PracticeAccounting FirmsICAEW chief calls for overhaul

ICAEW chief calls for overhaul

ICAEW business members believe the institute is 'irrelevant', institute vice president Paul Druckman has admitted. Due to take the top job in 2004, Druckman also said the institute should end its practice of having a full time president.

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In an exclusive interview with Accountancy Age, Druckman said the institute was traditionally focused on practice but said that he is ‘pushing’ to put business on the agenda.

‘The majority of business users think the qualification is useful, but the institute is irrelevant,’ he said. ‘Traditionally we organise training and technical support groups, but 99.99% of attendees are from practice.’

Druckman criticised the institute’s tradition of full-time chairman or president roles, believing they should have a non-executive role to represent member views, while the institute’s expert staff take centre stage in discussions rather than just taking notes at meetings.

ICAEW members increasingly leave practice to work in industry and commerce.

The Accountancy Foundation last year reported business membership had grown by some 7% a year and the ICAEW now consists of 60% business members compared to 26% practice members.

If there is one thing he can establish during his period of office, Druckman wants it to be ‘to demonstrate to our members that the institute plays a relevant, purposeful and important part in their business life, especially with regard to our business members.’

He also wants to establish a systematic review of qualified accountants in practice and business. He believes this is essential to re-establishing trust in the profession. ‘If we don’t do it, the government will,’ he said.

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