Accountants’ IT expertise wanted

A government-backed IT accreditation scheme could be doomed to failure if it does not encourage enough accountants and advisers on board during the next 18 months.

The scheme, known as Technology Means Business, aims to provide a register of accredited IT advisers for SMEs. It was given a new lease of life last July when it was taken under the wing of the IT Forum Foundation ð itself supported by the DTI.

But TMB must achieve uptake from business advisers over the next 18 months, or face the wrath of the DTI, sponsors and accredited members.

‘If we can get 300-400 accountants into the TMB scheme in that timeframe then it would be a fairly good victory,’ said IT Forum Foundation chairman Mike Briercliffe.

Currently more than 500 business advisers and software resellers have joined the scheme ð but Briercliffe admitted there must be more ‘traction’ in the short term to enable the scheme to meet success over a longer period.

‘The DTI is very interested in assuring that the scheme is in good hands,’ he said.

Briercliffe also faces a juggling act to ensure that a manageable number of advisers join the scheme, or risk losing the accreditation’s mark of quality. He expected 1,000 advisers overall to be a fair target. ‘The market can’t handle too many accredited advisers,’ he said.

The Independent Association of Accountants Information Technology Consultants is affiliated with TMB, so IAAITC members can be ‘fast tracked’ through the scheme.

‘If they get TMB accredited, then they go onto the TMB’s national consultants’ register,’ said IAAITC chief executive Dave Reynolds. ‘We see it as an important initiative.’

TMB was run by the Chartered Management Institute for five years until it was decided it could take the scheme no further.

The ITFF spent 12 months developing the strategy for the TMB scheme, and continues to liaise with accountants, consultants, software resellers and vendors.

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