ICAS tech letter shames over 50s

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ICAS has suggested in a letter to members that the communications and technology changes reshaping accounting may be ‘too much to contemplate’ for those over 50.

Auto enrolment, FRS 102 and HMRC’s digital drive were all stated as factors which prompted the Scottish chartered accountants’ body to offer support to its members. In particular, ICAS singled out the 58% of practitioners who are over 50.

The letter goes on to state that rather than adapt to the changes, they may convince this age bracket that “handing on to the next generation” is the best option.

Mark Howitt, who shared the ‘the only constant is change’ letter on Linkedin and Twitter, told AccountingWEB: “the whole thing strikes me as astonishing... it seems like a bit of a blunder all round.”

 

 

While the letter made allusions to people over 50 being unable to deal with technology, the person who signed the letter falls into the over 50 age bracket, as does the president and chief exec of ICAS. “There should have been some review process before the letter was sent out,” said Howitt.

ICAS launched its ‘Love Accounting’ campaign the day before Howitt received the letter. The campaign supports young people from disadvantaged communities, directing them into studying accounting at university.  The Love Accounting advertisement supporting the ICAS Foundation shows a student in a library with the quote, ‘this is the first time anyone has believed in me,’

“I find it bizarre that the next day they fire a letter to everyone over the age of 50 saying we don’t believe in you,” said Howitt, who is the finance manager at Project Scotland, a charity that works with 18-30 year olds. 

Howitt argued that the legislation changes which the letter calls “forceful and overwhelming” would be better handled and embraced by an accountant with experience.

Despite the letter, the technology changes are not proving too much for Howitt, who on the morning AccountingWEB spoke with him had advised a student at a nearby university about accounting’s move to cloud software as part of her dissertation.

AccountingWEB members reacted in a similar way to Howitt’s when asked on Any Answers about the professions’ growing tech demands. The Kent Accountant said: “Come on, unless we're talking about old school dinosaur accountants, most accountants are dealing with 'tech' sufficiently well for their client's needs”.  

The ICAS Practice support’s aim with the letter was to promote their mergers and acquisition service and to initiate businesses implementing succession plans.   

ICAS has told AccountingWEB that they will soon be issuing a follow-up communication to relevant members. They stressed that it was never their intention to offend members but they were mindful to offer support with the upcoming changes. 

Are you over 50? Will the upcoming changes in technology and legislation be too much for you to contemplate? Let us know your views below.

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18th Feb 2016 10:19

its fair comment inpart

as a 62 year old i do empathise with some of the sentiments BUT 50!  SIlver surfers rule....

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By ghewitt
24th Feb 2016 16:17

As a 62 year old

carnmores wrote:

as a 62 year old i do empathise with some of the sentiments BUT 50!  SIlver surfers rule....

I do not emphathise with any of the sentiments.

What we have here is ethnocentricity of a different pernicious form.

I tell my disillusioned adult children and their off-spring that I will not be found sitting in a comfy winged chair with a blanket around my legs handing out Wurthers Originals to an assembly of wide-eyed grandchildren at my feet regaling them with tales of olden days.

I refuse to be pigeon-holed by anyone and if they don't like it they can consider their options; and if they are short on ideas I have a few I can give them.

No-one should be categorised by another as to their suitability in life; hasn't history been replete with such thinkers (and their empathisers) who put such thoughts into actions?

 

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24th Feb 2016 16:21

Me neither

ghewitt wrote:

carnmores wrote:

as a 62 year old i do empathise with some of the sentiments BUT 50!  SIlver surfers rule....

I do not emphathise with any of the sentiments.

What we have here is ethnocentricity of a different pernicious form.

I tell my disillusioned adult children and their off-spring that I will not be found sitting in a comfy winged chair with a blanket around my legs handing out Wurthers Originals to an assembly of wide-eyed grandchildren at my feet regaling them with tales of olden days.

I refuse to be pigeon-holed by anyone and if they don't like it they can consider their options; and if they are short on ideas I have a few I can give them.

No-one should be categorised by another as to their suitability in life; hasn't history been replete with such thinkers (and their empathisers) who put such thoughts into actions?

 

Me neither. I would never give my Wurthers Originals away.

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By ghewitt
24th Feb 2016 16:26

Right you are Sir!

SteLacca wrote:

ghewitt wrote:

carnmores wrote:

as a 62 year old i do empathise with some of the sentiments BUT 50!  SIlver surfers rule....

I do not emphathise with any of the sentiments.

What we have here is ethnocentricity of a different pernicious form.

