Are accountancy qualifications still worth it?

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“It’s not what I gained, it’s what I didn’t have to do,” says Paul ScholesThe experienced accountant and long-time member of AccountingWEB tells Francois Badenhorst about why he gave up his ACCA membership.

AccountingWEB member Paul Scholes is one many visiting the site who have turned their backs on formal accountancy qualifications.

Scholes followed the normal trajectory into accounting. He qualified in 1977 with the ICAEW, but for reasons of business practicality shifted to the ACCA in 1990. He says in the early days of his career, membership of a regulatory body yielded significant professional benefit.

“When I first started as an accountant, I could liquidate companies, I could handle personal bankruptcies, and I could audit and give investment advice,” explains Scholes. “All those things were the preserve of qualified accountants when I qualified, so it gave you a lot of benefits in terms of work I could do that unqualified accountants couldn’t.”

The privileged status of qualified accountants changed somewhat when insolvency, bankruptcy and investment advice became separate disciplines. The change coincided with Scholes’s decision not to pursue those services any longer while continuing to act as an auditor.

As his clientele shifted more to small owner-managed businesses, Scholes says he “ended up with one weird little audit”.

“I was having to jump through all these different little audit hoops and regulation just for one business. So I asked the client to go somewhere else and I gave up my audit registration.”

Now completely disengaged from regulated activities, Scholes found himself in a professional quandary. “It occurred to me a year later as I was doing my return for the ACCA, I’m paying them £600 a year and not really directly getting anything from them at all.

“I just dropped it,” he says. Since 2013, Scholes has been, so to say, letterless.

According to Scholes, it hasn’t affected his business: 98% of his clients are referrals, people who’ve already been sold on his professional merits. These clients, in Scholes’s words, “couldn’t give a monkey’s that I’ve not got letters after my name”.

Professionally not much has changed. “I still do CPD, I still keep up to date. I still have professional indemnity insurance. I still have a continuity of practice agreement with another firm of accountants in case I die or go insane. I’m keeping up to date with logical business practices,” he says.

He’s convinced he made the right choice, but warns that it’s a personal decision all practitioners should weigh carefully. For Scholes, it comes down to professional and economic benefit: “Do they get clients coming from the regulatory body’s website? Do they get clients who searched on Google for ‘qualified accountant’?” he asks.

“If they’re getting business in this way or they are doing regulated work like audits, then keep going”.

And for those starting out professionally, Scholes recommends using every bit of ammunition they can. It’s a sentiment new sole practitioner Alex Falcon-Huerta echoed when speaking to AccountingWEB recently. “I value my experience and my qualification equally. You get a lot more insight by being qualified than just having the experience,” she said.

But even for the inexperienced accountant, Scholes counsels against just inattentively renewing membership. “If in a year or two’s time and you’ve got new business in and you ask them, ‘does it matter if I’m a member of the ACCA?’ and the client says ‘What’s the ACCA?’, then obviously it hasn’t made a difference at all.”

Scholes’s views revive the long-running debates about the status of the term accountancy and the accompanying professional qualifications. A lack of a regulatory body means no professional discipline, leaving the courts as the only way to win recompense against an errant accountant. Scholes is aware of this criticism, but argues accountancy is already unregulated.

“There’s still, weirdly, an idea among the public that if you call yourself an accountant then you must be regulated,” he says.

“I’ve spoken to members of my family and they’ve said ‘surely all accountants have to be qualified don’t they?’ I don’t think it makes much of a difference to the public anyway, as they’ve got the wrong perception.”

What do you make of Paul’s stance? Would you give up your membership? 

About Francois Badenhorst

Francois

I'm AccountingWEB's business editor. Feel free to get in touch with comments, tips, scoops or irreverent banter. 

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10th Jul 2015 11:11

Professional Membership

Surely this is the trouble with accountancy as a whole, rather than argue the fact that the profession should be better structured to provide members with better support and to enhance the profession's quality (potentially meaning fee premiums) people just take the easy option and de-list as it becomes 'easier' for them to act unregulated.  Without regulation in financial markets it worked very well in the 80' and 90's didn't it???

What accountants should be fighting for is to preserve the qualifications to keep them in higher esteem and therefore benefit the whole industry and increase quality.  Being qualified does not mean competent but will stop the people who cannot pass the exams.  People who call themselves accountants.  I can change a light bulb but am not a qualified electrician.

