The Big Question – FDs back institute qualifications

Accountancy qualifications will continue to be a prerequisite for the finance directors of the future though hands-on experience will grow in importance, according to existing UK finance directors.

Responding to the Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel The Big Question, FDs said qualifications offered by the major accountancy institutes do not provide all the relevant skills for fledgling FDs, but most respondents said they would remain a pre-condition for finance staff looking to enter the boardrooms of tomorrow.

The vote of confidence for the institutes’ qualifications coincides with this week’s English ICA conference.

Jean Hill, FD of G&A Computer Services, said: ‘I feel that experience is still fundamental to attaining skills, but since most vacancies require qualifications, they are still very relevant in a vocational sense.’

The general feeling among FDs – an emphatic 71% of respondents backed qualifications – was that hands-on training is essential and formal accountancy training is a stepping stone to finance directors’ posts.

The majority of respondents backed the role of institute qualifications, but most agreed that in future it would be a mixture of experience and training that would bring out the best in financial managers.

‘Formal training is essential. If someone has a qualification, you know exactly what knowledge they have – and to what standard. Other skills are important, but qualifications are the basis,’ said one FD, who asked to remain anonymous.

Other FDs, however, said accountancy qualifications were becoming increasingly irrelevant. One said MBAs were more practical while Premier Structures’ Philip Newton said: ‘As an FD, commerciality and personality are just as important.’

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