I tell my disillusioned adult children and their off-spring that I will not be found sitting in a comfy winged chair with a blanket around my legs handing out Wurthers Originals to an assembly of wide-eyed grandchildren at my feet regaling them with tales of olden days.

I refuse to be pigeon-holed by anyone and if they don't like it they can consider their options; and if they are short on ideas I have a few I can give them.

No-one should be categorised by another as to their suitability in life; hasn't history been replete with such thinkers (and their empathisers) who put such thoughts into actions?

 

Me neither. I would never give my Wurthers Originals away.

Total waste to unappreciative palates.

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18th Feb 2016 10:44

Generalisation

I've even older than you, carnmores, but I have always been at the forefront of IT developments where it was beneficial for me to learn. I started my IT knowledge on the first mainframes to be used by businesses.

I'm more 'techie' than many of the younger generations, but then I like to think I am an individual, same as everyone else, rather than just one of a group being written off by ICAS.

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18th Feb 2016 11:14

great to hear Shirley

maybe its the Buckfast or Irn Bru ;-)

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By jlsmith
18th Feb 2016 11:34

subject field is required

I suppose we could whip up a social media outrage storm... 

or face up to the fact that they have a valid point.

 

Difficult choice for an editor needing clicks.

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By Over50
18th Feb 2016 12:07

"Face up to the fact that they have a valid point"

jlsmith wrote:

I suppose we could whip up a social media outrage storm... 

or face up to the fact that they have a valid point.

 

Difficult choice for an editor needing clicks.

In what sense do "they" have a valid point? As a 50 year old CA who has worked with IT for over 30 years and has managed to adapt to constant change in the disciplines of accounting and taxation, I take great offence at my professional body telling me I am no longer capable of work.

ICAS would never have have sent a letter suggesting that women or a particular ethnic group were unable to cope with change and technology. Discrimination on the grounds of age is no different.

It says so much about the gulf between those who run ICAS and their members (who pay their salaries) that they can't even be bothered responding to a request for a comment.

 

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By jlsmith
18th Feb 2016 12:40

subject field is required

Over50 wrote:

ICAS would never have have sent a letter suggesting that women or a particular ethnic group were unable to cope with change and technology. Discrimination on the grounds of age is no different.

 

Age is totally different.  We get older and slower.  We can try to pretend that's not the case, or accept and accommodate where necessary.  

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By Over50
18th Feb 2016 14:31

"We get older and slower."

jlsmith wrote:

Over50 wrote:

ICAS would never have have sent a letter suggesting that women or a particular ethnic group were unable to cope with change and technology. Discrimination on the grounds of age is no different.

 

Age is totally different.  We get older and slower.  We can try to pretend that's not the case, or accept and accommodate where necessary.  

Speak for yourself. Also, I suggest you read Section 101 of the Equality Act 2010 which clarifies the position on discrimination by associations.

 

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18th Feb 2016 11:39

Yeah !

Buckies all round - the logical antidote to FRS 102/105/digital drive (is that when you work the steering wheel with your fingers?).

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By KH
18th Feb 2016 11:55

I'm 68 and still making as many mistakes as when I was 30 ....

I'm 68 and still making as many mistakes as when I was 24 .... but I know a bit more, only just, yet sufficient to have as many checks and controls in as possible so at to flag the errors that in those days of yore used to go out unnoticed till many months later, if at all.

I reckon tech stuff is perfect for us oldies ... it doesn't save us any time, but it does make the output look that more interesting and professional (well, sometimes...). I the meantime HMRC has become more and more of a PITA, especially with its adoption of all things digital ... now if only I were in charge .... ...........

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18th Feb 2016 11:58

Never mind

He, he, I assume those commenting there is a valid point are all under 50!

Not admitting my age (In denial) I will admit I am a bit over 50.

I have no problem with techie stuff and would suggest better than many under 50's. As to FRS102 worked with that in a developing country 11 years ago. Too much is made of it here in UK. Its a learning process which gives lots of CPD where one can nod off (As we are elderly!)

But the letter comes from ICAS. Maybe they think all the over 50's are English.

Storm in a teacup but I did smile.

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18th Feb 2016 12:18

Here are some more comments

Hi Richard 

Here are 8 more  Comments from Aweb members.  I posted this letter on any answers on Friday.  Never mind the mistakes in the letter.  Maybe this is why you should always have a second person to take a look before you send letters out to members or the public. Someone over the age of 50 would have been good in this case. 

http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/anyanswers/question/according-icas-most-us-50-should-pack-interesting

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By jlsmith
18th Feb 2016 15:19

subject field is required

Over50, if you could sell your miracle drug that has prevented you from suffering the effects of ageing, I'll be first to buy it.

