Old flame, new flame

An EU-wide professional accountancy qualification could be on the cards, after it was revealed seven of Europe’s leading institutes have been engaged in talks designed to bring their qualifications closer together.

With many EU members, including Spain, currently celebrating the demise of their national currencies, accountancy institutes are set to meet again at Paris in April to discuss a new qualification. The ICAEW and ICAS have been engaged in talks for nine months with counterparts from France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany.

At present, the institutes are aiming to bring commonality to a larger part of their curriculums. Although each country will retain its own national characteristics, that could change in the future.

The institutes envisage that a prospective member would be able to satisfy the assessment criteria for the common content in any of the participating countries. He or she would satisfy the national content only in the country they want to practise in. Further institutes, possibly from outside the EU, may join the project later this year.

ICAEW education and training director Brian Chiplin said: ‘The talks are not aiming to bring in an overarching qualification, as certain aspects will have to remain national specific. But, over time, who knows?’ ICAS education director Mark Allison added: ‘The bodies are talking, but it is too early to have any firm views on the future.’

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