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Has the ICAEW lost ground to the ACCA

Has the ICAEW lost ground to the ACCA

When I did my exams many moons ago there was a definite pecking order. In the firm I worked for "doing certified" was reagarded as almost an insult (not saying I agree with it)!

The other day someone (non-accountant) remarked to me that they thought ACCA was the global qualification and the Moorgate Place mob were just a provincial outfit.

OK - so I know that the majority of people in the UK couldn't tell Certified from Chartered from Turf, but amongst people with some knowledge, what do you think the perception out there is.

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16th Aug 2012 11:22

Losing ground

I understand that the reason that the chartered bodies are losing ground in terms of numbers is that their training models have not kept up with the times.

Employers, especially smaller firms, do not want to commit to the time & expense of chartered training contracts.

For example, I could employ a 16 year old school leaver tomorrow whom after doing AAT could go onto ACCA training. Realistically, that trainee could be a qualified ACCA by the time they are 21/22 with 6 years of relevant worth experience, all for a relatively small outlay in salary & fees.

Compare that with employing a graduate and paying for the training fees. Your newly minted CA/ACA at roughly the same age will have a third of the work experience but expect the salary.

That said however, I believe that ACCA and/or their training providers are guilty of misleading countless students into thinking they can retrain for a new career in accountancy. They need to make it far clearer that passing the exams is only one part of becoming a member and obtaining a practicing cetrificate.

 

 

 

 

 

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16th Aug 2012 12:52

.

Roland195 wrote:

I understand that the reason that the chartered bodies are losing ground in terms of numbers is that their training models have not kept up with the times.

Employers, especially smaller firms, do not want to commit to the time & expense of chartered training contracts.

For example, I could employ a 16 year old school leaver tomorrow whom after doing AAT could go onto ACCA training. Realistically, that trainee could be a qualified ACCA by the time they are 21/22 with 6 years of relevant worth experience, all for a relatively small outlay in salary & fees.

Compare that with employing a graduate and paying for the training fees. Your newly minted CA/ACA at roughly the same age will have a third of the work experience but expect the salary.

That said however, I believe that ACCA and/or their training providers are guilty of misleading countless students into thinking they can retrain for a new career in accountancy. They need to make it far clearer that passing the exams is only one part of becoming a member and obtaining a practicing cetrificate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can do ACA after the AAT and receive significant exemptions.. All in the ACA is around £10-15k in tuition fees, which I believe is roughly comparable to ACCA, so that argument doesn't wash.

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16th Aug 2012 13:41

Depends

cparker87 wrote:

You can do ACA after the AAT and receive significant exemptions.. All in the ACA is around £10-15k in tuition fees, which I believe is roughly comparable to ACCA, so that argument doesn't wash.

I will admit that I am not as familiar with the requirements for ACA as CA but your £10/15k tuition fee assumes the use of a training provider. ACCA can be done without them via distance learning or even without a structured course at all meaning it can be much cheaper.

 

 

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16th Aug 2012 11:21

Yes

I think you're right, the ACCA qualification has done some catching up.  But the ACA snobbery will persist and it could be more helpful in larger practices.

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16th Aug 2012 21:05

The ICAEW

has been losing ground since the late 1970s when it introduced a requirement for graduate entry only.  That made employing trainees prohibitively expensive for smaller firms, paying a graduate salary to a trainee who knew diddly squat about accounts but then wanted the training course and studly leave paid for.  By the time the clowns at Moorgate Place backtracked on this the damage was done, and with local colleges offering day release courses for ACCA there was no way back.

Ah well, seems to be the attitude.  So long we can open a Singapore office and get the Prince of Wales as an honorary member, stuff the firms actually living in the real world.

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16th Aug 2012 21:58

The contrary view
...is that the ACCA may ave gained grounds in UK and internationally by flexible exams and membership expansion, but it does FA for its members and the advancement of their interests. Basically it's the Tesco of accountancy bodies,

Just what use to any UK member is it if the ACCA gets a Queens award for Export?

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16th Aug 2012 23:21

The other contrary view

is that you swap ICAEW for ACCA in your first paragraph

and substitute Singapore Office and brown nosing the Price of Wales for Queens Award for Export in the second.

 

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17th Aug 2012 07:06

Graduate only since the 1970s?

 I qualified as an ACA in the 1980s and I have no degree...

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17th Aug 2012 08:05

If you read

the post, it says that the institute backtracked on the decision.

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17th Aug 2012 09:36

The ICAEW has lost ground...

for all the (very pertinent) reasons given and, I suspect, to a large extent because:

1) within the profession - they have "lost" their sole prerogative to use the title "chartered". 

Thus, the aura and status previously accorded to CAs and ACAs can be claimed by ACCAs, CPFAs and ACMAs provided they are dealing with those that don't realise the distinction between the various accounting bodies.  For those that - for whatever reason - do not gain membership of the CCAB bodies - chartered status may be gained by studying for CTA or ACIS; though worthy specialisations - not strictly accountancy in the "normal" sense but sufficiently close for those that take this route to argue that - because they "do accounts" - they are justified in referring to themselves as accountants.

Now, all the above are able to loosely - and on occasion deliberately - refer to themselves as "chartered accountants" the vexed issue of "which is better" is largely confined to the profession itself and continues in a manner reminiscent of the John Cleese/Ronnie Barker/Ronnie Corbett comedy sketch.

2) of the wider adoption of "chartered" status by former occupations wanting to be seen as professions (Chartered Institute of Housing, Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives).  Whether or not any particular body is justified in adopting "chartered" status is not the point here.  The widespread adoption of the "title" makes it common and "common" is seldom viewed as denoting something of value.

