not help me inform the members of my wish to stand?
Regarding the 2013 shambles, please can someone let me know what the problem was, and how much a re-run will cost?



As per Taxation:
"An ICAEW spokeperson told Taxation there had been errors in some nominations across four constituencies: London, Manchester, the North West and Essex. They were not spotted until after the election, when it was decided that the fairest solution would be to rerun the elections.

The move could mean the candidates who won on Tuesday lose their newly gained places unless the losing candidates agree to stand down and allow the victors to be returned unopposed. Candidates will have to get their vote out for a second time if their election is contested."

As per ICAEW on Twitter:
"ICAEW to re-run elections in S Essex, London, Manchester and N-W England: we discovered inadvertent errors in the nomination process.

We apologise to all the candidates involved and particularly those who were successful in the elections."
You will note that the ICAEW does not apologise to the membership as whole, who will have to pay for this.

Accountancy Age put the cost of the re-run as being £10K:
"FOUR OF TEN ICAEW Council elections will have to be re-run after the process was botched.
The four constituencies: South Essex; London; Manchester; and North West, ran elections to join the ICAEW that had flaws in the process.

Nominations were incorrectly made in the four constituencies. Those putting forward nominations must be fully-qualified ICAEW members, and be based within the constituency - it is understood that nominations were made that failed to meet these criteria, and were not picked up during the election process.

Michael Izza, ICAEW chief executive and returning officer for the elections, has declared the elections for these constituencies void and will be re-run.

Members ‘incorrectly' voted into council in the four constituencies will be able to attend the June council meeting as observers, said an ICAEW spokesman. The re-run should be completed by August
The cost of re-running the elections, which will involve the Electoral Reform Society, is currently estimated at £10,000."

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Late Membership Cards - Taking Stock

I see that the ongoing discussion about late membership cards has not only been raised at Council, but has also featured in Accountancy Age.

As per an article published yesterday:
"IT'S SOMETIMES SAID that the littlest things that can infuriate ICAEW members about their institute. Well this time, it seems that not receiving their annual membership cards is leaving a gaping hole in their wallets, as such.

The cards were due to hit members' doormats at the start of the year, but the ICAEW rejected the initial proofs "due to quality issues, which took time to be resolved and therefore were sent out later".
Arch institute agitator Ken Frost, among others, have voiced their displeasure at proceedings on the ICAEW LinkedIn group. In turn, the discussion has morphed into one giving the ICAEW a bit of a kicking around their ‘communication and social media strategy'.

In fairness, council member Malcolm Bacchus has used the discussion thread to try and answer some the questions raised.

Still, interesting for TS to see a moan about little white pieces of plastic transform into another institute rant."
At face value TS may have a point about the "littlest of things". However, "trivial" issues such as late membership cards, that do not bear the phrase "chartered accountant", sometimes highlight deeper problems/issues.

The fact that so many people have made an effort to post their views indicates that they too have concerns about how the ICAEW manages itself and uses our subscriptions, and have used the Linkedin thread as means to raise them.

Sometimes the best way to elicit a discussion and response is to poke at something, even its soft underbelly. 

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Late Membership Cards Still Arriving

On 26 April I wrote that my ICAEW 2013 membership card had finally arrived.

This prompted something of a lengthy discussion on the ICAEW Linkedin group, and even resulted in the issue being raised at council.

Anyhoo, today fellow group member Tony Nedderman wrote the following:
"Hooray! My new card arrived on 7th May (posted on 24 April).

Is this a record?
Has anyone else yet to receive their membership card? 

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Late Membership Cards

My thanks to Malcolm Bacchus for providing an explanation on the ICAEW Linkedin group as to why the ICAEW 2013 membership cards were sent out in the latter part of April.

"I'll try to answer some of this, but the last time I tried any form of answer to a query in this group I had people jump down my throat with phrases like "Institute lackey" and being generally rude. So I gave up - it is probably one of the reasons why others are also conspicuously quiet on what could be a useful place for a dialogue.

Anyway here goes. The issue was raised on Council today following the points made here. The delay in sending out membership cards arose because the cards printed (in accordance with the normal timing) were found, on arrival, to be of unacceptable quality. They were returned and a new supplier had to be found and new cards printed.

I would agree however that they could (should?) have been sent out with an explanation of why there was a delay although that would have marginally added to the cost. Perhaps the solution would have been to email members with an apology once it was known that cards would be late - but that is something now learnt.

