PracticeConsultingFirms delaying decisions on whether to ditch English ICA and follow Ernst & Young north of border

Firms delaying decisions on whether to ditch English ICA and follow Ernst & Young north of border

Leading firms appear to be playing a waiting game before deciding whether to follow Ernst & Young's lead in ditching the English ICA and starting to train student accountants through its Scottish rival.

E&Y chiefs announced the firm’s decision to start putting all its trainees through the Scots ICA’s training system yesterday after months of uncertainty over the future of the the English institute’s training scheme.

The main issue at stake has been the introduction of optional papers, or ‘electives’, into the English institute’s system.

Institute members voted against this move last summer despite support for electives both from major training firms and chiefs and officials at the institute.

Other firms indicated that they had not yet made final decisions about whether to follow E&Y’s move in the wake of the firm’s decision yesterday.

PricewaterhouseCoopers head of assurance and business advisory services Rodger Hughes, said: ‘We were very disappointed with the failure of the electives vote, but we are encouraged by what we have seen so far from the ICAEW in its attempt to come up with a training programme that is relevant for the future.

‘This has not yet been finalised and until we see it in its final form and understand how it will work in practice we can not make any final judgements.

‘Training is very important to us and we continually examine different ways of training and qualifying our graduate recruits – having regard to our and their needs. We already use the Scots ICA for training a significant number of our graduates and foresee advantages in being able to offer a number of options to potential recruits.’

Julian Synett, managing partner at Levy Gee, said: ‘It doesn’t surprise us that Ernst & Young have done this. We would much prefer to see the vote on electives reversed. We are now watching what the Big Five are doing.’

Andrew Pawley, professional development partner, said: ‘We have and will continue to stand by our beliefs in offering our people choice. That means continuing to allow our students to choose between both the ICAEW and ICAS. We recommend what we believe is the right qualification for each individual. The new ICAS proposals are very attractive and we are very encouraged by them so perhaps we will steer relevant students to them. However they need to clarify issues such as costings. We will the ICAEW to flesh out their new proposals.’

Baker Tilly managing partner Laurence Longe said: ‘Baker Tilly will support the English ICA. If the firms continue work together to achieve their objectives then I am sure that we can do it.’

Robert Corroll, senior technical and training manager, said Moore Stephens was now offering ICAS in addition to the English Institute, because it offers exemptions for certain graduates.However he said: ‘We are not abandoning the ICAEW. The latest changes there are a significant step and very welcome.’

English ICA admits blow from Ernst & Young defection but denies evidence of exodus

Ernst & Young becomes first Big Five firm to ditch English ICA over training dispute

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