I don' think that I get much from my ACCA membership but I have proven a professional competence and try to maintain that throughout my career.  I am only 31 and have worked all the time with regulation but wouldn't change it.  Mr Scholes seems to be doing it out of his own business gains rather than feeling let down.  Your clients are not bothered about you being qualified. No, they assume that you are.  Just like if you see a doctor you do not ask for his certificate before he diagnoses you.

In other industries where qualifications are a must, why are we doing our utmost to de-value the profession with people like this who have worked hard to get where they are and then give up that as they see it as a better business opportunity.

The worst term 'QBE'.  If you were qualified then you would have taken the time to work hard like thousands of others to study hard to prove you want to be an accountant.  By relinquishing your membership you are watering down the standard of the profession and saying that anyone can do it and don't even bother to qualify.  A profession, thousands of us try to work hard to preserve and produce a high quality service.

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By boaters
10th Jul 2015 11:14

Giving up your qualification

Mr Scholes - you are a successful accountant who spent much time studying for a qualification only to give it up to save £600. 

Rubbish!

 

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10th Jul 2015 11:18

£600

boaters wrote:

Mr Scholes - you are a successful accountant who spent much time studying for a qualification only to give it up to save £600. 

Rubbish!

Well, it's not just £600 really is it? It's £600 every year for the rest of his working life.

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By boaters
10th Jul 2015 11:48

£600

I suppose we are getting to the nub here.

Accountancy is a professional vocation. I want all professionals to be qualified.

I want clients to understand being ACCA or ACA sets us apart, and not for snobbish reasons.

We spend thousands a year training our staff to qualify because it matters, because it demonstrates a dedication, a determination an understanding that it says to the world at large i have achieved and you can trust me.

Giving up that and still practice, sorry i do not get it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10th Jul 2015 11:39

It's not just the £600

It's not just the £600 membership - it's the day spent with a monitoring visit (or more, and the preparation time); it's not being able to choose how you inform your clients about your terms of business, it's the feeling that if there is a complaint "your" professional body doesn't defend you but makes you feel the guilty party, whether you are or not; it's completing annual returns with information that you don't need (e.g. fee split); It's also as Paul says in his original post the fact that when he signed up he could do anything - like him, having been around a few years, that one stop shop  was what I signed up for. And I have to ask - are the current insolvency practitioners any better than we were  when we were doing everything? Are the Pension Salesmen better at assessing what our clients need than we are, who have had an ongoing relationship with them? Personally, I think not. And I feel well peeved that the professional bodies changed the rules after we had signed up. 

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14th Jul 2015 11:37

"your" professional body doesn't defy you...
I am waiting at the IRDC to give evidence to the ICAEW in support of an accountant defending an accusation of unprofessional conduct by a fraudster he has angered. The ICAEW would rather sanction one of their own based on unsubstantiated lies from a faceless criminal than praise him for his work!

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16th Jul 2015 12:20

Beware! Your ICAEW won't defend you...

Update to my previous post.

As expected, the complaint by the ICAEW against my accountant friend was found to have been proven by its 'Independent' Panel.  I and a friend gave evidence about the fraudster in question, and the background to the complaint.  However, the Institute tried desperately to disassociate the fraudster's complaint from the Institute's complaint; how ridiculous!  The Institute preferred to accept the word of a fraudster with a pending investigation referred to Bath Police by Action Fraud, and a pending Derivative Claim with Counsel's opinion (all provided in written evidence).  The fraudster even refused to attend the hearing and substantiate his complaint under questioning, as we did. 

If you believe 'professional conduct' includes rooting out fraud and corruption, and reporting it, BEWARE!

If you have the temerity to provoke a fraudster using language and behaviour which the fraudster finds offensive, and the fraudster concocts a sob story and complains to your ICAEW, then you will be found to have broken the Institute's code of professional conduct, and you will be fined or kicked out.

Fraudsters may be incredibly convincing, but they are not decent people deserving of your respect and professional conduct. This fraudster is not a gentleman, and therefore did not deserve the support of the ICAEW.

At some point, this fraudster and his collusive wife will run out of organisations to do their dirty work!

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10th Jul 2015 11:18

To be fair

Paul does say that. He says that it's a personal decision, one that every accountant should make themselves. The debate is an interesting one and I'd love to hear more about the opposing view.

