APA

We joined the APA to have senior partner contact with like minded firms throughout the country. We benefit enormously from an exchange of practice management and many of our partners engage with their APA colleagues to bring best practice to our management processes. Membership has also given our firm direct contact and influence with our Institute and various government departments affecting our profession.
Reeves & Co LLP

 

As Managing Partner of a medium sized firm I had been searching for a confidential forum of similar firms where I could discuss current business topics and exchange information and ideas.I was discussing this with a current APA member and was invited to attend one of the regular meetings.I found this open and informative,in fact just what I was looking for.
Since becoming a member discussions with other members and the exchange of information between member firms have been valuable in both measuring my firm's performance and developing our future strategies.
Armstrong Watson

 

Kingston Smith joined the APA to help make sure the voice of medium sized firms is heard. There are many areas in which like-minded firms can work together, such as influencing policy, graduate recruitment, and the sharing of technical and professional support, and we are convinced that our membership of the APA has helped us enormously in all these respects. It is also valuable to share views and information with other Senior or Managing partners of other firms within APA

 

Membership criteria

We’re not too rigid on size. It’s more important for us that member firms all have the same outlook and share the same philosophy.

But it is vital that we’re all genuinely medium-sized in the way we think and work – and not trying to emulate either small or large firms.

We wouldn’t normally invite firms with less than ten partners to join unless they’re a prominent firm in their local area and have one large office.

Some firms have grown to over 50 partners. They fit into the association just as well since they have a number of offices, and the partners remain committed to taking the same personal approach to their clients.

Membership benefits

Sharing of professional information

APA members exchange and share professional information in a confidential way on a wide range of issues – from professional indemnity insurance and practice finance to charge-out rates, salaries, pensions and retirement arrangements, equity share arrangements, partner reviews, debt management, computer systems, overseas associations and specialist services.

This is definitely one of the most valuable aspects of belonging to the APA, because many senior or managing partners probably have no other means of having frank and open exchanges of this kind.

Information is freely exchanged in surveys and at meetings, but perhaps more importantly through networking outside of the meetings.

In some instances the information can go no further than the senior or managing partners, and in all cases APA representatives may only share information with their own partners in general terms.

Members are free to choose whether or not they take part in surveys, but the results are only circulated to participating firms.

Collating information in this way has led to the negotiation of schemes that have produced financial benefits for a number of APA firms, whether they were part of it.

Public relations

We hold dinners for business people from all over the country who have influence in the business world. Our regular venue is a Livery Hall in the City of London and attracts both very high profile guest speakers and guests. Speakers have included:

> Keith Morgan, CEO, British Business Bank
> Marcus Stuttard, Head of AIM
> John Cridland, Director General, CBI
> Mark Hoban - Financial Secretary to the Treasury

We usually entertain around thirty or more solicitors, bankers, financiers and key people in organisations that affect the future flow of work to medium sized firms.

It’s not usually appropriate to invite our own clients to such events because it’s not the right forum – but we do encourage members to invite appropriate contacts.

Our receptions at the House of Lords and House of Commons for APA members and key influencers in the business world have been attended by many of our previous dinner guests and some of our speakers.

Influence with the ICAEW and other organisations

The APA is consulted widely by the Institute - and we have more opportunities than individual firms do to talk directly to the President and the Chief Executive. We also have an annual dinner with them.

When they want to gain member support for major initiatives they will generally ask for a meeting with our members.

When there’s a majority view on any issue - whether it involves the Institute, JMU, DTI or other organisations - we will lobby strongly on behalf of medium sized firms.

We also raise awareness of our type of firms with the banks, other financiers and influencers in finance by inviting them to our dinners. We find that this is the best way for partners of our member firms to make key people aware of the fact that we’re fully capable of taking clients to the stock market or raising finance for them in other ways.

In doing this we aim to overcome the effect of the 'city mafia' and redress the balance.

Technical support

Informal groups of technical experts meet regularly to exchange useful information. A register of these specialists is circulated to member firms with contact numbers. Members also refer to each other on particular technical issues, and can of course make their own arrangements to use another member firm for any specific support they need.

Recruitment

We’re actively involved in promoting the recruitment of students to medium sized firms. Our booklet Becoming a chartered accountant - training with a medium sized firm was originally produced in cooperation with careers advisers.

We hold an annual lunch at the Institute for a dozen or so university careers advisers and recruitment partners from member firms.

Referring work

Member firms do refer work to each other on an informal basis. Because of our close working relationships, we tend to know which firm would suit the needs of the client that we’re referring.

Members also have access to the specialist services of other APA firms, and can take advantage of their geographic spread in the UK and overseas for their clients.

We keep a register of specialisms that we consider to be beyond the ordinary range of services offered by most member firms, together with a list of overseas networks. Members can use these for their clients knowing that they’re not at risk of being ‘poached’ by another firm.

Meetings

Either the managing or senior partner of each member firm is formally nominated as its representative of the association. These partners meet three times a year - usually in February, June and October. The President and Secretary of the ICAEW join us for dinner after the AGM in October. There’s also a dinner after the June meeting. We also are invited to key meetings by the ICAEW in order to influence policy and discuss current important topics.

How to become a member

If you’re interested in becoming a member of the APA, please apply in writing:
The Association of Practising Accountants
105 St Peters Street
St Albans
Herts AL1 3EJ

Your application will be forwarded to the Chairman and Secretary. If a member firm doesn’t feel that it’s appropriate for another firm to join, their view would be respected.

Membership Subscription - Contact the Secretariat for full details.

How to become a member

If you’re interested in becoming a
member of the APA, please apply in
writing:

The Association of Practising
Accountants
105 St Peters Street
St Albans
Herts AL1 3EJ

Your application will be forwarded to the Chairman and Secretary. If a member firm doesn’t feel that it’s appropriate for another firm to join, their view would be respected.