Institutes – English ICA wins support on qualifications

Radical plans for a root-and-branch revamp of the English ICA’s chartered qualification have won initial support from members, the institute’s Council will hear today.

Described as ‘reform or die’ by Peter Wyman, chairman of the institute’s education and training directorate, the proposals were put out to consultation in March. The institute’s plan centres on a core professional stage covering key areas such as audit and tax, a further business management component, specialist study, two elective papers and a final admitting exam.

Almost 200 members sent in detailed responses. Over half (53%) backed the need for syllabus change, but 30% rejected the institute’s plan to introduce electives.

A further set of plans detailing a first-stage accountancy qualification – designed to boost the institute’s international presence and increase access to chartered accountant training – won support from 75% of the 157 members who responded. But members demanded reassurance that a ‘professional certificate in accountancy’ would not be used as a practising certificate by unscrupulous accountants or overlap with the Association of Accounting Technicians’ qualification.

A third proposal for post-qualification awards, to recognise members’ specialisms, was due to be approved by Council today. The advanced diplomas in corporate finance, IT and taxation will then be launched in January.

Wyman, a PwC partner, said more detailed consultation on the syllabus review and PCAs would be issued in November. ‘The response is extremely encouraging. There is almost unanimous recognition that we need substantial change to the syllabus, but members are quite rightly asking for more detail.’

He added that the issue of electives would be re-examined and was still a possibility.

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