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.