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10th Jul 2015 11:22

I can only see that

the professional qualification will become less and less relevant and only there because it is a necessary evil in that certain business types and sizes need the services of one because they are told they HAVE TO HAVE ONE (audits etc).

the trend in what clients want/need is for ability not history and quite a few businesses would do better having an MBA advising them than an ACCA/ACA etc etc etc. The overall movement of tax simplification and rising audit thresholds allied with all the myriad cloud accounting solutions means that accountants are no longer needed to do the technical things like making a horizontal analysed cashbook into a vertical P&L or even talking to the taxman (not much left to talk about).

We are at a convergence at the moment and anyone who thinks that letters after their name gives them the keys to a kingdom needs to seriously think again.

@Paul, how did it affect your Professional Indemnity Insurance? Everything else seems to affect that so did it cost you saving in professional fees in extra insurance costs?

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By gazza5
10th Jul 2015 11:39

QBE

I started AAT - company went bust who I was with and at the time the financial crisis hit and I could not get a job that would let me continue with AAT.

Recently I just started ATT (paying for it all myself). The reason, no one will look at me without a qualification, even though I have been an accountant for 13 years.

I have far better knowledge of day to day business than a lot of people who have a bit of paper saying they are qualified. I know accountants who are qualified but don't know what a annual return is and wouldn't have a clue how to set up a company at companies house (two things that I think every accountant should know!). I even know of qualified accountants who won't speak to clients on the phone!

For me the accountancy world does have many who really shouldn't be accountants. I have seen bad work by qualified and unqualified accountants. Just becasue some one has passed exams and is part of a professionl body does not mean they are good at there job.

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10th Jul 2015 11:38

Hmmm

For me, the difficulty arises because you can tout yourself as an accountant with no qualification, experience or knowledge really of the subject.  Imagine if a Doctor or Lawyer were allowed to do the same? 

He is able to continue on in business exactly because of the assumption that "you have to be qualified" and whilst this assumption allows him to advertise as an accountant with lapsed membership, it also comes to the crux of the matter. However, whilst you can practice in that fashion without membership, I do think that in a business setting, someone applying for a senior position with no formal qualification would not get very far - my two most recent positions have both had accountancy qualification as a requirement.

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By chatman
10th Jul 2015 12:12

No Qualifications Needed

clairebear wrote:

For me, the difficulty arises because you can tout yourself as an accountant with no qualification, experience or knowledge really of the subject.  Imagine if a Doctor or Lawyer were allowed to do the same? 

But there could be loads of really good doctors and lawyers who just never managed or bothered to pass the exams (or so I believe the argument goes).

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10th Jul 2015 11:43

Its worth every penny

of £600 per year NOT to have HMRC as your Money Laundering Regulatory Authority. I assume he has registered with them and paid the current fee?  

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10th Jul 2015 11:46

A reasonable question to ask...

If you aren't doing regulated work that requires the professional qualification, while at the same time competing against unqualified accountants and your clients don't care, then I think it is reasonable to step back and think about whether or not you really need to pay the fees every year.  This is probably THE existential question for the accounting profession at the moment - especially for members for are working in small firms.  There was recently a very heated discussion thread on the ICAEW's LinkedIn forum on the value of membership to sole/small firm practitioners, so these ideas are out there and being talked about.

Some people will always retain their membership for emotional reasons (I probably put myself in this bucket) but others will look at the hard numbers / facts and make a decision as to whether or not it makes sense for them.  This does not make them "rubbish" or mean that they are in some way reducing the standards of the profession.

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10th Jul 2015 11:47

https://www.gov.uk/money-laundering-regulations-registration-fee

See above

Not much of a saving on fees and in return you get to establish a brand new relationship with HMRC, a good choice? 

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10th Jul 2015 12:01

I suppose the question is "what makes a good accountant"

I took on a fully fledged ACCA qualified member of staff 6 years ago, he promised the earth, had passed all his exams and was going to be able to do anything I asked.

One week later I terminated his employment. He was clueless - he knew the theory by qualifying under the ACCA but the practical was practically useless.

