Long-term critics u-turn in institute cold war

The ICAEW, long the recipient of the harshest criticism from a band of vocal
dissenters, appears to have achieved the impossible and earned praise from them
for recent initiatives.

While many remain skeptical about the future and warn that a merger plan
would ruin all progress made so far, there are signs of détente in the ongoing

Ken Frost and Dr Jeff Wooller, who have previously run campaigns against
ICAEW plans to consolidate the profession, welcomed recent institute initiatives
to focus on the strength of the ACA brand and forays into the Chinese market.

Frost, who runs a blog criticising ICAEW plans to merge with other accounting
institutes, said on a post that the institute had ‘accepted the argument’ that
mergers would dilute the ICAEW qualification’s brand.

His comments followed the launch of the ICAEW’s campaign to underline the
value of the ‘ACA’ qualification.

Wooller welcomed chief executive Michael Izza’s efforts to promote the ACA
qualification in China, which Wooller described as a ‘huge market’ despite the
institute’s focus on the quality of the ACA.

‘There is also huge potential for our qualification in India and Eastern
Europe,’ Wooller wrote in a letter to Accountancy Age.

‘After suffering a succession of presidents intent on selling our pottage for
a pittance we now have a leader of whom we can be justly proud.’

Frost told Accountancy Age that he was unhappy about other aspects of the
institute such as the size of its council and its ‘pensions black hole’,

Despite this ICAEW officials will view their recent comments as a distinct

Both members, along with Bruce Lawson, had widely and publicly criticised the
ICAEW’s attempts to merge with other bodies over the past 15 years.

Frost was placed in joint 11th place in the Accountancy Age Financial Power
List 2006, along with then ICAEW chief Eric Anstee.

‘Our greatest asset is our members, and it’s important we’re alive to all
their views,’ said an ICAEW spokeswoman.

Related reading