Albert Camus
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Rejected application to rejoin ICAEW following bipolar breakdown‏ - What now?

Rejected application to rejoin ICAEW following...

Further to the continuing saga of my breakdown through Bipolar disorder and my problems with the ICAEW, this is the latest communication and my reply to the ICAEW. Does anyone in the community have any suggestions as to what I should do from here? I have no money with which to take these people to Court and need my qualification so that I can get a decent job and get myself out of the financial hole I am in... your comments and help is, as ever, appreciated

ICAEW to A Camus

"Dear Mr Camus

As you know, your application is not straight forward.
 

The major issue as I see it, is that you have not paid the ICAEW's fines and costs. Though I understand you see it that the disciplinary order should not have been made, it was made and has not been overturned on appeal. So, why should the sub committee allow you to come back into membership when you owe money to us and are unable to settle that claim?
 

 The amount you owe us has not been written off. Has anyone told you otherwise?

Name withheld by me to protect the guilty
Senior Legal Advisor, Professional Standards"
 

A Camus to ICAEW

Dear Mr X,
 
Thank you for your email.
 
Despite overwhelming medical evidence that I was unwell during the course of the original incident and later during the time of the allowed appeal that was abandoned by my then solicitor as he received no coherent instruction from me because I had suffered a complete breakdown, the ICAEW have chosen not to allow me to reopen my case as "you must be allowed to continue with your business". As such I have had no opportunity to present my case in the light of my condition and - in all likelihood - clear myself of the matter I was brought before the disciplinary committee for.
 
What is more, although the medical evidence has been set aside in relation to an appeal of original complaint, evidence of my condition became of paramount importance in the process of my application to rejoin.
 
In other words, the ICAEW appear to both NOT recognise my metal health problem AND recognise it simultaneously!
 
What is more, during 2009 much correspondence passed between Mr Y (of the ICAEW) and Mr Turner of the solicitors I retained when I still has some money, in relation to a potential claim I had against the ICAEW under both the Disability Discrimination Act and the Human Rights Act. During the course of this correspondence, Mr Y spoke to Mr Turner and offered me "a deal" with regard to the financial side of the penalty if I discontinued my potential claim. Mr Turner took notes of this conversation and subsequently wrote to Mr Y seeking clarification of it. The clarification was not forthcoming and remains unforthcoming despite several attempts to obtain it.
 
Indeed, even in Mr Y's last communication to me, he stated that I should reapply and then he would consider what deal he could arrange for me and that my position would be made clear to the committee and that they would be asked not to consider the fact that no payment has been made at this time. (Sentiments I believe you echoed also in previous correspondence also - "Despite this correspondence, you need to be aware that in accordance with the Guidelines relating to Readmission applications, the Sub-Committee would normally expect an applicant to have paid all and any outstanding fines and costs before considering approval of an application for readmission. However, in light of the correspondence passing between you and Mr Y, the Members’ Registrar was prepared to waive the readmission fee. In light of that same correspondence the Sub-Committee will be invited to attach no or little weight to the fact that you have not yet paid the fines and costs." 07/12/2010)
 
Now it seems the position has shifted?
 
If my understanding of your email is correct it would appear that I have been punished for being unwell, have not been allowed the opportunity to defend myself whilst well and now no allowance will be made for my position with the committee and no support will be given by Mr Y or you for my rejoining the ICAEW as you want £30,000 from me BEFORE you even consider IF you will allow me back in!!!
 
This is extremely unfair and goes against all natural justice. Can you please confirm or correct my understanding of the position, clarify what if any support you are prepared to give me and set out what reasonable adjustments to the process you have made for me given my disability, for presently, I cannot see any?
 
I - and those supporters and interested parties I have copied into this email - await your reply with anticipation.

Yours sincerely

Albert Camus

Replies

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02nd Feb 2011 23:18

Why not just see what they come back with?

Although I suspect you may have shot yourself in the foot by posting on here.

Failing that, you may have to just set up a new practice without rejoining. Plenty on here have written about giving up their membership of professional bodies.

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02nd Feb 2011 23:40

@ Zarathustra

 

 

Zarathustra,

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and replying.

I have been fighting my case now for nearly 5 years. I have been financially ruined by the decisions taken against me and have been prevented from pursuing my profession because of an illness.

What is more, my former partners took over my £800,000 business without making any payment to me for it and have used the ICAEW to justify their actions.

At each stage I have followed the rules and done everything properly, but it has gotten me nowhere.

