The Big Question – Institutes ”irrelevant’, say FDs

More than one in three finance directors say their professional institute is ‘irrelevant’, with the English ICA singled out for particular criticism.

Of the 211 FDs questioned in this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel Big Question survey, 36% said their institute had become an irrelevance.

When the responses were broken down, the English ICA topped the dissatisfaction league, with 40% of finance director members complaining that it was irrelevant to their everyday work.

The findings come as rival wings of the English ICA lay plans to hold separate annual conferences for practitioners.

CIMA came next with 37% followed by CIPFA with 30%.

ACCA was top of the institutes for member satisfaction. Around two-thirds (63%) of its members thought its events were relevant, compared to 30% of chartered accountants from the Scottish and – principally – the English institutes.

‘I wouldn’t go again to the ones I’ve been to,’ said one critic.

‘The institute is trying to raise the profile among business members but I’ve yet to come across a must-attend event.’

Another FD preferred to go to the Big Five firms for advice and training. ‘You can get cheaper, more specific courses from the Big Five which also take up less of your time,’ he said.

Some 41% of FDs, however, praised their institutes. Keith Ross, of IPECO, the aircraft parts manufacturer, said: ‘The events are a useful way of keeping up to date for accountants in industry and commerce who can sometimes be isolated.’

Paresh Samat, of SBJ Employment and Safety Services, added: ‘The events are more relevant, as I see them as forming ideas for future events and regulations.’

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