Ken Howard
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What is the point of the ACCA

What is the point of the ACCA

Just received notice of an ACCA desktop monitoring review. Presumably this means the ACCA staff don't have to leave their comfy offices to actually go and visit the coal face. Fair enough I thought. Then I saw the questionnaire and the documentation they need. Letters of engagement, money laundering, practice continuity, PII insurance are all well covered, BUT, there's absolutely no mention of actually how we do the work, i.e. no quality control questionnaires about making sure the accounts and tax returns are prepared correctly, nothing about tax planning advice, etc. IE nothing, zilch about what the client actually wants from us, i.e. accountancy and tax advice. Talk about a box ticking exercise. As long as I tick the right boxes and give them the right copies of PII insurance and LOFE's etc., I'm going to pass this review and continue to be let loose on the fee paying clients. The ACCA don't know, and apparently don't care, whether I actually give good accountancy and tax services/advice. How can this be right?

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14th Dec 2011 10:19

not sure I understand this one

surely you've qualified as an accountant and keep your CPD up to date.

It is not for the ACCA to sit down and advise you how to complete tax returns or accounts.

There is a practical experience element before you receive your practising certificate and you will have learnt those skills at that point.

 

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bumpdinkwhallop
14th Dec 2011 11:18

The pointless box ticking regulators have taken over!!!

Tonykelly wrote:

surely you've qualified as an accountant and keep your CPD up to date.

It is not for the ACCA to sit down and advise you how to complete tax returns or accounts.

There is a practical experience element before you receive your practising certificate and you will have learnt those skills at that point.

Whilst I agree it's not for the ACCA to teach me, it's surely their responsibility as a regulatory body to check that I'm still performing up to a reasonable standard of professional service.

After all, they're not just accepting my word that I have PI insurance, or LOFEs - they want to see them to prove I'm telling the truth.  Why aren't they checking for proof that I'm actually still doing the job right.

I can comply with CPD requirements by simply attending courses - it doesn't mean I listen at the courses or put what I've learned into practice.

So what if I passed exams 30 years ago and had relevant skills and experience at that time?  That means nothing today - for all the ACCA know, I could still be doing VAT returns based on 8% VAT (the rate it was when I was granted a PC) or giving death tax advice under the Capital Transfer Tax Law (on which I was examined in my finals before IHT was introduced).  

At the end of the day, what should matter is what the fee paying clients expect of their accountant and the regulatory body they hope to be protected by.  I'm sure clients would expect an FCCA to have some form of competence reviews as to their tax and accountancy knowledge and advice and would be horrified to think that there was absolutely zero review or checking of professional work for their accountant over the past 30 years since first getting their PC!

I'd actually quite enjoy someone qualified/experienced coming to my office and looking through a few random files - to me that would really be a good use of my annual fees to have a bit of feedback about what really matters - i.e. the work my clients pay me for.

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14th Dec 2011 10:20

In my view you are correct

I had a recent visit and I thought exactly the same. I was awarded the quality checked kite and I am still buffled at how a small accountancy practice like mine can actually achieve such a prestigous kite mark. I ouwld have thought there would have been several flaws to my actual ability to provide a complete service to my clients to have ACCA actually award me. Its not to say I don't think I am a good accountant, I am, its just that at this rate every ACCA accountancy practice will have the ACCA kite mark and therefore it becomes meaningless.

I specifically asked the monitor visitor to review my largest file to actually see if I had any issues that I needed to address. This file had a lot of disclosure issues, one being factoring, and I wanted to be sure I wasn't missing anything. It got a clean bill of health.

I was however picked up on 5 issues:

1) 2 of my partnerships tax clients (both husband and wife) has 2 seperate LOE's but I was sneding their tax liability letters together. This could be seen as a PII issues as I was informing the other party and potentially giving confidential infomration away. What She did not understand, was that I dealt solely with the wife, who provided me with all the information in the first place! Therefore I was not providing any confidential information that she hadn't already seen. I confirmed that I would change procedure and waste paper by doing to seperate letters in future and send them to the smae address under seperate post on the same day, to be both opened by the wife!!!

2) Vat returns filed electronically, although I get the client to sign the vat return before I sent it, I did not have a statement that the client was signing. Ie a similar acknowledgement to what was on the old vat return. I actually considered this to be a good change so now I am getting the client to sign a seperate declaration beofre I submit it.

The other 3 were even more trival and I will not go into them on her.

The point is I replied and confirmed the changes and were awarded the quality checked kitemark. At no point was my tax or other quality performance reviewed. I think it is a general exercise to please its regulators and to also permote ACCA against non qualified practices. It certainly won't do much for my practice.

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cheekychappy
14th Dec 2011 11:41

Were your client awfully impressed when you told them and happy to pay a larger fee? How much did it cost for you to scrap your letterhead and print new ones incorporating the good news? Sounds to me like a new job creation scheme

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By blok
14th Dec 2011 11:27

.
As a fellow member I have very little time for this organisation.

If the annual fees were not paid for me I would drop them like hot coals.

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14th Dec 2011 12:58

quis custiodet ipsos custodes? Ipsos.

The ACCA like the ICAEW appear to be adopting a risk-based approach with practice assurance reviews. Smaller practices with no staff and simple organisation structure getting an appropriately shorter and simpler review. If anyone would like to get files reviewed there are lots of organisations such as SWAT (UK) Ltd etc  (others are available), none of them are cheap, who can provide in the in-depth reviews that some are looking for. For the ACCA to do this for all members in practice would be costly. Annual declarations regarding ethical matters and targeted CPD are there to ensure that members are up to date with relevant experience. Over the years, I have had experience of ACCA audit monitoring visits, some where our work, like many others, was not satisfactory in key areas and I can assure all readers that the experience left me in no doubt as to the diligence and thoroughness of the ACCA or need for personal improvement.

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14th Dec 2011 14:51

ACCA or QCS

Are you asking what is the point of the ACCA, or the ACCA's QCS?

The point of the ACCA is that you are a qualified, certified accountant.

The point in the QCS is that the ACCA think it promotes them better, when in fact nobody gives a monkeys.

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