GPB set to re-badge members

The English ICA is considering the introduction of a new title for ahead of the field. its general practitioners aimed at distinguishing them from other accountants.

Under proposals put forward by an institute task force, firms of general practitioners which met a set of minimum standards would be awarded a special branded status. This would then be marketed by the institute and the firms involved as a mark of quality over rivals.

John Malthouse, chair-man of the institute’s general practitioners’ board, said: ‘Many chartered general practitioners are concerned about competition from other accountants. The idea is to clearly and demonstrably lift us up so that we are ahead of the field.’

Malthouse and other GPB members have scheduled a meeting with the task force next week to discuss the proposals. The issue was also discussed at the institute’s general practitioners conference in Cambridge this week.

Addressing the 150 delegates, institute president Chris Swinson likened the idea to franchising, and said it would enable chartered accountants to tie quality and marketing together.

He said the words ‘accountant’ and ‘chartered’ were freely used by all sorts of people, and chartered general practitioners needed a further title to differentiate them.

A show of hands by delegates indicated strong support for the idea among the general practitioners gathered.

Malthouse emphasised that the proposals were still at a very early stage and that extensive discussions were needed about how the idea would work in practice.

He added: ‘We are not talking about the creation of an elite group. We want to carry everyone with us to help us keep ahead of the game.’

He said the types of areas which would be looked at to determine whether a firm met the minimum standards could include training, planning, strategy, IT, financial management and client services.

Malthouse added that participation would be voluntary, and that firms would be given every assistance to meet any standards set.

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