KPMG this week delivered a thinly veiled ultimatum to the English ICA to hasten changes to its training programme or risk a further Big Five defection.
The firm warned that rival ICAS would ‘gain an advantage’ if it failed to introduce its new syllabus in September, prompting fears it may follow Ernst & Young north of the border.
The E&Y decision to train students with ICAS cost the English ICA seven per cent of its graduate numbers, and this latest warning has prompted fears there may be further change.
The institute is in the process of talking to firms in a bid to find out when they want the new syllabus launched and has yet to decide whether it will introduce the syllabus in September or in 2001.
But many insiders privately believe training for the Big Five is up for grabs for the first time in history, with further high-profile changes expected.
KPMG partner and head of UK assurance, Ted Awty, said he expects the majority of its graduates to remain with the English institute, but added: ‘The English ICA will be more competitive if it introduces its new programme this year in line with the Scottish institute.
‘If not there will be a feeling among the students and firms that the Scots ICA has delivered what it set out to do in modernising its syllabus, while the English Institute hasn’t.’