The same then will go with some members in practice, we did not all have the same standard of training and experience so, for the client, what is most important and what brings them to us and keeps them with us in the first place:

I'd suggest:

1. We've been recommended (when you think about it for a third party to bring our name up is the greatest compliment because you would't advise a friend to go to someone who you weren't 100% confident in)

2. They meet/speak to us and their expectations are met.

3. We then look after them properly and charge them a fee which they feel reflects fairly what we do for them (you get what you pay for in life.... within reason)

and even after pausing to look back at those points I have just listed then, for our own clients, I cannot see any other thought process that comes into it.

As for why I am an ACCA member.... well priority one is that I had to work hard to get it and, right now, I do feel it adds value to my practice and to me as an individual. I'm proud that I achieved it. It is probably most relevant in many ways because I am training staff below me who will need to be signed off one day. And, yes, it is a way of communicating, hopefully, that I know what I'm doing (although recommendation arguably is an equally good indicator in the eyes of a client - but to play devils advocate NOT in the eyes of other accountants where you could say the blind clients risk leading the blind). 

Which then brings me back to the start - would I take on an ACCA member of staff again, probably not, I want them trained to my standards. Would it bother me if my staff didn't become ACCA members, probably not, but let's face it you don't HAVE to qualify as chartered or certified to do our job do you, that is an argument for another day? However I do encourage my staff to undertake the AAT exams first and then see how much further they want to push from there.

Final point I can fully appreciate the feeling of resigning the membership AFTER having originally obtained it (as opposed to being kicked out!). That alone has value. Not aspiring to get it first, and not achieving would be more of a concern to a potential client perhaps.... but there again lets get real - perhaps 1,2 and 3 above pretty much cover it all for most of our clients.

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10th Jul 2015 11:57

Taxation

I'm glad to see so many saying that people should be qualified to do accountancy.

Can all those that feel strongly about this please either 1. sit and pass the CTA exams or 2. stop doing tax, you're not qualified (by your own standards).

 I tend to agree with the OP that holding the qualification has become less and less relevant, especially as a CTA, as many mortgage companies won't accept figures from us any more (yeah, we're only the tax experts that completed the Tax Return on which the SA302 will be based, what would we know?).  Add in charges on top of membership for calling myself a CTA, another charge for Money Laundering and small practitioners get the feeling professional bodies aren't run in the interests of their smaller members.  Fee for member at a small practice is the same as a partner at a huge practice with multiple times the amount of risk.....

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10th Jul 2015 11:58

I am no longer a member of the ICAEW

A few years ago I gave up my membership of the ICAEW as to continue I had to have a practicing certificate (and this was going to cost me a great deal in fees and extra, unnecessary work).  I do tax related work for private clients and trusts, no regulated work at all and the only company I act for is my own.  I am also a member of STEP and the CIOT.

ICAEW was my first professional qualification and I was very sad to see it go.  I do not regret the work I did to join or the knowledge I acquired.  I just wish that the ICAEW had a category for membership of those of us who are happy to remain members but do not need to call ourselves chartered accountants.  Funnily enough I was able to retain my membership of the ICAEW Tax Faculty so I continue to get their literature and support.

Giving up my ICAEW membership has not made one bit of difference to me professionally.  None of my clients asked why I stopped using FCA after my name and no potential client has ever asked about any of my professional qualifications.

My advice would be to do the work to become a chartered/ certified or whatever accountant (or chartered tax adviser) and then decide whether or not to continue with membership once you know what you want from your career.  I don't think you should continue with membership of bodies like the ICAEW unless there is a cost effective benefit to you or your business. 

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10th Jul 2015 12:00

Being effectively " unqualified" will impact on hiring staff

It's as Paul said "a personal decision" but it is worth pointing out that his qualification is valuable when it comes to building a team. He'll no longer be able to recruit bright talent that do want to qualify as he'll not be able to sign off their experience or be a formal training office.  Fine if you are happy as a sole trader or with a team of qbe's but can be very limiting.   

It's always disappointing to hear Qualified partners looking to avoid taking on trainees as they "take too much time off" when they are where they are as a result of a firm providing exactly the same time and training.

