Why are so many Chartered Accountants no good for business?

by admin on June 27, 2006

in Innovation

Much of what I write is aimed at the CA who wants to make a difference, hopefully for the benefit of clients. But it wasn’t until I spoke with Ian Fereday who is head of financial control and business intelligence at Lloyds Pharmacy that I really understood why practitioners have such a hard time adjusting to the idea of being a business advisor or change agent.

Here are the key measures they work with:

  • Dispensed volumes
  • Over the counter sales values
  • Medicine use reviews
  • People development

Note that only ONE is directly related to financial measures.

It turns out that in a department of 100+ accountants, the ones who are working at the business coal face tend to be CIMA types. This is because they’re steeped in a history of working with business people. The good ol’ fashioned cost and management accountant that so many from the ICAEW look down upon.

Maybe now is the time for practitioners to consider recruiting these folk at partner level because as Ian says – finding commercially minded CAs is very difficult. Which raises another point. CAs can expect to make a handsome living as partners. £0.5 million and up in the Big Four. £150K isn’t uncommon. So where’s the incentive to change?

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Ric June 29, 2006 at 3:11 pm

My experience exactly – I've always shuddered when told that the chief accountant(s) in an enterprise are Chartered. While it's not impossible to find one doing a good job commercially, most have been so out of touch with business reality they've even made us IT types look good!

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