After a year that has seen relations strained almost to breaking point, the
six professional bodies that make up the CCAB are gathering in the ornate
surroundings of Rugby school. They have CIPFA president Diane Colley, also chief
executive of Rugby council, to thank for the choice of venue.
And while the chief executives, presidents and vice-presidents in attendance
will find it hard to resist a stroll round the historical grounds, they should
not neglect what will be a packed agenda – not least the urgent effort that is
required to patch up their differences.
Yes, we know you’ve heard us talk shrilly of crucial CCAB meetings before.
Back in July, after a simmering row between ICAS and the ICAEW bubbled over into
public acrimony, the six bodies met up and managed to agree to pursue a common
However, the resolution hasn’t proved to be watertight as the months since
that agreement have been no less fractious. We’ve seen the ICAEW-CIPFA merger
voted down. We’ve listened to chartered institutes across the world voice their
concerns about the proposed name of the combined institute and we’ve watched the
common approach to continuing professional development unravel.
To get the CCAB show back on the road, the six institutes have to agree on
focusing on what they agree on, rather than what divides them.
Yes, they compete for students. But more important than that, they represent
a quarter of a million qualified accountants who require a unified
So on education and training, for instance, we shouldn’t expect the sharing
of competitive information. But on CPD, on the other hand, only a common
approach makes sense.
Twelve months of disputes will not be overturned in a single meeting. But the
institutes have demonstrated they can work together in united opposition to the
controversial revenue recognition rules contained in abstract 40, which threaten
professional firms’ profitability. That has to be something to build on.
If 2006 is going to be any less of an annus horribilis for the CCAB than
2005, the hard work starts now in Rugby.
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