Group A fury over ICAEW report

Group A firm Kidsons Impey has issued a furious rebuttal to claims made in an English ICA booklet that small and medium-sized businesses seeking cash flow advice will not find adequate skills available outside the Big Five.

The institute guide, which offers SMEs advice on ‘all aspects of business management’, was sent with a covering letter from Mark Spofforth, then-president of its General Practitioner Board, to a wide variety of accountancy firms, with the encouragement to send copies to clients.

In a section on cash-flow management and insolvency advice however, the guide says ‘these skills are only within the Big Five accountancy firms’, using backing from the Society of Insolvency Practitioners as support for the statement.

Tony Houghton, national director of corporate recovery at Kidsons Impey, labelled the statement ‘ridiculous’.

‘Group A firms are the very ones whose client base have a high percentage of SMEs,’ he said. ‘It is within this group, not the Big Five, that the majority of successful SME reconstructions are carried out.’

A spokesman for the SPI said the institute’s insolvency skills claim was ‘nonsense’. Spofforth said it was a ‘stupid statement’ that slipped through.

‘It’s a really unfortunate situation and it shouldn’t have been in there,’ he said.

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