ACCA AGMs are a stage managed affair. President speak for 35-40 minutes and members are restricted to three minutes. Questions are not answered as the leadership is in a hurry to have its lunch and go home. Full minutes of the AGM are never produced. Even Stalin would have been hard pushed to enact such a sham.
Now some concerned members have tabled FOUR resolutions to democratise the Association. We urge all ACCA members to support them. Cast your own vote. Do not give a proxy to any officeholder.
The resolutions require the ACCA's controllers to listen to members.
To add "Any Other Business" to the AGM. This would enable members to ask questions that they see fit. AOB is common at all civilised meetings of companies, professional bodies, trade unions, NGOs and many other organisations.. The proposers of the motion has put together a very persuasive
Our Council have already stated their case on this
matter in the President’s address to members at the 2002 AGM. The case
was that those attending meetings need to know in advance what is to be discussed
and therefore would not be prepared to meet the challenges of any other business.
We the proposers of the motion would suggest that this is totally inappropriate
especially when the requirement for notice for items to be included on agenda’s
must be supplied many weeks in advance.
We are a professional body and members must have the right to bring to the attention of meeting matters which they consider to be relevant. The relevance of the matter must be left to the member and it is inappropriate for there to be a rule which prohibits full, open and proper debate on matters which are important to the profession, the public and most importantly members. In light of the comments made by the then President at last years AGM regarding the need for greater openness and debate stemming from the then current corporate failures we should, as an international professional accounting body, be leading by example.
Currently there is a 2 month gap between being able to put forward resolutions and their resultant discussion at the AGM. With the speed at which the World moves today there can be matters of vital importance which occur during this period and accordingly should be discussed at the meeting. If Council’s proposal to extend the period of notice is adopted then this just exacerbates the problem, and it is essential that any other business be the last item of business
In researching the matter we have found that reputable and learned bodies such as the Royal Horticultural Society, the Marylebone Cricket Club, even the Inland Revenue and from the accountancy world CIMA include any other business in their agenda’s.
To oppose this motion may suggest there is a wish to stifle full and open debate. In fact it could be seen as trying to hide important matters and setting an example which is contrary to the pronouncements being made by Council for greater openness and debate.
Increases in subscriptions should be accompanied by a budget.
ACCA's controllers have been picking members' pockets for a long long time. The continue to increase fees and waste resources. Members get poor services but the number of bureaucrats continues to multiplu. No company can raise external monies without explaining how it intends to use them. The same should apply to the Association.
The proposers of the resolution provide a very persuasive argument.:
Our Council has stated that they should not be forced
to show their plans and to have to prepare budgets eight months in advance.
If a budget has not been prepared then the simple question should be asked how on earth does Council know it needs an increase in subscriptions? We are a professional body whose members are qualified in financial matters and we should be treated as such.
To many members the recent subscription increases make serious inroads to their surplus disposable income and it is essential that when voting on increases they should be kept fully informed of the benefits which they can expect to receive as a result of these increases. In fact in many overseas areas any increase is even more relevant to disposable income and it is essential these members made fully aware of the benefits which will accrue from the increase.
Our Council has via the President’s statements at the 2002 AGM suggested that there is competitive and commercial confidentiality. But as we are not in competition or a commercial organisation these are irrelevant. The ACCA is a professional body and as such should be and be seen to be open and transparent. We should, as an international professional accounting body, be seen to be leading by example and in making available the budget we are demonstrating our commitment to this ideal.
Why should it be such a secret how Council want to spend our money. Without the members there would be no ACCA and we should be kept informed about how Council proposes to spend our subscriptions. At the end of the day we the members have the ultimate liability for the actions of our Association which we in good faith deputed to our Council and the staff. It is therefore a small thing to ask that they should at the very least be accountable to us the members in the simple form of a budget.
Publish Council's agenda in advance.
Many members would recall that when Prem Sikka put forward the motion that Council shall meet in the open, ACCA's controllers opposed it. They always do. Eventually, under the pressure of public shame, ACCA decided to hold 'open' council meetings, but the whole thing is a charade. Only part of the meeting is open. No minutes are published and agenda is not known in advance. So members attending the meeting have no idea what is to be discussed. What do ACCA council meetings discuss? Troop movement, position of spy satelites, or things that directly affect the lives of its members. Members are entitled to know what the council discusses.
The statement in support of the resolution is as follows:
In his Presidential Statement at the 2002 AGM George
Auger made comment about this resolution and in particular suggested that
information included in the agenda could be useful to competitors.
The ACCA is a professional body and as such does not have competitors. This statement suggests that Council has failed to recognise that although the ACCA needs to act commercially it needs to uphold the status of a professional body which does not include the principle of competition.
As a professional body we need show that we are acting firstly in the best interests of the profession as a whole and secondly in the interests of the public and members. To meet these requirements it is essential that members are able to have input into debates on matters which will ultimately effect them, their clients, their employers, and the public in general.
We need to promote full and greater debate to show more openness and honesty with the public which as a result of recent failures in the accountancy profession have seriously eroded the public’s perception of professional accountants and have as a result weakened the profession’s standing. Our Council members need to be aware of the concerns of members at the grass roots before formulating policies. This resolution is the first step in opening up the debate.
We must lead by example and be seen to be leading by example. Therefore it is essential that members have input at the earliest opportunity, and to do this they must have knowledge of what is currently under discussion.
Efficient and timely arrangement for submission of notices
ACCA is living in dark age and needs to be modernised. The proposers of the resolution say that:
The rule for proposing resolutions
at an AGM requires notice of the resolution to be given 4 days before the
deadline for handing in the resolutions. This is up to some 8 weeks
before the meeting and this serves no useful purpose other than to create
more confusion that ultimately appears to cause resolutions not to be heard
because the contradictory and confusing pedantic rules are not met.
It is an unnecessary additional hurdle to get matters before members and a vote for the amendment will abolish this unnecessary and confusing requirement.
We have been made aware of Council’s proposal to extend the lead time from the end of February to the beginning of February for the submission of resolutions to the AGM and we believe this in the current environment to be a retrograde step. This is now lengthening the maximum lead time for resolutions from 14 months to 15 months. We are now in the era of instant communications and lead times should be becoming shorter not longer. This proposal by Council suggests a wish to restrict and stifle open debate on current matters and to having to wait 15 months to present a resolution is in today’s world is archaic and ridiculous.