John Devlin, senior partner at Scottish mid-tier accounting firm Haines Watts in Glasgow, told Accountancy Age that if the 15,500-strong body carries on training English accountants, they could form the majority of the institute, if current trends persist.
‘At the moment, we have a bit of teeth. If we disagree with something, people take note of what we are saying. All that these students are looking for is a qualification, and when it comes to a future merger vote, the danger is we’ll be railroaded into merging with the ICAEW because of them.
‘Guys like me don’t want to be part of a “superbody”. If we are, then we?ll be forced to form our own breakaway group,’ Devlin said.
His comments came in the wake of conformation from the ICAEW, CIMA and CIPFA that merger talks had been held.
But Ian Marrian, chief executive at ICAS, said: ‘We know our membership is changing, but our students in England are very pleased to be part of ICAS. We have to manage the situation by keeping in touch with and letting them know what we are doing.’
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