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Leader: ACCA practices must recognise their place

CONGRATULATIONS TO BARRY COOPER, who becomes the second non-UK and Ireland president of ACCA, following Sam Wong in 2003.

Cooper, an Australian accounting academic, says he will ensure that ACCA works “closely with employers, and that we meet their needs in an increasingly global economy”, and represent members’ views at a “global level”.

Cooper will be the second ACCA president on the spin without an accounting practitioner background, following Dean Westcott’s tenure (healthcare sector). The next two presidential incumbents, Martin Turner and Anthony Harbinson, are from local and central government, respectively.

ACCA’s UK practice members might just be feeling under-represented – but they will have to accept their place in ACCA’s grand scheme of things.

The institute, for the first time, has more members outside the UK and Ireland than within (75,978 compared to 75,305), according to the latest stats from industry watchdog the Financial Reporting Council. What’s more, ‘outside UK’ numbers have grown at 40.8% between 2006 and 2011, compared to 22.7% for the UK and RoI.

Practitioners only represent 26% of ACCA’s overall membership, with 56% from industry and commerce.

An ACCA spokesman told Accountancy Age that its 36-strong council, which includes 12 members from practice, shows a “clear ongoing commitment to draw a diverse range of perspectives appropriate to its position as a global body”.

It will be fascinating to see whether ACCA’s practice base feels it gets the attention it deserves, over the next few years.

Kevin Reed is editor of Accountancy Age

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