PracticeConsultingFor and against: Struggle to change attitudes

For and against: Struggle to change attitudes

Who would be in charge of education and training at the ICAEW? Step forward Brian Chiplin, the man lucky enough to be sitting in one of the hottest hot seats in the institute.

Doubtless he was expecting the flak over the fall in student numbers – after all the drop is down to Ernst & Young’s defection and so has been figured into the budgets for a while.

He may even take comfort from the rumours that suggest E&Y will return to the ICAEW’s training fold when the three-year deal with the Scots has run its course. But as every qualified accountant knows, while the headline numbers always matter, so do underlying trends.

The institute and its member firms know there is a fierce battle going on for the top graduates to secure the future of the profession. All the accountancy bodies are slugging it out for Britain’s best: also there is growing competition from other professions and – perhaps hardest of all for the qualified professional to contemplate – many of those poised on the cusp of working life need persuading of the advantage of a professional qualification of any sort.

You can’t necessarily prevent those changing attitudes but you can try and work around them.

And that is why the institute has made changes which it reckons makes the qualification attractive to both would-be chartered accountants and firms of all sizes who should be training students. The ones who still need persuading to join in are the smaller firms.

Their biggest complaint is the opportunity cost – in other words the chargeable time lost – of having a student stuck in a classroom instead of with a client earning fees is still too great.

Aside from that sector, the anecdotal evidence suggests that training firms, the training suppliers and the students are happy with the changes that have been made. The institute sounds confident that the work done over the last couple of years will be enough to stave off disaster.

US secretary of state Dean Acheson remarked famously that ‘Britain has lost an empire but has not yet found a role.’

In the field of education and training the institute still has both an empire and a role which those in charge of E&T – such as Brian – thinks it is on course to hang onto. It is in the interest of all its existing members that time proves them right.

  • Peter Williams is a chartered accountant and a freelance writer.

Related Articles

5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

Accounting Software 5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

5m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Tyrie on Finance Bill 2017: ‘Making Tax Policy Better’

Consulting Tyrie on Finance Bill 2017: ‘Making Tax Policy Better’

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer
Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Richard Toone, CVR Global

Accounting Firms Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Richard Toone, CVR Global

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Deloitte 'self-imposes exile' on government contracts to defuse PM row

Accounting Firms Deloitte 'self-imposes exile' on government contracts to defuse PM row

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Julie Adams, Menzies

Accounting Firms Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Julie Adams, Menzies

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Friday Afternoon Live: Deloitte's tech thing; PAC wants HMRC 'contingencies'; and Sports Direct

Business Regulation Friday Afternoon Live: Deloitte's tech thing; PAC wants HMRC 'contingencies'; and Sports Direct

1y Kevin Reed, Writer
Friday Afternoon Live: HMRC complaints rise; Deloitte scoops big audits; and corporate reporting woes

Audit Friday Afternoon Live: HMRC complaints rise; Deloitte scoops big audits; and corporate reporting woes

1y Kevin Reed, Writer
New head of equity capital markets for KPMG

Accounting Firms New head of equity capital markets for KPMG

1y Stephanie Wix, Writer