 

 

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10th Jul 2015 12:04

membership or not

Mr Scholes has jumped where, so far, I have feared to tread. Every year I have questioned what am I getting from my membership (of both ACCA and ICAEW) and each year I find cannot answer the question and have not been able to do so since the late 80' early 90s when as Mr Scholes points out audit thresholds were brought in, insolvency work became a regulated area etc. I have had occasion to ask for specific tax help from both Bodies recently and neither could help me, stating neither were competent to assist ! (Yes, a referral scheme exists, but not in-house and free as part of the substantial membership fees paid). Just what are the substantial membership fees paid for, if not to give assistance and back up to members? Yes, I have a certain amount of kudos from the letters after my name: but actually few of my clients or indeed friends and family even known what they stand for. And the profession is not a protected one as our Bodies have been completely ineffectual in arguing our cause to make it one

I would love to be proud of my memberships: indeed I want to be. After all I spent enough of my life passing the exams etc., but sadly I am not. A shame after almost 30 years of membership. And so I can fully understand why Mr Scholes made the decision he did.

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10th Jul 2015 12:05

Can empathise

Very much a personal decision. I can see his point totally on a day to day basis as it seems that all you do simply pay your fees and get your magazine. However on a practical note one example that immediately springs to mind and having a recognised qualification does help, is for when client's approach a bank for borrowings and the obligatory accountants certificate gets issued. However, those days though have moved on a bit and more and more reliance is now on the SA302's bypassing the tax advisor and accountant in the process.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Qualification's are great imo to get your foot in the door in all walks of life, but it is only merely a stepping stone. Once there the reality sets in as there are no doubt plenty of qualified incompetents out there in walks of life as well as unqualified ones. Attaining qualifications for many is a goal achieved but all it demonstrates in the end is how good you are at passing exams and getting your foot on the ladder. I can only draw parallels with taking your driving test. Enough said. 

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10th Jul 2015 12:08

It's not just the exams though...

You can pass the exams and that makes you a member but the test is whether you can get the practicing certificate which proves you can actually do it (depending on who signed you off!)

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10th Jul 2015 12:08

Retain qualification?

Hi

I am an old fart now, so my views should be considered against that perspective.  I was an FCA, qualified with one of the top 3 firms.   I went abroad for several years, specialising in internatioinal coorporate tax, with a bit or of personal thrown in, leaving most of the accounting here there and everywhere to colleagues.   I lapsed my membership of ICAEW, as it became irrelevant.   When I came back to the UK I settled in a backwater and started up in practice, sole, I did not 're-qualify'.   I have never felt the loss, except only that occasionally (less than once a year) my clients find my references unsatisfactory for mortgage purposes.

I don't miss the 'letters', I certainly don't miss the annual fees and formal contacts.   I do sometimes feel that I DID qualify - I did do the work and pass the exams and do the experience - and I cannot formally let anyone know that - and I would like to be able to confirm to clients and potential clients (I still get some!) that I AM qualified to act as an accountant whether or not I belong to some body of stuffed shirts.

I agree with the original contributor that being 'qualified' now offers virtually nothing that the 'unqualified' can't do - the exception being the audit etc work of big companies - and who wants them as clients anyway.   Youngloch's final two paragraphs are very much in point.

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By Rubster
10th Jul 2015 12:12

Footie

However - you did have that wonderful vision and passing ability as a midfielder for Man Utd to fall back on - not many accountants have that.Shame you can't tackle though...

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By kelvin
10th Jul 2015 12:12

Perception

Correct or not, one is perceived as a professional if there are a few letters after one's name.

I would think I am required to sign an Accountant's Certificate probably on a fortnightly basis for mortgage or rental purposes.

How does Paul Scholes get round that requirement?

With regard to accountancy membership bodies, it must not be forgotten that they are first and foremost a business, rather than a paternal body looking after their members interests.

I do not consider that there are financial reasons for discontinuing with the membership of a professional accountancy body - the loss of a couple of clients because an Accountants Certificate cannot be signed off would equate to the annual membership fees.

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10th Jul 2015 12:14

advertising and marketing

If an Accountant does plenty of advertising and marketing, being fully qualified is an advantage, as you can use it on your marketing, if you have an established practice you feel you do not need to be fully qualified and a member, as  your clients will not know the difference.

 

The advantages of being fully qualified are being watered down each year.

 

 

 

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By chatman
10th Jul 2015 12:15

ICAEW Membership Useless

I would resign my ICAEW membership but I worry that I might need it again some day for something totally unforeseen. It is absolutely no use to me for anything else. Most clients don't know the difference between a Chartered Accountant and a Certified Accountant, let alone the difference between a qualified accountant and an unqualified one.

