The qualification, which combines traditional accountancy skills with business training, is the culmination of a two-year initiative involving pan-industry consultation and is hoped to reshape the role of the accountant as a professional business adviser.
At the launch, the new president Graham Ward, said: ‘As the speed of change in the business world intensifies, it is vital that the profession responds. I believe the new ACA provides a benchmark for those seeking the most highly respected business training the market has to offer. The new qualification will ensure that the modern chartered accountant is flexible enough to be able to contribute across business disciplines.’
The launch, however, comes too late to plug the exodus of trainees from Big Five firms Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers which chose the Scots institute to train their students this autumn.
ICAS increased its annual student intake from 400 to 650 after reaching a deal with E&Y to provide training to all the firm’s students south of the border. PwC will train around 200 students with Scots institute this year.
Key features of the new syllabus include a professional stage leading to the new Professional Accountancy Certificate encompassing all aspects of business, as well as conventional accounting skills. Study leave will be reduced from 32 to 22 weeks a year to allow trainees to spend more time doing on-the-job training.
Tom Brown, partner at KPMG, said: The new ACA will equip our students with the knowledge and skills to meet the increasing challenges of the dynamic commercial environment. Over the last two years the institute of chartered accountants has consulted widely on a reappraisal of its core syllabus. The new qualification builds on the profession’s traditional strengths whilst focusing on the need to cater for the demands of modern business now and in the future.’
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