Swinson questions the future of BCAB

English ICA president Chris Swinson has cast doubts over the future of the Board for Chartered Accountants in Business, which serves the institute’s 45,000 members in industry and commerce.

Speaking at BCAB’s finance directors’ conference in Eastbourne, Swinson questioned whether the board was truly representative of its members and said that some could be better served outside it.

He also slammed ‘turf wars’ between BCAB and the institute’s faculty of finance and management. In response to a delegate complaint that BCAB competed with the faculty rather than supported it, he said: ‘I am sick to death of these turf wars which just lead to confusion.’

A task force, due to report later this year, is looking at the relationship between the two.

Swinson expressed doubts that the institute’s business membership could be treated as an amorphous group, and said there may be groups which would be better served by a separate body. ‘I am not sure if BCAB is the right body for what members want,’ he said.

‘What we wish to do is encourage BCAB to become a membership organisation which is more accountable to its members. This represents significant changes to its constitution.’

‘It is up to members,’ Swinson concluded. But BCAB representatives said they were working hard to serve members’ interests, which one described as the institute’s hidden majority.

The fact that most members work in general practice means the institute’s council does not always focus on business issues, a delegate said.

Conference chairman Sarah Blackburn, head of group internal audit at Kingfisher, said BCAB was striving to support all members, particularly those who were the sole finance professionals in their organisations. She said BCAB offers a range of publications and runs conferences designed to help its business members.

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