PracticeAccounting FirmsAnstee sets stage for second merger vote

Anstee sets stage for second merger vote

Undeterred by a 'no' vote on merger last year the ICAEW's chief executive is keen to lay ground work for success next time

Anstee sets stage for second merger voteIf the merger process was nothing
else, it was a learning experience for ICAEW chief executive Eric Anstee. He
told Accountancy Age that, while he lost the vote to merge the
institute with CIPFA (by the narrowest of margins), the experience had produced
some determination at Moorgate Place to find out why he lost the argument.

MORI has helped out in that respect. Research for the institute among members
who said ‘no’, has revealed that 33% did so because they thought it would
‘diminish’ the qualification, while another 31% believed that joining the public
sector body would reduce standards generally.

The results have led Anstee (pictured) to conclude that the message just
wasn’t getting across.

From his City office, he insists his strategy of having two qualifications,­
the ACA and CIPFA’s, ­ under the one umbrella of the ICAEW, would not lead to a
decline in standards anywhere.

But Anstee believes that to win a second merger proposal, probably in 2007,
he needs to convince the membership he is succeeding on some other fronts. If he
can show members that the institute is best at ‘thought leadership’ and gets
results when lobbying government, standard setters and regulators, it will
produce a reputation for excellence that enhances members’ careers.

‘Eighty-six percent say they want to see this institute maintain top quality
standards ­ the gold standard. But what they also want to make sure is that the
thought leadership is relevant to us,’ said Anstee.

But Anstee recognises the membership is diverse and they will all
want to see the institute working on their behalf. ‘One of the key things we do

need to do is service all the members. We need to make sure that
there’s something for everyone. All of our members are sufficiently well trained
to expect us to service all of them,’ he said.

Servicing all the members means an expanded set of faculties, including a new
public services body that will look at a ‘reciprocity’ agreement with CIPFA, and
possibly sharing office space in some regional areas. There will also be a new
financial services faculty intent on helping smaller practices muscle in on the
ground currently held by independent financial advisers.

Other items on Anstee’s agenda include a new modular qualification, also
planned for 2007 and expansion overseas including India and China. Also, the
implementation of the institute’s practice strategy which examines small and
medium-sized practices that are winning a slice of the lucrative probate market.

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