Magazine article Public Finance

Together We'll Be Stronger

Magazine article Public Finance

Together We'll Be Stronger

Article excerpt

No-one said that it would be easy, and at times it certainly hasn't been. But six months on from the formal launch of exploratory discussions, the three accountancy institutes - the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) - are still working closely together towards a shared vision of a consolidated profession.

More importantly, the discussions are now bearing fruit in the shape of firm proposals. Later this year, we plan for members of CIPFA and ICAEW to have the opportunity to vote to combine the two institutes. The draft proposed terms of this scheme are published in the April issues of Spreadsheet and Accountancy magazines.

Next year we hope that a further vote will be possible, this time providing the opportunity for CIMA tojointhenewCIPFA/ICAEW institute. The terms of this stage two scheme are the subject of ongoing negotiations which we hope will reach a successful conclusion over the course of the next few months.

This two-stage approach is a relatively new idea. In many ways, it is an exercise in risk management. Rather than place all of our eggs in the basket of a tripartite consolidation scheme, which is clearly going to take longer to negotiate, it makes sense to try to capture and build upon the common ground that two of the three institute councils are happy to occupy.

The benefits of this approach are obvious. Members can see real progress and momentum. The integration of CIPFA and the ICAEW will create an impressive and powerful organisation in its own terms with more than 140,000 members and 16,000 students. Measured by turnover, for example, it brings together two of the three largest members of the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies. More obviously it combines brand leaders in the public and private sectors, creating the credentials and platform for the new institute to be a highly influential player in shaping the profession's future, not only in the UK but also globally.

By meeting these goals and delivering a range of practical benefits for members, students and employers, we can also demonstrate that consolidation works. For more than 30 years, the profession has contemplated the theoretical benefits of integration/ rationalisation/merger/consolidation without ever having the opportunity to see the real gains in action. The joining forces of CIPFA and ICAEW will provide hard evidence - the real improvements in services, the real efficiency gains, the real up-scaling of profile and influence - for the first time. …

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