CIMA’S DITCHING of its membership of the CCAB, the body that represents the UK institutes, is the latest in a long line of problems flagging up diverging interests within the profession.
The Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies should present the UK’s profession as one. Unfortunately the CCAB, which is meant to represent a united front for the UK accounting profession, has too often highlighted its schisms.
In 2005 the CCAB was near collapse post-failed ICAEW/CIPFA merger. ICAS and the ICAEW had stored between themselves such bad blood that the CCAB seemed unlikely to continue, with then ICAEW chief Eric Anstee talking of “realigning” its funding of the body.
The issue was resolved, and the CCAB bodies held hands to stick up for changes to ‘work in progress’ accounting rules that threatened cashflow in firms.
The CCAB has also worked together around money laundering rules guidance (as opposed to ‘how to launder money’, of course), and tried to get the term “accountant” recognized in law – which failed.
And…that’s about it, publicly anyway. The meetings between the chiefs and presidents of the institutes (ICAEW, ICAS, CIPFA, ACCA, ICAI and CIMA) remain under the radar.
To say that CIMA thinks the body has become irrelevant in general is perhaps a bit too far. But not by much. CIMA itself talks of the body’s “diminishing relevance” to its members.
CIMA is pushing the global finance chief route. That’s the most senior part of its membership, and to whom other members aspire. To justify its existence it believes that’s where it must focus its lobbying power. The CCAB, it argues, is too focused on audit.
So does that make the CCAB irrelevant altogether??
Well CIMA’s move certainly does it no favours, and it could be argued that the institutes get together on so few issues that it hardly seems worth it anyway.
Ironically the term ‘CCAB’ is well recognised within statute, so lawmakers will have to get out their correction fluid.
The only way for the institutes to truly have a single voice is through a single institute, and that seems farther away than ever.
The CCAB, or whatever it decides to call itself going forward, will no doubt speak up when it needs to.
But representing such a divergent audience, it seems as if the CCAB will always highlight differences in the profession rather than consensus. And as an accountant in business, practice or the thrid sector within those institutes, you’re unlikely to get the sum being greater than its parts.
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