In the mid 1960s there was a need to stabilise and set a direction for the accounting profession in Barbados. In 1966, a number of individuals who had returned home from successfully completing their professional accounting qualifications spearheaded this initiative. A discussion was held with Mr. Howard Ross, who had been the President of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, and he advised that there were two essential ingredients required for success. Firstly, all the appropriate qualified associations and/or institutions should be embodied within the organisation, and secondly, Government’s advanced blessing should be privately obtained.
In response to this good advice, an ad hoc research team of Mr. E Walmsley (English C.A.) of Barbados Light & Power, Mr. A Roger (Scottish C.A.) of Caribbean Development Corporation and Mr. H Cuke (Canadian C.A.) commenced a feasibility study to address the concern as to the effect on members of the various institutes regarding differences on such matters as professional rules of conduct. The ultimate Steering Committee recognised such issues and, for example, when drafting the By-laws and Rules of Professional Conduct, a clause was inserted that the highest standards of any of the Commonwealth Institutes would apply. In addition, early advice was also sought from leading business executives. Finally, there was a meeting with the then Prime Minister, the Honourable Errol Barrow, who understood the intention and indicated that he would give his support at the appropriate future time if/when any relative legislative enactment was necessary.
It is worthy of note that Mr. Walmsley played a vital role in these early stages due to his interest in accounting education. This emphasis has continued to be a priority of the Institute. From the early ’60s, Mr. Walmsley had been organising and assisting students enrolled in theACCA; hence he was known as “Prof” Walmsley.
The inaugural meeting of the Barbados Institute was held at the Windsor Hotel in 1966. All known chartered accountants were invited. Mr. E Walmsley was elected President, Mr. Henry Cuke, First Vice President and Mr. A Roger, Second Vice President. Subsequently, Mr. Henry Cuke went on to serve as President in 1968.
The Barbados Association of Professional Accountants (BAPA) recognised the need to have a forum where the developmental needs of the profession could be articulated and appropriate structures created to chart the way forward.
In those early days, students in accountancy experienced great hard-ships in finding the necessary financial and tutorial support and one of the early initiatives taken was to forge links with the Association of Certified and Corporate Accountants, as it then was called [later renamed the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (ACCA)], in order to make that programme available locally. It was intended that this would alleviate the need to travel abroad to pursue a professional qualification.
The educational thrust of the Institute has always been paramount, with every effort made to have a structure in place to deliver the level of technical support that students required. The Barbados Community College was therefore chosen to provide the institutional infrastructure through which the Institute’s educational programme could be offered.
Recognising its own lack of an appropriate structure through which to continue the support of the students’ educational programme, as well as to attend to a growing membership, the BAPA commissioned a study on the profession and its future. In 1973, The late Mr. David Cuke, GCM, prepared a paper entitled “The History of Accountancy Bodies in the English Speaking West Indian Territories” which argued for the incorporation by statute of an Institute which would have the legal standing to move the profession forward.
This was achieved with the proclamation of the “Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Act” which was proclaimed on November 1, 1974. The Institute continued to emphasise its educational role through adopting among its objects, the need to encourage and assist in providing increased facilities for the study of accountancy and related subjects and cooperate with bodies that are in pursuit of these objectives.