Member Since: 17th Jul 2002
Professor University of Essex
2nd Apr 2019
ACCA leadership cares little about its members who are just seen as cash foundations and members have little chance to engage with the leadership or influence the operations and control of ACCA.
Members are not permitted to directly elect any of the officeholders. They are not allowed to vote on CEO pay. ACCA Council is "appointed" rather than elected as the unelected president is permitted to cast thousands of votes to secure the desired outcome. Council meetings are not 'open' and full minutes are not available. therefore, members have no chance of influencing policymaking.
The UK has population of around 66 million and 100,000 signatures (0.15% of the population) on a petition can secure a debate in the House of Commons. ACCA requires signatures from "not fewer than a half of one per cent of the members of the Association" to secure a resolution for the AGM - that is over 1,000 members. That is costly and how many petitioners know 1,000 members? ACCA AGMs are a sham as all business is already decided and the meeting is packed with insiders. Members, if they are lucky, are allowed to speak at AGMs for just thre minutes. Even if you raise a question, it is rarely answered. Members can't follow the freedom of information (FOI) route to secure information or accountability, because despite being a statutory regulator for auditing, AML and insolvency, ACCA claims that it is a 'private body' and is therefore outside the scope of the FOI law. The in-house magazine rarely permits critical articles.
ACCA leadership claims to provide thought leadership, but recent what successes can it name? It opposed the introduction of the national minimum wage and clampdown on tax avoidance. I have raised this at AGMs for years but have never received a reply for such myopic policies.
4th Jan 2016
ACCA only responds to external pressure. I have it on very good authority that within council reformers/dissenters are easily out-voted, marginalised and silenced. Contrary to all the rules of human rights, dissenting council members have to toe the party line and are not permitted to speak against the prevailing orthodoxy in public or at AGMs.
Recently, ACCA's practices have been condemned in the UK House of Commons (http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2015-16/626 )and this has persuaded some council members to raise the matter internally, but I understand that they have been overruled by the grandees. The key bone of contention is the delegated proxy voting system, which enables the hierarchy to cast hundreds of votes to ensure that it can continue to "appoint" council members. The delegated proxy voting system was used by Enron and WorldCom amongst others, but is specifically forbidden for use in local, national, general, mayoral, European, trade union and other elections. Even major companies have abandoned it, but ACCA clings to it and there is no transparency about who receives the hundreds of votes cast by presidents. Ideally, one might expect the official magazine to facilitate debate, but it is tightly controlled and critical articles and letters are rarely published.
1st Jan 2016
ACCA used to publish the cost of producing its magazine and it was making massive losses (about £1 million a year) because it could not get advertising. some of us raised that issue at the AGM. So ACCA stopped the disclosure. The magazine is poor value for money and hardly contains any worthwhile information. The magazine should be optional and those choosing not to receive it should pay lower fees.
The is no AGM vote on annual subscription rises. The hierarchy can increase the fees by up to 5% without any vote. The only way of showing displeasure is to vote against the annual accounts. Members are not allowed to vote on executive remuneration either even though that is common at most companies. ACCA has the lowest corporate governance standards and is one of the reasons why it cannot speak from a position of strength. It has no influence in the UK. ACCA chief executive and other directors don't hold ACCA qualification, so why should anyone else value the qualification. Even a recent president did not pass any ACCA examination. He was just given the qualification.
ACCA also needs to change is 'control from London' mentality and should restructure itself on the UN model. One global qualification but autonomy underneath so that members can meet local needs. Some of the practices (e.g. codes of ethics) have limited relevance in other countries - e.g. Islamic ethics have different priorities. Also asking members to follow western accounting standards (which are aimed at capital markets)has little relevance to countries which have primarily family controlled companies or do not have active capital markets. So ACCA needs to recognise the local pressures and needs. If it does not, it will probably implode within a generation as local accountancy bodies and governments will fill that vacuum.
31st Dec 2015
ACCA hierarchy has got used to picking the pockets of its students and members. The FRC has criticised ACCA for treatment of its students.
Most members get no support and their voice is silenced by hundreds of proxy votes cast by the president. There is no democracy and leadership does not care as it builds its airmiles and appoints its own cronies to council.
ACCA AGMs are a sham. Questions are rarely answered and there is no time to challenge any of the claims about serving members, the public interest or anything else. The AGM minutes published in the magazine (what a lousy magazine) are a work of fiction and do not provide any indication of the issues raised by members and the fobbing-off replies given by the leadership. More members need to vote, attend AGMs and push for change.
