ICAEW should consider new ‘learner’ status

The ICAEW should restructure its qualification meaning that newly qualifieds
will receive ‘L-plates’ rather than the full ACA.

BDO Stoy Hayward head of audit Don Hutchison claims the range of the syllabus
has doubled since he started in the profession 20 years ago, and students
trained across a broader range of material are unable to use what they have
studied due to the thinning out of their knowledge.

He has suggested restructuring the ACA and FCA descriptions to create a
tiered system for ICAEW members, with the FCA representing a defined level of
business experience and knowledge. ‘The kind of conversation I’ve had is
redesignating the ACA so you come out almost with L-plates, if you like, with
perhaps a bolt-on that may be an enhanced specialisation. We might look at what
the FCA qualification encompasses and have that redesignated,’ said Hutchison.

The ICAEW is revamping its syllabus for 2007, with a focus on ethics and
allowing employees to choose modules relevant for their trainees. Concerns over
the lack of high-quality accounting professionals hangs over the entire
industry, according to Accountancy Age’s poll of Insider Business club
viewers, but the latest findings suggest the problem has eased over the past 12

Two-thirds of respondents say their organisation is struggling to recruit
enough high-quality accountants, compared with 82% a year ago. ‘I would say the
quality has declined in terms of the breadth and range of the experience they
would have had in other professional organisations compared with the way it
might have been, for example, when I trained,’ said Hutchison.

An ICAEW spokesman said the ACA qualification is the start of an accountants’
training, and CPD is meant to recognise that issue.

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