ICAEW in a hierarchy row

Documents accidentally published on the ICAEW website this week revealed what appeared to be an attempt to rank Britain’s accounting bodies. The paper was a draft submission to the Privy Council, and shows four tiers in descending order. They were:
  • The six members of CCAB

  • Financial accountants

  • Technicians

  • Bookkeepers

The document, dated January 2008, is titled "Report on IFA Activities" and said such a hierarchy was necessary “if the registration of accountants had any chance of being accepted”. The Institute’s chief executive Michael Izza had previously blogged that achieving legal protection for the title of accountant was one of his two key goals for 2008.

The Association of International Accountants (AIA) said the proposals risked fragmenting the profession.

“The structure outlined by the ICAEW is confusing, it’s as simple as that,” said Philip Turnbull, the AIA’s chief executive. “An accountant should be recognised as an accountant.”

Responding in a recent AccountingWEB member's blog, Turnbull outlined his belief that the Institute were putting their own commercial interest before that of the industry and the public large.

Meanwhile, the Institute has refused to comment.

“It was a private note for members of council, and we do not comment on confidential papers,” a spokesperson said.

However, a source close to the ICAEW said the published report referred to a strategy that was set in 2005, and has been subject to strategic review since.

“The model we took forward was the one where we worked with people and groups on a strategic partnership basis, as we’ve done with CIPFA,” said the source. “There is an argument to say that maybe there should be some sort of structure to the profession, but if you are going to create one then all parties need to be involved. It’s not something that any one organisation or any group of organisations can do on their own.”

Source : Accounting Web, UK

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