Institutes: flame war

A recent FRC report that showed worldwide membership of ACCA has
overtaken that of the ICAEW for the first time prompted some stout defence from
our ACA-qualified readers, and some equally robust responses from their ACCA
counterparts. Below we document the highly-charged and sometimes vicious battle
of the institutes

“Wow! Sour Grapes. I see that the ICAEW members are now shouting quality not
quantity. They have been boasting for over 100 years that they are the largest
chartered institute and therefore the best. Now that ACCA has overtaken them as
the largest chartered institute, they decide that small was actually better all
If the ICAEW is more elitist, why is it the case that they now allow members of
other chartered institutes to become ICAEW members without even taking the ICAEW
exams after they have been fully paid up members of their own institutes for
five years. ACCA and CIMA would only allow members of the ICAEW to become
members of their institutes after passing the final exams of their respective
institutes. Why not just accept the truth: the ICAEW is in long-term decline.”

“What a surprise that the immediate remarks are degrading ACCA. Any
decent employer considers a qualified accountant a qualified accountant, simple.
There are four big firms which don’t even offer ICAEW – solely ICAS and ACCA…
Grow up and make useful comments.” Qualified accountant

“Hmm… If the attitude displayed by the opening comments are an indication
of the maturity of ICAEW members I am definitely going to reconsider whether I
continue my Pathways to Membership application.” Jake

“The horrible truth is that a lot of firms will take an ICAEW qualif ied
accountant over an ACCA about 9 times out of 10. I know this because I recruit
in the market. Although I do have a suspicion that is has something to do with
the old boys club mentality and the older ICAEW guys not liking a young
upstart.” Gravy Davey

“As a CFO in industry I have recruited from both ICAEW and ACCA. Personally I
would never recruit an ICAEW into anything other than a financial controller
role as they just have no idea of the real world – the reason ACCA is popular is
because it is relevant to the commercial realities of the modern world.”


“Too many ACCAs are decreasing the quality. I have seen ACCA
qualified accountants who know nothing but somehow manage to pass the exams… now
is that quality ? I am an ACCA too and I am just worried.”

“Little wonder that ICAEW membership has been overtaken, it prosecutes and
punishes small firms for the slightest of errors instead of protecting them.
However, when it comes to the large firms they are totally complicit so far as
the audit failures are concerned… banks and building societies and failed public
companies for example.” M A Hadfield OBE FCA

“The fact that there are more ACCA members than ICAEW should not be a
surprise to anyone. ACCA’s entry requirements have always been lower and the
entrance exams less taxing, so it will naturally attract a greater number of
people, including those who would not qualify for ICAEW entry or would not be
able to attain the ACA exam standard.” Mike Brown FCA

“These comments demonstrate that both institutes have some members who can’t
write with correct spelling or grammar, and others who can. The same variation
presumably attends their accounting and management skills. However, employers
would be entitled to give more weight to a qualification achieved within six
years than one which allows students to spread out the exams over 10 years.”

“I am an ACCA, and I have been shocked at the lack of accounting
knowledge, technical expertise and basically ability to do the job – by some
ACAs. So anyone who is generalising in favour of ACAs being technically more
superior to ACCAs, I think, probably has an inflated view of himself and a lack
of experience in the real world. There are cowboys in every profession and the
ACA is no exception – just like bad cops, doctors who misdiagnose… the ACA is
no different.” Anonymous

“I cannot believe some of the tripe I’m reading. It’s time that ACAs realised
the ACCA exams and path to qualification are now more difficult and more
relevant. This “old boys club” is a throw back to public school! Everyone in the
profession under the age of 45 knows ACCA is the better qualification. How about
you sit the ACCA finals and then we may consider accepting you into the new,
modern, relevant and completely transparent ACCA club. The student has become
the master.” Phil

Read the original article and leave your own comment –
membership overtakes ICAEW

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