What’s 500 miles? SEC needs to embrace the electronic age[QQ] The SEC must live in a pre-electronic era. In this age of instant communication – fax, e-mail and video conferences – what bearing has 500 miles (‘Briton forced out by SEC’, 3 February, page 1)? One can probably communicate more quickly at that distance, than if you live next door. ER Dring FCA, Surrey Scots set core issues straight Thank goodness we have now had from the ICAS director of education, Mark Allison, (Opinion, 3 February, page 16) an authoritative statement that within the new Scots exam structure ‘… there are no options, everything is core’. For too long, the myth has been propagated that the English ICA firms have been enticed into training chartered accountants through ICAS because they thought the Scots to be waiting in the wings, vulture-like, electives in hand. The English ICA membership rejected a system of options – which would have required students to decide which technical subjects areas they were to sit exams for – following the special meeting of members I called in 1996. The view that exams should be unitary was confirmed in a MORI opinion poll commissioned by the English ICA later that year. Yet the membership was asked again in 1999 to endorse a system of options (thinly disguised under the title electives) and again this was rejected by the membership. Neither vote was against change. Both votes were against options. A lot of time has been lost and it is understandable that firms of all sizes have been looking at pastures new (or in the case of Ernst & Young perhaps pastures old in view of their Arthur Young McClelland Moores geneology!). However, looking to the future, what I find most encouraging is that the latest English ICA proposals introduced by Professor Brian Chiplin in January, and scheduled for introduction this autumn, have received almost universal acclamation from the English ICA Education and Training Forum and from council members. The new English and Scots training routes will continue to feature their own characteristics, although arguably the two are now closer than ever following the English ICA’s decision to issue its own learning material for the first time. What is key however is that both institutes share the same core values in the examinations whilst at the same time recognising the importance of studying technical issues in the context of the business advice role, so highly esteemed in chartered accountancy, both north and south of the border. JKH Cook MBA FCA, Wirral All letters should be sent to: The Editor, Accountancy Age, VNU House, 32-34 Broadwick Street, London W1A 2HG Tel: 020 7316 9236 Fax: 020 7316 9250 Or e-mail us on: Accountancy Age reserves the right to edit letters for space or clarity. Please include your title, company name and a daytime telephone number.

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