Brits Pull Out of Global Qualification Scheme

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has announced that it will withdraw from talks on the proposed "Cognitor" scheme. The decision came about after the organization heard the negative reaction of training bodies.

Institute chiefs canvassed opinions of those likely to deliver training for the global qualification as the need for investment in the scheme became apparent.

"We talked to the larger training firms to ascertain whether it was a proposition they supported. The feedback we got was no," an ICAEW spokesperson said.

The ICAEW's withdrawal from the Cognitor program follows similar decisions from the Scots and Irish institutes. AICPA chairman, Bob Elliott, just this week announced his intentions to move forward with the plan despite the defections from the United Kingdom. "The concept remains sound. The research results were compelling," he said.

The marketing-led approach of those developing the scheme was the antithesis of the "quality first" mindset of the UK institutes. Now the ICAEW says it is up to the Americans whether they want to revise their approach.

Cognitor was developed in April by eight of the leading accountancy bodies after US market research showed the need for a global qualification.

Subjects to be covered under the designation would include finance and business management, with the aim of creating a rounded business adviser.

ICAEW president Graham Ward said: "We do not believe that the current Cognitor proposals represent the best way forward to continue to develop the international reputation and profile of our members, some 10% of whom already practice internationally. We will continue to develop our own plans for a global qualification for Chartered Accountants." The institute felt that the scheme would probably add little value to the new ACA.

Moorgate Place sentiments echo those expressed by the Scots institute, which said its own CA standard was a global business qualification. ICAS president Grenville Johnston said: "We have concluded that the proposed Cognitor initiative is not the way forward for our profession."

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