Director of education at Scots ICA approach to education – Evolutionary, not revolutionary

The qualification is more than just a set of examinations. All students follow a three-year training contract with an accredited employer. Each employer has to meet nine standards of training and is subject to regular peer review.

Syllabus content is reviewed every year by considering changing business practices and new regulation.

We meet employers annually and listen to their perceptions of the chartered accountancy qualification. Through links with our sister bodies in the UK, and our involvement in IFAC, we benchmark our approach with other standards.

After recent consultation it is hardly surprising that assurance and electronic commerce have risen to importance. Neither have our members been surprised at proposals to spend more time on the underlying principles of accounting, auditing and management information systems.

There are no options. Everything in the syllabus is core. There is no desertion of the concept of education first and exams second. Applied technical case studies are still the primary method at all levels in both education and in examining. ICAS staff and high-quality tutors from all areas of the UK accountancy profession will continue to educate and train.

We intend to integrate further technical educational aids to the classroom.

Nothing strange there. Those of you over the age of 40 will recall slide rules, and log books. Current students hardly use a pen and the opportunities to integrate electronic audit, computerised GAAP checkers and integrated business software to the classroom or website are simply consistent with the workplace.

If our approach to the CA qualification was anything but evolutionary, then we would fail to be qualifying members who met public expectations of a chartered accountant. The CA of the 21st century must still be somebody who exercises professional judgement to a standard of his peers.

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