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10th Jul 2015 13:19

eh?

chatman wrote:

I would resign my ICAEW membership but I worry that I might need it again some day for something totally unforeseen. It is absolutely no use to me for anything else. Most clients don't know the difference between a Chartered Accountant and a Certified Accountant, let alone the difference between a qualified accountant and an unqualified one.

 

Thats a bit of a strange last sentence - I would expect more understanding of qualified verses not qualified than type of qualification.

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By chatman
10th Jul 2015 14:04

@Alan Davies

Alan Davies wrote:

chatman wrote:

I would resign my ICAEW membership but I worry that I might need it again some day for something totally unforeseen. It is absolutely no use to me for anything else. Most clients don't know the difference between a Chartered Accountant and a Certified Accountant, let alone the difference between a qualified accountant and an unqualified one.

 

Thats a bit of a strange last sentence - I would expect more understanding of qualified verses not qualified than type of qualification.

Yes, it's a bit back-to-front, isn't it.

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11th Jul 2015 11:27

ICAEW - you can resign and rejoin at will - no re-entry charge.

That's it really. I am still in touch with a fair number of the people I qualified with in the 70s - Big 4 London - most off us have resigned to avoid the cost and the farcical paperwork.

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10th Jul 2015 12:17

References

Thank you very much for that Paul. What though do you do for Mortgages references and the like because of course many of the lenders insist on References by suitably qualified Accountants often with a list of approved qualifications?

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By geraldw
10th Jul 2015 12:18

To be or not to be

I always love this debate. This one seems more "real" than in the past with practical observations. I jumped ship from ICAEW many years ago when I realised the following :-

Only continuing for sentimental reasons over parental assistance & pride

Paying in substantial sums to a club that gave me nothing back (like joining a golf club but never playing)

Talking to others who signed on for a series of seminars to fulfill CPD conditions, signing in to the seminar, then going home.

Attending courses for subjects that I would never ever use.

Seeing from work taken over from ICAEW firms that my standards and knowledge were better.

Finally, I always remind people who query the quality and standard of defectors, WHO SIGNED OFF THE ENRON ACCOUNTS, MAXWELL EMPIRE  ETC. ETC. ETC.

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10th Jul 2015 12:20

What about client mortgage references?

Whilst I can see that there is a decrease in regulated activities how do you deal with the ever increasing scourge of lender requirements, who almost always insist on a qualified accountants reference?

Personally I find the QAD visits/questionnaires a useful check on best practice for me and whilst the support is sometimes less practical than it could be it has never occurred to me that the subscription was the basis for giving up my qualification.

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10th Jul 2015 13:26

SA302

It's very easy to get an SA302 from HMRC.

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10th Jul 2015 12:27

Giving Up

I can fully understand Paul's decision and it is one I myself review every year when the annual declaration etc. comes round. Even mortgage lenders no longer value professional qualifications and merely want to see SA302's, so if one does not undertake regulated work what does a professional qualification offer apart from formal effective training?

 

Trevor Cheesman FCA

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By geraldw
10th Jul 2015 12:38

Mortgage references

I use a colleague with his own practice and appropriate letters after his name.

He knows the standard of my work but also reviews the figures and queries anything that doesn't look right. He bills the client direct.

Interesting that recently a good sized building society queried his qualfication - ICAEW - as it didn't appear on their list of approved accounting bodies. They did have - ICA - Institute of Chartered Accountants, which I told them I had never heard of.

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10th Jul 2015 12:39

it is not deliberate

 

 According to ACCA publicity there are approximatel 70,000 ACCA members in the UK.

 According to the same publicity there are approximately 18,000 members in public practice.

 I make an educated guess that no more than 9,000 are principals or partners of firms.

 Which inevitably means that without malice aforethought, we are the tail of the dog.

 It shows at the AGM. A miniscule percentage of members bother to vote. Further the total membership in the ACCA's drive to be "A global organisation" is around 162,000 members.

 How important do you really think you are?

 Especially to an organisation whose executive, as far as I can tell does not include more than a couple of persons ACCA qualified by examination?

 As far as I can tell the UK membership of the ICAEW pretty much fits the same pattern in terms of percentages.

 Notwithstanding this- at the present time ACCA and ICAEW are the dominant brand names in the UK. So from a business PR point of view it is marginally advantageous to be a member.

 It seems obvious from the numbers that this how more than 90% of qualified by examination UK accountants see it.

 As far as audit is concerned, the resignation from audit certification rate over the last decade speaks for itself.