I have had my name ruined and have neither the money, energy nor reputation to restart a practice from scratch.

I need a job... have you tried to find one in accountancy without a CCAB qualification? The salaries are very low, the prospects are non existent and the work offered somewhat routine for someone who has my experience. This community is the only support I have left which is why I seek the advice of the members of it.

Albert Camus

 

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By mumpin
03rd Feb 2011 07:50

Bon chance

Keep at them, Albert.

All you can do is hope to shame them into behaving reasonably.

Have you tried any organisation such as Mind? I see they have a Legal Unit.

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By mumpin
03rd Feb 2011 07:54

Petition?

I'm in the ACCA so no help, but what if (say) 50 ICAEW members who frequent this board were to petition Professional Standards expressing disquiet and demanding a full review of your case?

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By Guest1
03rd Feb 2011 08:17

A long shot, but

have you ever thought of trying to approach any journalists with national newspapers, or even monthly magazines who specialise in health issues. The Daily Mail runs a health section on Monday and I'm sure the Daily Telegraph has a similar theme, probably on another day. Others, I'm sure will follow a similar pattern.

My thoughts here are that, if you could get someone to actually "listen" to your situation, get the story published and then, hopefully, someone, just someone, might try to change things for you.

The other thing to seriously consider and, you obviously have the means to do this, is to begin to write the story of your situation and, in effect, write a book. It can either be autobiographical, or even a novel. It doesn't really matter. The simple fact is, you need to get to the bottom of all of this, for your own sanity and, you never know, someone just might find it interesting.

For 23 years I tried to persuade a good friend of mine to do just that -write a story of his days in the Police in the 1960's. Two years agao he wrote it, last year it was published (locally) and, last week, he phoned me to say it had been sold to a national publisher. Yes, fantasy can become reality. You've nothing to lose Albert, tell it how it's been.

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03rd Feb 2011 08:56

Sorry, but ....

Actually, you didn’t follow all the rules and even have fines unpaid, but remembering much of your story I am utterly amazed that you would wish to be associated with them again. This is beginning to sound a little farcical, like the Marx Brothers scene where he applied to join a club that he doesn’t want to join.

  They aren’t worth bothering with. Don’t look for a job, become self-employed right now (T: 0845 915 4515) and focus your energies positively into helping yourself and other people. By all means continue to publicise your injustice, but at the end of the day you making a success of yourself in your own practice would be the best proof that they are wrong and you are right.

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03rd Feb 2011 09:26

if you sup with the devil...

Before you approach the Mail, or any other paper, you might want to read this sorry tale

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03rd Feb 2011 09:45

My thoughts

Given your difficulties, past & present, and your obviously low opinion why do you want back in? I do understand your comments regarding the importance of the qualification you worked so hard for, but I must admit I have often been tempted to become a "cowboy" myself when the various renewal fees hit the letter box.

I know quite a few lapsed members of ICAS who got fed up with the fees and the hassle. While they can't audit (and who would want to?) I can't honestly say it has affected their business.

It seems to me, if they let you back in, then you will be on their naughty list for the rest of your career and can only assume that you will see an awful lot more of the various oversight teams than the average member.

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03rd Feb 2011 10:14

Self employed

I hear what you are saying but why not consider setting up your own practice?  It needn't take more energy than a full time job if you start off small and build up slowly.  I built my practice up from scratch, it didn't cost much and within 3 years I was earning more than when I was employed. 

Whatever route you choose, good luck as it seems you've not had much lately.

Incidentally, I am seriously considering letting my ICAEW membership lapse.

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By Monsoon
03rd Feb 2011 11:25

Keeping my fingers crossed for you

Albert I'm sorry to hear  of your problems.

I understand why you want (need) to get ICAEW membership back and why you feel employment will be easier for you than self employment (though I wouldn't dismiss the latter as an option out of hand, if ICAEW don't see reason then you may have to consider it)

Have you thought of speaking to a no-win-no-fee solicitor about this? I agree that it seems ICAEW have discriminated against you due to disability and I would assume they are liable under the Equality Act just as much as, say, an employer would be.

I do hope you reach a positive resolution on this, what you have said does seem grossly unfair (which follows other tales I've heard of the ICAEW)

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By bduncan
03rd Feb 2011 11:31

Set up as a marketing consultant

You definately have the skills and I am sure that you would get people to pay for your services.

Or

Restart a practice, you may have a bad name to some idiots in the profession but not to Joe Public who would be your client base. There is one true rougue accountant (which you are not) in my town and he still gets business.

