Merger is no longer a priority, says Izza

The strongest signal so far that a merger is off the agenda at the
ICAEW has been given by
chief executive Michael Izza who has made it clear that consolidation is no
longer a priority.

Izza, who took over as CEO in October last year, told Accountancy Age
that while he still believed in long-term consolidation, it was unlikely to
crop up any time soon as an issue.

‘The institute needs to be focused on delivering its own strategy and our
immediate priorities,’ Izza said.

‘I also think there are smarter ways that the professional bodies not just
here in the UK but internationally can work more closely together. Any
relationship needs to be entered into on the basis of enhancing our respective
brands and, most importantly, creating value for our members.’

One possible route for closer working with other institutes could be a joint
quality assurance programme. The idea is understood to be up for discussion at
the CCAB though it’s possible that not all the institutes will throw their
support behind such a scheme. The Scots institute has refused to join the
disciplinary body for accountants, the AIDB, and refused to participate in
public tribunals because of concerns about being able to compel witnesses to

Unexpectedly Izza reports that in his talks with members he found that one of
their main concerns is the quality of service from HM Revenue & Customs
staff rather than issues within the institute. He is now making this the focus
of a lobbying campaign.

The relatively new chief executive is also putting much store in developing
the institute in China, which he believes could become a third major force in
accountancy alongside Europe and the USA.

The institute currently has 75 students in China, but this is expected to
treble with the new intake. Izza’s focus is on offering a top of the range
business leadership qualification rather than a mass market product.

The chief executive is in China this week to speak on sustainability at the
University of Peking, but will also be meeting with officials from the Chinese
Institute, the CICPA, and the ministry of finance.

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