Before the ACCA is applauded for "catching up", it should be remembered that they failed miserably to grasp the opportunity to adopt the wider internationally recognised "CPA" designation - turning their obsessions inwards and choosing instead to pursue the increasingly common and (possibly) ultimately valueless "chartered" title. 

I remain proud of my profession, but the profession - as a whole - has to "get a grip" if it is to maintain/regain it's respect in society.

tladirect

 

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17th Aug 2012 09:31

 

 

The way I see it is the big audit firms pick up the best and the brightest graduates and train them as ACA's this is where I think most of the "difference" comes from. Its raw talent of those doing the training.  ACCA trainees come from a much wider base.

I dont think its got anything much to do with the exam boards, the sylabus or anything else (although the ICAEW's case study does shake out "cram and parrot" candidates, you can only pass it if you can apply your knowledge properly) , but if you are looking at an average candidate of one qualification and an average of the other the average ACA's will have a (very slight) edge due to recruitment.

If you took two identical twins and one did one and one did the other you would end up with two equally good accountants.

However the if you take two non-identical twins, the the annoying one with the straight A's at A-level will get into PWC and do ACA and the very good but not quite as smart who gets 3 B will do the ACCA. 5 years later you will probably find the ACA will have a slight edge over the ACCA in terms of earnings and career etc but not due to the qualifications but their underlying natural ability.

Or its not the exams, its the people doing them.

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17th Aug 2012 09:56

Big assumption

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

The way I see it is the big audit firms pick up the best and the brightest graduates and train them as ACA's this is where I think most of the "difference" comes from. Its raw talent of those doing the training.  ACCA trainees come from a much wider base.

Or its not the exams, its the people doing them.

That's a massive assumption that only the best and brightest go to university and completely ignores the fact that there will be some of the "best and brightest" who don't go to university for a variety of reasons.  

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17th Aug 2012 10:18

.

Correct Ken, but I am not talking about individuals, I am talking about averages. Two different things.

Which is why you may be able to correctly claim that on average people prefer watching football to cricket, but lots of individuals (such as myself) much prefer cricket to football.

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By Locutus
17th Aug 2012 11:09

ICAEW has been losing ground for some time
I started my career in the late 1980s with a medium sized Chartered practice. I didn't have a degree so had to do AAT, which I passed with flying colours. At that firm at that time there was a huge snobbery with Chartered - so much so that Chartered was out of the question. You had to be a really "special" person to be considered. I left and qualified as an ACCA a couple of years later.

Since 1997 I have worked at many Chartered or Certified practices either as an employee or as a self employed freelancer. Over that period none (and I really mean none!) had been training ICAEW Chartereds whilst I worked there - trainees were either AAT or ACCA. Small practices just don't seem to train Chartereds any more ... and haven't been for a while.

When I started my career, ICAEW used to be regarded as the bastion of the elite - and to some extent ACCA was for those who weren't good enough. Now that distinction has largely been eroded, so much so that I couldn't even be bothered to apply for the "Pathways" conversion from ACCA to ICAEW when that came along.

In 20 years time I think ACCA and ICAEW would have merged, since ICAEW's membership would have shrunk so much due to members retiring and a dwindling number of new members coming through.

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17th Aug 2012 11:31

I'll stick my two-penneth in.

I couldn't get an ACA trainee position as my A Levels were average. You'd think a 2.1 in Maths would supercede this but OH no and I never got an ACA trainee.

Went for ACCA. At that time you could taken 10 years to pass. And then, as CACA turned into ACCA (1996ish) they started the clock again so some people were able to use 20years to pass.

Contrast this with ICAEW requirement to do in 3-4 years. At college courses for the ACCA final stages we had a few time barred ACAs.

So no, the ACCA is definitely below ACA.

All ACCA has done differently is grow by international crap, setting up ACCA affiliations all over Johny Foreigner counties in Africa and Asia and this is how they have set themselves apart from ACA.

This is why I did my ATII 12 months after getting my ACCA so I could get some self respect.

ps - when I started my own practice I got/get diddly squat from ACCA. For £400 a year I get a certificate to say I can sign off and that's it. Nothing about "here's what you need to think about, how the ACCA can help you in practice" etc. Mind you I'm sure ICAEW is the same.

 

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17th Aug 2012 11:39

History

When I trained in the late 60's the system of having to pay a premium to become a chartered accountant had only recently ended (the family paid a lump sum to the firm which paid it in the form of a very low salary to the trainee) but trainee salaries with chartered were still ludicrously low - at that time ACCA was the route that any ordinary working class trainee would have to to take.  Having said that the firms provided exam leave (1 week generally) as they did for the ACA trainees.

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By rohit
17th Aug 2012 12:46

Accounting profession

The beauty of it is that a topic that invites a discussion on comparison of professional bodies and specifically "ACCA vs. ACA" gets so many posts (amazingly 16 in total!) & hits within a day compared to some poor bloke wanting advice on a tax query...

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17th Aug 2012 16:10

Agreed

And that is why I always check the UNanswered queries whenever I can...

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By rohit
17th Aug 2012 16:38

@paul

Not being sarcastic, I didn't even realise there was such an option ... thanks 

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By Old Greying Accountant
17th Aug 2012 22:13

roundabout the time I started ...

.... ICAEW used to get full exemption from ACCA, but the reverse was not true. The two ACA partners in my training practice did this so they could admit the third partner who was ACCA.

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17th Aug 2012 23:35

@ Old Greying Accountant
I believe that's still the case.

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