PracticeAccounting FirmsICAEW practice support urgently needed

ICAEW practice support urgently needed

ICAEW overhaul of support services may leave a "black hole" for communicating with smaller practices

A crucial few months await the ICAEW’s smaller practitioners, as the
institute looks to overhaul its structure for providing them with support
services.

The institute has disbanded its advisory board system, including the practice
arm, in an attempt to come up with a more streamlined system of dealing with the
various strands of its membership.

Peter Mitchell, ICAEW council member and chairman of the Society of
Professional Accountants, representing smaller firms, said the advisory boards
“haven’t been helpful or constructive in the main” since they were introduced
four years ago. “It acted as a blocking filter,” said Mitchell.

A new structure must be in place by the early months of 2011, or leave a
“black hole” for communicating with small practices. It must have appropriate
representation to promote them, he added. The board previously operated with
former E&Y senior partner Nick Land as chairman.

Mitchell said: “Our principle concern was [the ICAEW] identified someone very
high up – who would not necessarily have relevant experience or understanding of
the needs and pressure of high street accountants.”

Mitchell, who said there was “considerable goodwill on both sides” to create
a successful strategy, refused to comment on whether he would apply for a role
in any new structure.
An institute spokesman said the advisory boards had been of value, and the
institute “learned a lot from them”.

The ICAEW wants to maintain a channel of communication with practices,
lauding the national practitioner forums created through the Practice Advisory
Board.

But he said that a timescale for the introduction of a new service for
practitioners has not been set, adding it was more important to get it right
than rush through a new scheme.

The institute is also set to introduce a chief executive’s advisory panel of
up to
20 members, supporting thinking on sub-groups of its membership.

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