ICA booklet backlash

ICA booklet backlash

Letters of complaint arrive over mishandling of institute's SME advice manual. Phillip Inman reports.

The English ICA’s controversial handy hints manual for small andadvice manual. medium-sized businesses ran into more flak last week from practitioners claiming publication and distribution had been mishandled.

The booklet, ‘Winning Business Strategies’, was sent out two weeks ago to thousands of small practitioners and was designed to be a guide to ‘profitable business management’.

The booklet cost #200,000 to produce, #30,000 to distribute and was paid for through advertising.

Kidsons Impey has attacked the institute for suggesting cashflow management and insolvency skills were the preserve of the Big Five firms.

At last week’s council meeting, institute members criticised former head of the General Practitioner Board, Mark Spofforth, for allowing articles to appear that offered advice to businesses on how to switch their accountant.

Geoff Winn, head of UK 200 Group firm Winn & Co, said: ‘It seems to me this document is about losing business and not winning it.’

Winn also criticised the document for its size – running to 276 A4 pages – and its lack of focus, saying that few managers in small and medium-sized businesses would read it.

Sole practitioner Susan Gompels said members had raised serious concerns over the document, which had arrived unannounced at small practices in bundles of 16.

Mark Spofforth conceded that mistakes had been made during the commissioning and distribution of the booklet. ‘There are comments in the document with which, I think, we would all disagree,’ he said.

He said the institute had received 31 letters of complaint and 249 requests to be taken off the mailing list. But he said it was the first venture of its kind by the GPB and 34 firms had asked to be put on the mailing list and 54 firms had asked for more copies.

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