ICAEW set to launch pay-per-view system for guidance

ICAEW plans to open up some of the professional content currently available exclusively to faculty members with a new pay-per-view system, which will allow all members to buy one-off guidance without joining a faculty

The move comes as the ICAEW reviews its faculty setup in an effort to broaden their reach and provide members with access to more of the specialist information currently only available to faculty members.

It also wants to build on the success of its four information hubs, which focus on Making Tax Digital, IR35, Brexit and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and are available to members and to a limited extent to non-members. The Making Tax Digital hub has not been locked down and has been a good showcase for ICAEW, for example.

‘The hub resources are for the general public and for members, and this approach is something we might want to look at more. We want to reach out to members and encourage them to use more of the professional in-depth content,’ said Deborah Folkard, director of faculties at ICAEW.

‘So we are launching a shopping basket on the site, where members will be able to buy one-off pieces of content, without having to join a faculty. This will be trialled for nine months with a view to a full launch in January 2020.

‘We have just got the back end of the shopping basket. At first there will only be a limited number of items, for example, the How to guide to group audits, but we will look at what content members would like to buy and we will find more accessible ways for members to access information, without joining a faculty.’

Folkard singled out the tax faculty for praise, saying that ‘the tax faculty has led the way in changing how they work and moving to more of an online approach’.

There are plans to review the current faculty set-up and the first move is to restructure the financial services faculty, creating three sub-groups, which members can join, rather than paying to join the main faculty. The three mini-faculties will focus on banking, insurance and asset management.

‘The financial services faculty was not working for the market so we are taking the price point down and we will no longer be producing the print magazine,’ said Folkard.

Meantime, the tax faculty is forming a specialised membership services committee to review whether members are getting value for money and they will be talking to the wider membership about their views on joining a faculty, and what benefits they would like to see as a result.

ICAEW is also facing significant changes at Council, with 23 members resigning or retiring, and the same number of new candidates being voted to join the governing group of the institute at the meeting on 20 March.

Retiring council member and former ICAEW president, Hilary Lindsay said: ‘This is quite a change of the guard; it has been such a privilege to be a member of the Council. We are leaving different legacies and we come from lots of different communities.

'Ten out of 21 leaving have an international background, and those coming many have been elected by their local societies. This is important work and everyone elected today will contribute enormously to ICAEW.’

Report by Sara White

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