As for not having cards, the issue is kept under review but the general feeling that we get from members is that the cards are worth having. The comments here that they are not (although even here that is not a unanimous view) is not representative of the membership as a whole at present. Accepted however that things may change in future. Members who do not want a membership card can opt out of having one. So please, if you feel they are not worthwhile, please do so, although please be aware - see below - that they can be helpful if you ever intend to visit Moorgate Place.

The cards are useful in ensuring that people using the chartered accountants' hall membership facilities are indeed members and they remind members of their membership number which is requested when they use those facilities. There are also telephone numbers on the back of the card which some members find helpful. And some members, believe it or not, just like them because they feel that as a member of an organisation one should have a membership card! As for not including the words "The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales" - this is a card for our own use, so it really doesn't need to remind us of that.

Useful comments in this discussion and, rest assured they have been taken on board and lessons learnt, even if you disagree with the answers.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Can of Worms

My post last week about my ICAEW membership card for 2013 finally arriving rather opened a can of worms on the ICAEW Linkedin Group.

Others commented that they had not yet received theirs, and it was also noted that the phrase "Chartered Accountant" is missing from the cards.

As Lawrence Edwards said:
"The notices that annual subs were due came out on time - mine was emailed on the 2nd of November. This is pretty basic stuff, the membership card is the only physical contact some members have with the Institute and it leaves a bad impression to send these out so late.

What I find more concerning is the constant above inflation rise in subs, coupled with the plethora of faculties and interest groups which you have to join if you want access to material that's relevant to your industry. I gather that there is rarely even a debate about subs at Council each year

Friday, April 26, 2013

Membership Card Finally Arrives

My ICAEW 2013 membership card finally arrived today.

Why does it take the ICAEW four months to issue its membership cards to its members?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Life Imitating Film

I am amused at the story published in economia about a hapless gang of VAT fraudsters who tried to defraud HMRC of £2.8M of VAT and tax credits:
"Aoife Madden, the actress who helmed the production, has become the first person to be convicted of defrauding the government’s film tax relief fund.

Bashar Al-Issa, of London, along with Madden of Northern Ireland, Tariq Hassan of Essex, Ian Sherwood and Osama Al Baghdady, both of Manchester, owned Evolved Pictures.

Evolved told its auditors it was shooting a £20m movie with big name stars, funded by a Jordanian company, but it turned out be a sophisticated plot to claim £2.8m in tax credits and VAT repayments.

Evolved told HMRC that millions of pounds of work had been spent on the film, claiming a VAT repayment was due of £1,488,187, among other tax credits.

However, during checks HMRC found that the work had not been done and most of the so-called suppliers and film studios had never heard of the gang.

When HMRC discovered that the sham production never existed, and the gang was arrested, they came up with an elaborate plan to cover their tracks and hide the fraud by shooting a film on a shoestring called “A Landscape of Lies” which featured two UK television personalities.
It seems that they must have come up with the idea from the plot of The Producers. However, had they watched the film properly they would have realised that the hapless producers (one of them an accountant) failed in their scam as well and were sent to jail.

My favourite line in the film is:
"You're an accountant, you come from a noble profession; it has the word "Count' in it!"

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chartered Accountants Worldwide - Money Well Spent?

I am not alone in thinking that the newly created Chartered Accountants Worldwide overlaps with other associations, such as the Global Accounting Alliance.

Kevin Reed (editor of Accountancy Age) also thinks the same, as per his Leader on the subject:
"It’s nice in principle, but the ultimate question has to be whether members can bear their institute fees going towards setting up another ‘association’.

Don’t forget, we have the CCAB to represent the institutes in policy-making and strategy for the UK, while both ICAS and the ICAEW are also members of the Global Accounting Alliance, which does the same as the CCAB just…globally. The argument is that the CAW is for promotional activities. But, still…

The ICAEW, in particular, has already made outreach efforts, no doubt at some cost, in areas such as China and Hong Kong, plus the Middle-East. Do we really need the CAW?"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chartered Accountants Worldwide Created

The ICAEW has announced the birth of a new organisation, Chartered Accountants Worldwide, which brings together the members of leading institutes to create a community of hundreds of thousands of Chartered Accountants in more than 180 countries.

