ICCA CHIEFS REPLACED
What happens in a soccer team that loses games? The club's coach and management are simply replaced. Something of the kind happened as well at the Institute of Certified Chartered Accountants (ICCA) last week. ICCA's chiefs suffered a complete defeat in their battle with the governors against the amendments to the Accounting Act. The changes were approved by Parliament on October 14 without taking into consideration any of the remarks made by the accountants. Moreover, when voting the law in the plenary hall none of the MPs spoke in favour of the accountants' standpoint. That makes their defeat complete as it became evident that ICCA's management has failed to establish a parliamentary lobby to vindicate the rights of the organisation's members. Hence, it was only logical to result in a replacement of ICCA's chiefs. The general meeting of ICCA voted on October 18 for a new Chairman and a new Management Board. This became possible after the eight auditors who should automatically replace the Management Board members who had resigned on September 10, gave up that right. The choice of new people passed without the expected scandals and mutual accusations. Still prior the beginning of the meeting at 10.00 a.m. one of the participants - Toshko Poptolev - appealed to all to refrain from personal accusations. And that was not accidental because some days before the meeting in auditors' circles is was commented that some members of ICCA intended to voice facts to discredit some of their colleagues. According to some expert accountants in the bottom of the intrigue were members of the fourth Sofia organisation of ICCA, who circulated in April an open letter to all auditors with sharp criticism against the then head of ICCA Simeon Milev. He was accused of not actively protecting the interests of the professional expert accountants in front of the governors. In their letter the members of the fourth Sofia organisation of ICCA directly demanded Mr. Milev's resignation. Some auditors were afraid that representatives of the same organisation would attack Prof. Mihail Dinev at the general meeting of ICCA in order to appoint their man - Pavel Dimitrov - to the Chairman's position.However, Mr. Poptolev's appeal worked good as they concentrated on the items in the agenda.The business tone allowed the general meeting to go on comparatively fast. It continued for seven hours but it was an achievement, having in mind that these forums usually last some 10-15 hours. Till 11.000 a.m. the auditors discussed procedural matters - choice of a chairperson, a secretary and tellers for the meeting. The real part began with the voting of ICCA's Chairman. Several candidatures were tabled: those of Mihail Dinev, Pavel Dimitrov, Vesselina Petkovska, Zoya Petrova, Boiko Kostov, Bisser Slavkov, Gavril Gavrilov, and Georgi Karagutev. Four of them immediately begged to be struck off the list of candidates and they had to choose between Mihail Dinev, Gavril Gavrilov, Pavel Dimitrov, and Pavel Dimitrov, Vesselina Petkovska, Zoya Petrova, Boiko Kostov, Bisser Slavkov, Gavril Gavrilov, and Georgi Karagutev. They made a brief presentation of themselves and one of the participants in the general meeting asked them to voice their opinion on several issues: is it necessary to license the experts who prepare annual accounting reports (the chief accountants); should ICCA's general meetings be attended by all auditors and delegates; is it good for ICCA to work out software for auditing and should minimum prices for auditing services be introduced. All the four candidates were unanimous in the answers, i.e. they opposed the licensing of chief accountants and they believe general meetings should not be attended by all ICCA members but by delegates only. Moreover, they said the development of auditing software was a very good idea. All the four candidates said as well they supported the introduction of minimum prices for auditing services. In the implementation of that project, according to some expert accountants, there is danger that ICCA would be opposed by the Commission for the Protection of Competition, which could decide that the introduction of minimum prices for the auditing services is a form of kartelling. Such a warning during one of the working sessions of ICCA's Management Board was made by Vasko Raichev, partner of Delloite and Touche. According to his colleagues, however, the minimum prices should not be a problem as they exist in other professions as well, e.g. lawyers and notaries. When voting for the position of ICCA Chairman it turned out that only Prof. Mihail Dinev and Gavril Gavrilov were level pegging. From all the 490 participants in the general meeting 251 people voted for Prof. Dinev, and 186 - for Mr. Gavrilov. Mr. Dimitov was supported by 42 people, and Mr. Karagutev - by only 9. Thus, Prof. Mihail Dinev was appointed Chairman of ICCA. Mr. Gavrilov would had probably stand more chances for success in he had the experience and political contacts of Prof. Dinev. According to some auditors, it was these qualities that tipped the balance in favour of Prof. Dinev. After the most recent argument regarding the amendments to the Accounting Act auditors have obviously realized that ICCA's head should not only be acknowledged as a professional with prestige in the accounting profession, but should also have good contacts with the political parties which by casting their votes in Parliament determine the fortune of accountants, as well as doctors, lawyers, notaries and many other professions. And auditors are aware that Prof. Dinev has influence in some circles of the socialist BSP, the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) and Ivan Kostov's Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party. Thirty candidatures were moved forward for members of ICCA's Management Board. Twelve of them immediately begged to be struck off the list of candidates. In the final voting the following new members were elected to the board: Gavril Gavrilov, Stefan Mavrudiev, Bisser Slavkov, Svetlana Naidenova, Iliya Iliev, Kiril Petkov, Zoya Petrova, and Georgi Karagutev. During the voting it became clear that most of the auditors did not approve of the aggressive policy of their colleagues from the fourth Sofia ICCA organisation. As it was already mentioned, it was its members who accused in April the then chairman Simeon Milev of inertness and even suspected him of surrendering ICCA's interests. They demanded his resignation and entered into a sharp confrontation with ICCA'a Management Board, forcing it to promise it would resign. This happened when ICCA began a battle against the projected amendments to the Accounting Act (passed by the National Assembly on October 14). On October 18, however, the fourth Sofia organisation paid for its aggressiveness as none of its representatives was elected to ICCA's Management Board. The nominated Stefan Nenov and Pavel Dimitrov remained outside of the managerial team. According to some auditors, this was a strong slap on the organisation and they fear its members will start plotting against the incumbent Chairman of ICCA and its new Management Board. Many of ICCA's members, however, hope no internal clashes in the institute will follow, as they could harm it.