Small institutes ‘trade off’ student uncertainty

Eric Anstee, former ICAEW chief executive

Eric Anstee, former ICAEW chief executive

‘There are institutes that trade off uncertainty about qualifications. This
is especially a problem internationally, where there can be real
misunderstandings. Students obtain a UK qualification only to find that it is
not what they expected,’ Anstee said. He did not name specific institutes.

The row follows the release, by mistake, of
ICAEW council papers,
which revealed that the institute wanted to ‘codify’ the profession by
introducing a hierarchy of institutes with the CCAB bodies at the top and
bookkeepers at the bottom.

According to the papers, the ICAEW intended to put this structure forward to
the Privy Council in the hope that it would see the term ‘accountant’ registered
and prevent people without proper qualifications from claiming to be

‘The ICAEW proposal is not about saying one qualification is better than
another. It is about being clear and transparent so that everyone knows what
skills each qualification offers,’ Anstee said.

Philip Turnbull, chief executive of the
Association of International
, reacted angrily to the classification.

‘We offer a recognised qualification. It is not for the ICAEW to decide if
the profession should be codified and how that should be done. It needs to be
done through a public discussion, not in secret behind closed doors,’ Turnbull

The AIA has previously said the ICAEW hierarchy plans are simply a way of
feeding new students into its organisation.

Financial Reporting Council chief executive Paul Boyle, meanwhile, said the
profession needed to provide the FRC with a cost-benefit analysis if it wanted
the regulator to police the use of the term accountant.

‘By definition they (the institutes) can’t have power over non-members, so
who is going to do this, and who is going to pay for it?’ Boyle said.

Both Anstee and Turnbull agreed that the term ‘accountant’ needed to be
protected and that the FRC could be the ideal organisation to manage the

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