The organisation comprises six professional bodies:

- Chartered Accountants Ireland
- Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
- New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
- The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

Chartered Accountants Worldwide aims to provide:
  • a consistent platform globally to promote the expertise of Chartered Accountants
  • the ability to maximise opportunities to work anywhere around the world
  • greater opportunity to connect and network with your peers worldwide
  • access to member facilities in other partner institutes including events, technical information, business centres, libraries, information services, websites and newsletters

Connecting hundreds of thousands of members and students, it aims to:
  • promote the commitment of our global membership to the highest standards of professional and ethical practice
  • create greater opportunities globally for those seeking to become or develop as Chartered Accountants – and those looking to train or employ them
  • share expertise and innovation to maintain Chartered Accountancy’s position as the preeminent qualification for those in accountancy, finance and business.

Meanwhile the Global Accounting Alliance (founded in 2006 and which also includes a.o. the ICAEW) still exists:
"Representing over 700,000 of the world's leading professional accountants, the Global Accounting Alliance will promote quality professional services, global membership support, share information and collaborate on important international issues.

The Alliance will work with national regulators, governments and stakeholders, through member-body collaboration, articulation of consensus views, and working in collaboration, where possible, with other international bodies."
Is it possible that there is a wee bit of an overlap here?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mr Crabbe Steps Up To The Plate

Well done Mr Crabbe (the normally shy, retiring, boring accountant who serves Mr Selfridge) for finally stepping out of the shadows and stepping up to the plate to display leadership, initiative, imagination and balls!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

ICAEW Revamps Its Website

The ICAEW has revamped its website, complete with a banner advert at the top for a car rental company.

Take a look and let me know what you think of it.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cameron's Travelling Caravan

Judging by the comments made by David Cameron today at Davos, he does not have a high regard for lawyers and accountants:
"..the travelling caravan of lawyers, accountants and financial gurus just moves on elsewhere..."
I assume then that Cameron does his tax planning, arranges his trusts etc and completes his tax returns all by himself without the aid of the lawyers and accountants that he seems to despise so much?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Law Society 1 - ICAEW 0

By a majority of five to two, the Supreme Court confirmed the current position that Legal Advice Privilege (LAP) is confined to confidential legal advice provided by professional, qualified lawyers.

The Supreme Court accepted the Law Society’s position that LAP should not be extended beyond its current scope at common law, and that any such extension was a matter for Parliament.

Final score Law Society 1 - ICAEW 0

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Find A Chartered Accountant

The ICAEW's Find a Chartered Accountant site has received a drubbing on the ICAEW Linkedin group.

David O'Keeffe started the discussion a fortnight ago:
"ICAEW's brand new Find A Chartered Accountant site is embarrassing

The site was launched yesterday but it has clearly not been properly tested and contains incorrect data.

When I checked out my own entry, I discovered it was missing. I tried to contact Tolley - who are providing the service for ICAEW - but, despite two emails, no one got back to me. My entry did mysteriously appear later in the afternoon, but it is incomplete. I have chased again, but still no response.

However, it's not only the incompleteness of my entry (and who knows how many others) that concerns me. Searching at my location (New Malden), the site tells me that there are 17 firms at that location. Expanding the search to within 1 mile of New Malden produces no firms at all (where did the initial 17 go?) This is also true as we go further out, until we get to 30 miles from New Malden where, suddenly, there are 20 firms - but, (wait for it) they are all in NORTHERN IRELAND! Are Tolley using Apple's mapping app, I wonder?

If you search at >100 miles from New Malden, you find a total of 21,381 firms. This, presumably, should be everyone in the database, but it is actually greater than the number of firms listed in the root search (ie with no filters at all).

This would all be mildly amusing (as well as personally irritating that my entry is still incorrect) if it weren't for the fact that this is a public tool. What sort of impression does it create of our Institute and of Chartered Accountants generally? Why was this site launched without proper testing and verification of the data?"
Has anyone else experienced problems with the site?

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Kudos To Vernon Soare

Kudos to Vernon Soare, executive director of professional standards at ICAEW, for exposing the lie behind the oft used phrase "banking profession"!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Accountancy Age's Financial Power List 2013: Big Hitters

I have been placed 25th on Accountancy Age's Financial Power List 2013: Big Hitters, a rundown of who the magazine thinks will be the biggest players in accounting and finance during 2013.

25 Ken Frost, serial blogger and HMRC agitator
A long-time thorn in the side of the ICAEW in his blogging capacity, Frost has found that HMRC's travails have taken up a bigger chunk of his social media efforts. Not that the institute is out of his line of vision, but his probing questions and good contact base make an amusing and revealing read.