ICA must ‘reform or die’

Radical plans to revamp the English ICA’s education syllabus and. create a global business adviser qualification were put before the institute’s council yesterday.

The root-and-branch shake-up, which the institute’s council was expected to put out to consultation, is designed to save the prestigious chartered accountancy qualification from an otherwise ‘inevitable extinction’ within ten years. Peter Wyman, chairman of the institute’s education and training directorate, told Accountancy Age ‘standing still is not an option – it’s reform or die’.

Central planks of the modernisation, which will sweep away the current ‘demotivating, irrelevant and wasteful’ syllabus, include introducing a professional certificate in accountancy, a compulsory business management paper, two elective subjects and a specialist subject.

Wyman, who said the course could be available for autumn 2000, condemned the current system for providing ‘huge amounts of learning without much understanding.’

He added: ‘This is a colossal opportunity to create the leading global accountancy and business qualification.

‘It will provide a foundation to see people through their professional careers and deal with the changes that will inevitably occur and give a thorough understanding of how business operates.’

Wyman admitted convincing members, who rejected the institute’s last set of education reforms three years ago, was the next challenge. He said members would be involved in a very long and open consultation process.

He warned: ‘If we don’t find a way to change the qualification we will rapidly descend into a vicious circle where firms will use the ACA qualification for certain training needs, such as auditing, but use other qualifications to satisfy other areas.’

The institute’s reform plans come a month after the Scots ICA announced its educational revamp, featuring a selection of new courses and a relaunch of the unpopular accounting technician qualification.

Leader, page 12



Professional stage

accounting, auditing, financial reporting business and personal taxation, business management and finance

Business management

material beyond professional stage

Final exam

business advisory case study

Work experience


Further business management through tuition, exams, accredited learning and assessment


Advanced and specialist study.

Related reading