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04th Feb 2011 01:22

Pick on the disabled week

Hi Albert,

I totally sympathise with your position, and I do agree that it appears you have been discriminated against because of your disability. Unfortunately unless you are prepared to spend money (which you don’t have) for legal redress then what chances do you have.

It also highlights a much wider problem in the accounting profession in that there is far too much power in the organisations that make up the CCAB. They should not be the policy makers, the regulators as well as promoting their members interests. It is like having the executive, judiciary and legislature all rolled up into one body.

Self regulation has never worked and will never work. The people at the top of these organisations will want to protect their own interests.I suspect that the reason why the accountancy profession is in such a mess is that MPs realise how self serving the profession is and don’t feel that it can pass over powers which would serve the best interests of the public. e.g. Having proper regulations of accountants in practice.

Unfortunately the muppets at the top of these organisations aren’t prepared to change and so the whole circus moves on. 

Best of luck.

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04th Feb 2011 08:16

Have you tried CABA?

Just a thought.

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04th Feb 2011 09:34

Dear Albert

Much as I sympathise with your awful experiences with ICAEW I can not for the life of me work out why an intelliegent chap like you would want to continue to do business with them.

You seem hell-bent on prolonging your own agony and there is a reluctance to put your dealings with them behind you. I don't mean your natural desire to clear your name, but the idea you should wish to rejoin and fly the flag for ICAEW is, quite frankly, absurd. Unless you have a hitherto undisclosed motive?

You do not need ICAEW's badge of approval to maintain a career in the accountancy profession. If you seriously believe that you have been brainwashed by the very same organisation that has so badly let you down already.

Don't allow them to make you believe that you are still, somehow, dependent on them. You are not. All you need is a computer, some software and telephone and you are away. You have a headstart on many other accountants. You have the training, the experience and a sharp mind. Use them productively and you will surely succeed.

-- Kind regards Andy

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04th Feb 2011 10:00

Walk away - Not so sure

Although I agree in principle with what Andy is saying I do think this misses the point.

Albert has probably spent five to seven years getting qualified and invested the best part of his life in obtaining recognition in an industry, which he is now prevented from even working in.

If he does enter the profession he will be treated like a new comer and will have no recognition. You say recognition doesn't matter, it increasingly matters as business people wise up to the fact that a talking parrot could call itself an accountant.

He has been discriminated against because he is ill, but who is the ICAEW accountable to? 

If the ICAEW/ACCA were employers they would be halled before the courts and told that they practices are unenforceable. Thats before awards for sex and disabiliy discrimination. As a matter of principle in law an Employer cannot stop someone from earning a living and this is exactly what they do.

These organisations trample over the rights of others without any thought, knowing that legal redress is almost impossible, and at the same time so miserably fail to regulate the profession.

I for one would like to see an independent regulator.

 

 

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14th Feb 2011 23:27

Don't bother

To be honest the ICAEW is not for sole practitioners (and I am one who is currently a member). It is staffed by people from large firms who have no idea what it is like to be solely responsible for keeping yourself up to date and completing the myriad of information it requires. The fact that a partner at PWC is charged the same for their practice certificate as someone struggling to start up a practice says it all. You even get the same ridiculous annual returns to do that are completely out of proportion because they can't be arsed to produce something more suitable. Added to that you get discounts for booking several CPD courses with them which means large practices pay less per head than small ones. They are also very London-centric despite the Milton Keynes base. Many small practitioners have left the ICAEW for good reason.

I would not want to rejoin the ICAEW in your case. The problem is if you do make money for how long can they persue this "debt" they enforced on you without any compassion and probably any basis in law. The fact that they can employ "senior legal advisers" with your money says it all. What does this person know about accountancy? Nothing. Yet they have power over ICAEW members and that is wrong. The position is probably that they can't enforce the £30k "debt" against you because to do so they would have to go to a proper court and they would lose because then the basis for that finding could be disputed. However they do have the power to make sure you aren't a member of their little London centric little boys club. You are well out of it. Go independent, use the knowledge of what you learned as you trained to build a better practice and look at joining another institution. I am sure a good solicitor could easily come up with wording to show you were trained and worked as an ACA in your advertising that removes any problems in presenting your case to the public but doesn't mislead them into thinking you are still a member ( as any attempts by the ICAEW to remove your right to advertise as such would be an illegal restraint of trade). Have you thought of working in business instead?

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