Ian Perkin – Cause of concern at CIPFA

Having been a CIPFA council member for a year and then failing to be re-elected, I have great concern for the future of the institute.

My year as a council member has proved a real eye-opener.

I served on the education and training committee and found that my opinions – I believe CIPFA’s long-term future is under threat and that the public-sector accountants’ body is in real crisis from the loss of student numbers to the other accountancy bodies, especially CIMA – were not echoed by my fellow committee members.

My belief that CIPFA should play to its strengths and extol the virtues of remaining a dedicated public-sector accountancy body, rather than make the portability of the qualification the main issue, also clearly put me in a minority of one. And this was in spite of the fact I run a successful public-sector accountants’ training programme and provide CIPFA’s CETC college with its largest number of students outside of the Audit Commission.

My comments are therefore based on practical experience of recruiting and retaining CIPFA students.

It may be that failing to achieve election to the CIPFA council this year confirms that my personal views are completely out of step with the majority. However, it is difficult to communicate with the membership through a 100-word election address, or through the odd letter to one of the professional journals, and properly put across detailed views.

Nevertheless, I would be interested to find out if my views are reflected within the membership of CIPFA or whether I should give up and retire gracefully.

If CIPFA is to change, it will take more than one council member to effect that change. What I have done is encapsulate my views on a website. It is my hope that members will visit the site and let me know if they agree with my views and, if they do, whether they themselves would be prepared to stand for the CIPFA council next year to bring about the changes that I believe are desperately needed.

– Ian Perkin, CPFA, is finance director of St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust. His website can be reached at

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