Head to head for global domination

This week the ICAEW announced its participation in the newly-formed Global
Accountancy Alliance, a group of nine institutes from around the world that have
clubbed together to mutually promote their qualifications and pool their
lobbying powers.

The ICAEW will look to improve the acceptability of its qualification abroad,
to make its members more mobile in the modern global economy. Meanwhile, arch
competitor ACCA appears to be pinning its hope on close relations with the
auditor general of China to provide it with access for its qualification to the
world’s fastest growing economy.

That the ICAEW has a competition issue to deal with is beyond doubt. Figures
from the Financial Reporting Council’s report are quite revealing. The ACCA has
grown by 50% over the past five years to around 104,000 members worldwide.
Meanwhile, the world wide growth of the ICAEW appears to have stalled at 8% over
the same period. At current growth rates the ACCA could become the larger
organisation by 2008.

The global alliance looks like an intelligent move. Involving the huge AICPA
of the US, and bringing in the very ambitious bodies of Australia and Canada,
the alliance is notable for not including the ACCA and should provide the
institute with a fair amount of lobbying punch.

It will have to work because ICAEW chief executive Eric Anstee is staking his
reputation on the fact that thought leadership, and influence with government
and regulators, creates a profile which attracts the brightest students.

He’ll be hoping he’s right, because ICAEW members have shown little patience
with the leadership of late.

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