Institutes are irrelevant, says profession

The Big Question canvassed nearly 800 readers,
and found that 45% thought institutes were no longer relevant to practitioners
and their work, although 42.7% said that they were still important to the

Asked the question ‘Are the institutes in their current form still relevant
to UK accountants and their work?’, 26.4% of respondents answered ‘No, quite

A further 18.5% wrote off the bodies as ‘totally irrelevant’, although 24.2%
said that they were ‘very relevant’ and 18.5% said ‘quite relevant’.

The institutes have lost parts of their historic role in recent years as the
Financial Reporting Council has taken over
as the main regulator. There has also been bickering over the future of the
Consultative Committee of
Accountancy Bodies
, as well as debates over mergers.

Industry consultant Phil Shohet said: ‘In my experience members in practice
consider the institutes largely irrelevant except in their roles as regulators.
Members want to be left alone, and the [quality of their] qualification kept up
in the stratosphere.’

Peter Wyman, ICAEW council member, said: ‘Institutes are huge for every
member in the sense that they dialogue with government and stakeholders on the
accounting environment.’

Separately, the ICAEW has made plans to
ease the reporting burdens on staff who work at its benevolent association,
CABA, amid concerns that members feared having any problems reported back to the

The ICAEW has now agreed that CABA staff should be able to help members
without those members fearing reprisals.

Matthew Ives, director of the professional conduct department at the ICAEW,
said: ‘CABA’s rule change was meant to ease members’ fears.’

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