07 Jul 2005
The six main UK institutes have pledged to work together, after a fractious period that has seen relations between some of the key bodies threaten to break down completely.
At the last meeting of the six presidents, ACCA’s Christopher Forster sought and won commitment from his counterparts to use the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies to pursue a common agenda.
The agreement comes after the ICAEW said it would reconsider its collaboration with ICAS through the CCAB, in light of comments made by the Scots’ chief executive Des Hudson. Writing in Accountancy Age last month, Hudson said the planned merger of ICAEW and CIPFA was based on ‘unproven beliefs’.
ICAEW chief executive Eric Anstee responded angrily, saying he may look to ‘realign’ the institute’s funding of the CCAB. ‘If ICAS wants to have an equal voice, it must have an equal share of the budget,’ he said.
Accountancy Age understands that CCAB relations have been further strained in recent months by disputes over who should represent the body on the International Federation of Accountants council and on the Financial Reporting Council. The FRC wants to move away from a traditional ‘rotating’ seat on its main council.
Both posts are traditionally held by the ICAEW president. But other CCAB bodies are beginning to lobby for an end to automatic ICAEW representation.
Anstee acts as secretary to what is a limited company with the six presidents of the main UK accountancy institutes serving as directors.
As well as being a member of the company, the ICAEW is contracted to provide administrative and secretarial services and each of the institutes contributes to its £1.45m annual running costs – roughly in proportion to the number of shares owned.
The ICAEW owns 52% of the shares, ACCA owns 17%, CIMA owns 15%, CIPFA 6%, ICAS 7% and the ICAI 3%. ICAEW president Ian Morris, who chaired last week’s meeting, said he was impressed by the ‘openness of the debate’ and the ‘willingness to work together’.
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