 As far as the client is concerned, if HMRC are happy to accept unqualified by examination accountants as equal, why should not the client?

 

 

 

 

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10th Jul 2015 12:40

Industry vs public

I think other accountants will judge people they think are unqualified due to lack of letters but the public won't care. I have taken on clients from accountants who have bought into one of these bogus institutions you can pay to join and get a fancy letterhead and a real sounding organisation to put on your paperwork and they have though coming to me was a step down!! Of the various Chartered bodies, each feels theirs is the best.

 

I think all accountants should have to be Chartered to call themselves an accountant and all people offering services to the public should have to have insurance and be regulated by someone by law. From what I have seen on here Paul Scholes is an excellent accountant and very knowledgeable but unfortunately there are some in my vicinity who are unqualified as opposed to lapsed members who are dire.

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By spilly
10th Jul 2015 12:42

rejoining

Annoyingly I've just had to rejoin the ACCA as we've had a flurry of mortgage lender requests in that won't accept my other membership bodies.

It was cheaper than paying the fees of another accountant to sign them off, and the sole reason I have done it. ACCA does not give any real value to it's members once they have qualified.

Accountancy qualifications should be viewed like degrees - you still get to use the letters after your name if you took their exams. After all, they will have rinsed enough money out of us during the training by way of course fees, exam fees, & textbooks. 

I can do without the too frequent emails and the awful monthly magazines too, and would prefer to pay a lower fee as a result.

 

 

 

 

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By PG1234
10th Jul 2015 12:57

The Title Accountant should have Legal Protection

As an ACCA qualified chartered accountant I am very proud of my qualification. Indeed even more proud of it than my 1st class degree from the LSE.

 

However I must admit that over the years I have received no actual tangible benefit from my membership of the Association.

 

I would though like the term accountant to be legally protected and as such I think that only members of the 6 UK chartered accountancy bodies should be allowed to refer to themselves as accountants.

 

Therefore I will not be resigning my membership any time soon!

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10th Jul 2015 13:11

Qualification is irrelevant

The only part of my ACCA student days that gave me any value for practice was tax. Almost everything else was irrelevant. I have been a member for 25 years. In that time I have needed to contact them perhaps a dozen times. What I receive from ACCA through email and monthly magazine is completely out of touch with small public practice. None of my clients chose me because of my qualification: all new clients are from recommendations from other clients and contacts. I only keep the qualification because (a) I put a lot of effort into getting it and (b) you never know when it might make the difference.

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10th Jul 2015 13:15

Qualification would become relevant if bodies merged

Currently we have six chartered bodies and numerous non-chartered. Is there really much difference between ACCA and ICAEW or any of the others? No. I feel having so many bodies weakens us as a profession. I would like to see all bodies merge into a single ICA (Institute of Chartered Accountants). As a single body we could then protect the "accountant" designation. We then may begin to actually get some value from our subscription. I am ACCA by the way.

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By chatman
10th Jul 2015 14:07

Chartered v Certified

kevinringer wrote:

Currently we have six chartered bodies and numerous non-chartered. Is there really much difference between ACCA and ICAEW or any of the others? No. I feel having so many bodies weakens us as a profession. I would like to see all bodies merge into a single ICA (Institute of Chartered Accountants). As a single body we could then protect the "accountant" designation. We then may begin to actually get some value from our subscription. I am ACCA by the way.

Whilst I have no opinion on the matter, many Certified Accountants appear to prefer the designation Chartered; as soon as their association changed from CACA to ACCA (still lamented by the  less mature of us), they all started calling themselves chartered accountants, so they must think it is more prestigious.

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10th Jul 2015 14:16

Another reason to merge

chatman wrote:

Whilst I have no opinion on the matter, many Certified Accountants appear to prefer the designation Chartered; as soon as their association changed from CACA to ACCA (still lamented by the  less mature of us), they all started calling themselves chartered accountants, so they must think it is more prestigious.

Agreed. I am ACCA but call myself Chartered because no one knows what Certified is. The public know Chartered and as far as they are concerned that is all there is. Another reason why they should all merge.

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By chatman
10th Jul 2015 14:23

Chartered v Certified

kevinringer wrote:

chatman wrote:

Whilst I have no opinion on the matter, many Certified Accountants appear to prefer the designation Chartered; as soon as their association changed from CACA to ACCA (still lamented by the  less mature of us), they all started calling themselves chartered accountants, so they must think it is more prestigious.

