Rival business qualifications pose a greater threat to the leading position
of the ICAEW than other accountancy institutes, academics have claimed.
Figures published earlier this month showed that membership numbers for the
UK’s largest accounting institute were foundering while rivals, most notably
ACCA, continue to grow steadily. But some have argued that the MBA qualification
poses a bigger threat to the ICAEW than competing institutes.
‘The rise of the MBA qualification has taken them by surprise,’ said Martin
Walker, professor of finance and accounting at the University of Manchester.
‘The calibre of people who are doing them are those looking to take on senior
level positions in finance who previously may have studied for an ACA.’
Professor Walker said that the MBA qualification offered greater
opportunities to high quality financial people, with moves into areas such as
investment analysis and foreign exchange management also possibilities as well
‘What they have got to do is to re-badge the ACA qualification and they have
been trying to do that, make it more general and push it more down the business
A potential merger with CIPFA was also unlikely to help the situation, he
argued, although the institute may benefit from some economies of scale.
‘It is important to compete on the cost side but if you haven’t got a product
that is internationally competitive, it doesn’t matter how cheap it is.’
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