Are you suggesting ICAS has broken Section 101 of the Equality Act 2010?  If so, how?

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Life's too short

If you are so offended, take time out and go on your Saga holiday.

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Bloody nerve

As pointed out by others this is unlawful discrimination on the basis of age.  Part 2 s 4 of the  Act lists age as a protected characteristic, and, s 13  states that discrimination based on age is illegal. Part 5 states that discrimination in employment is illegal.  Most interestingly Part 5 s 53 actually addresses discrimination by professional bodies.

 

It is very surprising therefore that a professional body has issued what is clearly an incitement of others to discriminate on the basis of a protected characteristic (age). 

 

ICAS should be ashamed of themselves and apologise immediately. Whoever actually wrote this missive should be fired, or at the very least banished to the nearest Haggis farm.  I understand that Haggis need to be milked twice a day, and are notoriously difficult to lasoo in the wild.     

 

 

 

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18th Feb 2016 17:01

How does that square with your other comments?

AWEB Reader wrote:

As pointed out by others this is unlawful discrimination on the basis of age.  Part 2 s 4 of the  Act lists age as a protected characteristic, and, s 13  states that discrimination based on age is illegal. Part 5 states that discrimination in employment is illegal.  Most interestingly Part 5 s 53 actually addresses discrimination by professional bodies.

http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/article/accounting-firms-back-law-forcing-businesses-reveal-gender-pay-gap/596776#comment-831529

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18th Feb 2016 19:24

be more robust
It say MAY not will, its not discrimation

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19th Feb 2016 10:07

I'm a little bit annoyed. I'm the wrong side of 50, but I can build, configure and maintain and entire functioning operating system from source code, my system of choice at home is Arch Linux, my phones run heavily customised versions of Android, and I'm the first point of contact for most of my friends, even under the age of 30, when their tech doesn't work.

I'd venture that it is simply ICAS who aren't tech savvy, and that they are projecting their own insecurities onto us.

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UPDATE: ICAS has been in touch. ICAS will be sending a follow-up communication to relevant members. There was never any intention to offend.

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19th Feb 2016 11:45

That's alright then

Richard Hattersley wrote:

UPDATE: ICAS has been in touch. ICAS will be sending a follow-up communication to relevant members. There was never any intention to offend.

I'm technically pretty unsavvy but would prefer to have half a century of experience behind me which keeps the money coming in pretty easily.

It's about time we encouraged these Scots to go their own way - I and most of my friends were pleased with the Referendum result but in the intervening period have now changed their views due to the whingers over the border. 

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By ghewitt
24th Feb 2016 15:52

Hmmm

What with the boffins predicitng a rise in the three score years and ten to well over 120 and beyond in the not-too-distant future, it seems daft to keep to the mindset that over 40 and you are past it. One has to ask about the mentality of the person who wrote it; obviously they feel immortal and ageless - otherwise they wouldn't be sawing away at the branch they are sitting on.

Their bus-pass will come all-to-quickly for them I fear and befuddled as they may be perhaps they will recall that the strong arm helping them onto the inocuous bus to 'happy-land' was put in place by them.

Soylent Green, anyone?

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25th Feb 2016 16:14

never mind ethnocentricity

what we have from a lot of the correspondents above is illusory superiority which is an entirely different thing , some would say hubris  and why bother to pigeon hole someone when they do it themselves and yes it is entirely appropriate to categorise people in many circumstances .

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By ghewitt
25th Feb 2016 17:22

illusory superiority ?

carnmores wrote:

what we have from a lot of the correspondents above is illusory superiority which is an entirely different thing , some would say hubris  and why bother to pigeon hole someone when they do it themselves and yes it is entirely appropriate to categorise people in many circumstances .

I have read through the posting and can't see any such superiority; illusory or otherwise; would you mind pointing it out?

As regards your other comment; who is to be the judge of his fellow man to say 'I catergorise you as....', which seems to me to be more like hubris than the comments above.

It maybe that some pigeon-hole themselves, that is a matter for them; it is an entirely different matter to be pigeon-holed by someone else whose intentions and motives are, at the very least, suspect.

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26th Feb 2016 16:24

why should i bother

its a total waste to unappreciative palates! 

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By ghewitt
26th Feb 2016 18:06

Not a waste at all

carnmores wrote:

its a total waste to unappreciative palates! 

Would be nice to know how your opinion was arrived at, I would be most interested and appreciative; always willing to learn and adjust my point of view,

perhaps other posters might too?

Have a Wurthers, your palate might enjoy that creamy, buttery sweet taste.

 

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