Scots CA gains cabinet post

The Scots ICA flexed its muscles this week with the election of one its members to the new Scottish cabinet, and moves which could see it poach more trainees from the English ICA.

As predicted by Accountancy Age last week, Liberal Democrat accountant Ross Finnie and Jim Wallace, parliamentary adviser to the institute at Westminster, have been appointed by first minister Donald Dewar to his top team.

Finnie, a member of the institute since 1970, becomes minister for rural affairs. Party leader Wallace does better than expected in return for a coalition with Labour by being made deputy first minister and justice minister.

News of the appointments comes as the institute raises the stakes for the English ICA’s education reforms with confirmation that it is poised to introduce elective options for final-year students.

The Scots’ readiness to offer electives means the institute could be in a position to attract more trainees from large firms, particularly if English ICA members reject its education reform package at their agm in June.

Charles Monaghan, the new Scots ICA president, said: ‘The Big Five and Group A firms tend to work in more specialised environments. We plan to address that.’

The speed at which the syllabus changes could be delivered would not be a problem, he added, but the institute would not shift the goals for students nearing their finals.

The Scots ICA has also forged a link with the Association of Accounting Technicians to open a new route to its chartered accountant qualification. Using this, AAT-qualified students will be exempt from four of the seven first-year modules.

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The Scots ICA is looking for a new chief executive, following the appointment of Peter Johnson as chief executive officer for the International Federation of Accountants.

As soon as a successor is found, Johnson will move to New York, where he will take over from IFA director general John Grunier.

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