Agreed. I am ACCA but call myself Chartered because no one knows what Certified is. The public know Chartered and as far as they are concerned that is all there is. Another reason why they should all merge.

Although I am sure you can see why the old Chartereds would disagree with you.

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10th Jul 2015 15:02

ACCCCCCA

chatman wrote:

kevinringer wrote:

Currently we have six chartered bodies and numerous non-chartered. Is there really much difference between ACCA and ICAEW or any of the others? No. I feel having so many bodies weakens us as a profession. I would like to see all bodies merge into a single ICA (Institute of Chartered Accountants). As a single body we could then protect the "accountant" designation. We then may begin to actually get some value from our subscription. I am ACCA by the way.

Whilst I have no opinion on the matter, many Certified Accountants appear to prefer the designation Chartered; as soon as their association changed from CACA to ACCA (still lamented by the  less mature of us), they all started calling themselves chartered accountants, so they must think it is more prestigious.

The thing with chartered is it implies a level of competence - operating under royal charter.  People understand the word chartered as being a professional level, there are Chartered Surveyors and Chartered Engineers as well as Chartered Accountants. 

I would fully understand any ACCA calling themselves chartered as a) they are, and b) saying you're certified usually leads to someone saying 'yeah certified insane'.

I personally think it would be much more useful for the world of accountancy if all the UK accountancy bodies merged, however I doubt that'll ever happen.

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13th Jul 2015 15:06

Now I wonder

chatman wrote:

kevinringer wrote:

Currently we have six chartered bodies and numerous non-chartered. Is there really much difference between ACCA and ICAEW or any of the others? No. I feel having so many bodies weakens us as a profession. I would like to see all bodies merge into a single ICA (Institute of Chartered Accountants). As a single body we could then protect the "accountant" designation. We then may begin to actually get some value from our subscription. I am ACCA by the way.

Whilst I have no opinion on the matter, many Certified Accountants appear to prefer the designation Chartered; as soon as their association changed from CACA to ACCA (still lamented by the  less mature of us), they all started calling themselves chartered accountants, so they must think it is more prestigious.

 

Now I wonder what CACA stood for before the new ACCA and whether the association was formed by royal charter and when?

Chartered is the only term an unqualified accountant is prohibited from using.

I just tell people anyone can be an accountant "you yourself sir can establish yourself as a firm of accountants and people do just that."

The results are what you would expect them to be.

the only thing we all have in common is bitching[***] !!!

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10th Jul 2015 13:19

Addendum

 

 I have just taken on anew client.

 His previous accountant was an "unqualified". he has shown me the bill he received.

 It is a most professional item. If the fellow's ( actually an Ltd) work is as good as his bill, he is real competition.

 That is not the point:

 The bill, clearly prepared in accounting software,  is for :- preparing the ITR. sole proprietor accounts, claiming CIS refund, and generally dealing with HMRC. Fee £85.00

 How? as far as I can tell the only real difference between his costs and mine are membership costs.

 

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10th Jul 2015 15:28

The fee - WOW

David Gordon FCCA wrote:

The bill, clearly prepared in accounting software,  is for :- preparing the ITR. sole proprietor accounts, claiming CIS refund, and generally dealing with HMRC. Fee £85.00

 How? as far as I can tell the only real difference between his costs and mine are membership costs.

 

Coffee nearly hit the screen!

Unbelievable. 

You talk to most client's/potential client's and it generally hinges on fees. Added value - pffft. The average Jo Blogg's couldn't give a monkeys. Its all about 'how much is this going to cost me?'

Nine times out of ten this is the deal breaker. This is the real world and not the added value world dreamed up by consultants and bodies.

Hat's off to any of you out there who have more then doubled their fees over night with the same clients using added value techniques.

Still not too bothered by XYZ & Co down the road, as long as you're happy that's all that counts, qualified, unqualified, practising or not.

 

 

 

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By qad999
10th Jul 2015 13:20

maybe he could still use his "ACCA".. without the payment ?

if he described himself as

Paul Scholes (ACCA ,1990 to 2013)   and even (ACA 1977 to 1990) ?

 

its a historical fact and not misleading, he trained , qualified and was a member

 

after all I remember a story a long time ago about someone who described himself as

...ACA (failed)

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