In recent months, the ICAEW has started punishing accountants who continue to pay their membership fees, but fail to complete their annual self certification of continuing professional development (CPD).
The institute moved to a self-directed regime in July 2005 which required members to certify annually their compliance with the new CPD provisions. For the past five years the ICAEW has sent out a member pack containing their annual fee reminder and a certificate of CPD compliance to be returned by the end of the following January.
November's disciplinary report identified two accountants who received reprimands for breaching the ICAEW CPD regulations every year since they were introduced. One was fined £3,000 plus £1,100 costs and the other escaped with a reprimand, but no fine.
In September and October, four more accountants were disciplined. Most of them were based abroad, and were hit with fines and costs exceeding £4,000, based on a fine of £750 for each year missed, the institute’s disciplinary committee explained in one case.
In the most serious recent case, Johannesburg-based Robert Pasley was reprimanded and fined £3,000 with £1,100 costs for breaching ICAEW bye-law 56(c) which requires members to certify their compliance with ICAEW CPD provisions on an annual basis.
Pasley provides that a member must “certify annually to ICAEW compliance with [the Continuing Professional Development] provisions”.
Pasley paid his ICAEW subscriptions by direct debit and the institute had no other contact details for him apart from his registered address in South Africa and his bank. The case officer tried to reach him via the bank, but the institute has still not heard from him.
The scale of the fine assessed was based on the length of time during Pasley failed to comply with the ICAEW’s requirements and his failure to co-operate and maintain regular contact with the institute.
In contrast, Helen Enright moved to County Cork and ceased practising as an accountant, but wanted to retain her ICAEW membership. She believed her post was being forwarded from her old address and did not receive notification of the CPD rule changes or subsequent requests for certification.
She admitted the breaches and apologised sincerely. The tribunal accepted that if she had known about the new rules she would have replied appropriately and promptly; as a result, it let her off with a public reprimand, but no fine or costs.
An ICAEW spokesman played down any suggestion that the CPD cases were the result of a targeted crackdown. The institute’s Professional Standards department usually follows up CPD breaches with a phone call, or letters to members who fail to respond. Failure to respond to both these approaches results in the issue of an investigation committee consent order, which then leads to a disciplinary hearing.
“Those cases we have published are members who have failed to engage with us over a period of time,” he said. “There are very few cases in the pipeline.”
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John Stokdyk sadly passed away in June 2023. He had been with the site since 1999, rising from news editor to editor in chief, global editor and head of insight. As a roving editor, he investigated the profession's use of technology around the world. He devoted his spare time to technology history and an oddball collection of stringed...