24th Nov 2014
No doubt there would be the usual apple-pie and motherhood statements, but little worthwhile action. Accountability pressures on the officialdom are weak. No direct election of officeholders, no vote on chief executive remuneration, members can't see council meeting minutes, AGMs are a sham, membership fees can be increased with a vote from members, council is appointed and magazine won't run anything critical of the leadership. ACCA is a banana republic, or may be even banana republics won't want to be associated with it. Anywhere else someone getting 2% of the vote of the eligible electorate would resign in shame, but at ACCA they become council members and make decisions. Council members are gagged by signing confidentiality agreement/code. This is a complete violation of human rights as council election candidates have to put the leadership's prejudices before their conscience and freedom of speech. ACCA have not learn any lessons from the debacle at CIMA over its attempts to silence Margaret May. ACCA won't change voluntarily unless there is a major crisis. Members should remember that if things go seriously wrong they are personally liable for the Association's debts. Yet members have no input into any strategy and are not even told of any major problems. If ACCA's unelected leadership is going to respond, perhaps it can tell members about its legal wranglings in India. Read here about how ACCA used its enormous resources against a retired small practitioner, wasted members' money and even had to apologise for misleading a court, but none of it has ever been communicated to members in annual reports or the official magazine http://www.ibrarian.net/navon/paper/ACCOUNTABILITY_OF_THE_ACCOUNTANCY_BODIES__THE_PEC.pdf?paperid=689294 and also see here http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S089083890400068X
22nd Nov 2014
@Taxguru - Yes, they are all rotten. The delegated proxy voting system enables the like-minded cronies to be enrolled. Some times the unelected leadership approaches selected individuals and encourage them to stand for ACCA council. These individuals can always rely on the hundreds of votes cast by Presidents and be elected. Then they are indebted to these fixers, and so it goes on. Presidents do not name the parties benefitting from their block vote. At ACCA between 5%-8% of the membership votes and this makes the President's block vote even more significant. It is a key factor is deciding who gets elected/appointed. May be members can be more active, but it still raises questions about the integrity of the people who routinely lecture others on integrity, transparency and good governance.
22nd Nov 2014
ACCA in House of Commons
Here is one Early Day Motion in the UK House of Commons in 1999 ( http://www.parliament.uk/edm/1998-99/685 ). The motion read "That this House condemns the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants for its failure to function in an open, democratic and accountable manner by not having any of its officeholders directly elected by its members, by using a balloting system which has been outlawed for trade unions, for permitting its President to cast 20 to 25 per cent. of all votes thus effectively appointing Council members, by the deliberate failure of its President to answer questions at the 1999 AGM, by removing reformers from Council and failing to explain the reasons to the AGM, for failure to have any non-white person as an officeholder even though 50 per cent. of its UK membership is non-white, by its failure to admit the public to its Council meetings even though it acts as a regulator under the Companies Act 1989 and the Insolvency Act 1986, by the failure to publicise the outcome of a disciplinary hearing against its Vice-President in its own in-house magazine, by threatening and silencing reformers and pressurising their employers and by legal threats, and for its failure to disclose the ú50,000 per annum spent by its officeholders on taking friends, spouses and partners on world travels, even though the Financial Reporting Standard 8 requires this should be disclosed; and therefore considers that an ACCA which takes so little account of the public interest is unfit to be a regulatory body and urges the Government to suspend its regulatory powers and launch an independent inquiry into its affairs". Little has changed. ACCA in recent years has officially opposed (and lost) the National Minimum Wage whilst the chief executive collects vast remuneration package. They are not only out of touch with the membership but also with the public mood.
22nd Nov 2014
Yes, I am. I have attended almost all ACCA AGMs since 1985. I do hope that more members will attend AGMs to see how corrupt ACCA is.
22nd Nov 2014
ACCA leadership's main priority is its own interests. Presidents are not directly elected by members and the Buggins Turn principle applies. Members can't vote in chief executive remuneration. It does not have one-person-one-vote and the unelected president casts hundreds of votes to "appoint" council members. The delegated proxy system that ACCA uses is illegal for elections at trade unions, local elections, EU elections, general elections, mayoral election, police commissioner elections and other places. It enables the unelected leadership to appoint cronies. The AGMs are a sham. About 50 or ACCA members attend, including 36 council members and their friends. Questions are rarely answered in full as leadership hates any inquiries. Bad news is always buried. Misdemeanours of elites have been reported in the press but never appear in any annual report. There is no dialogue, just one-way speeches from the podium. Hope more member will come to witness this sham. For what it is worth, my forecast is that ACCA will be the first UK professional accountancy body to implode. It has no sizeable presence in the UK and has little public policy influence. It has little presence in emerging economic like India. The China/Hong Kong scene is changing and ACCA members no longer have the automatic right to practice. There are perennial problems in Malaysia. As BRICS countries grown in influence they will not be subservient to a body in London. The ACCA head office treats many countries like colonial outposts rather than partners giving them local autonomy and operating a UN style of body. Leadership has never explained its strategy of growth. Growth for what, where, why? Have we never seen others who went for mindless growth and fail: Enron, WorldCom, Phones 4U? What exactly is the business/professional model of ACCA? ACCA is intolerant of criticisms. Indeed, a previous chief executive wrote to my employer asking him to silence me. ACCA is the only royal chartered body ever to be subjected to motions of "no confidence" in the UK House of Commons.
21st Mar 2011
I am grateful to various respondents. Justa clarify a few points:
1) I am the source of the infrmation on Wikileaks.
2) Wikileaks is carrying information that was first released on the AABA website (aabaglobal.org) some years ago. This information was found in the US Congress library.
3) The version of Sandstorm Report found in the US Congress library is incomplete - a number of lines, paragragphs and pages are missing. Even this incompltete version is regarded as a state secret and the UK government has not officially published it.
4) I am trying to secure publication of the missing information and hence the battle.