In a move that seems designed to appeal to members of the ICAEW disaffected with the CIPFA and CIMA merger talks, Brace has written to practitioners advertising its ‘direct admission to membership route for chartered accountants’.
The letters, sent just weeks after consolidation talks were confirmed, include glossy brochures on the ‘value of ACCA’, as well as copies of the association’s quarterly magazine and details on how to join.
‘ACCA receives many enquiries each year from firms wishing to transfer their audit registrations to ACCA,’ Brace wrote in the letter.
Brace told Accountancy Age that, while it was not a ‘conscious effort’ to take advantage of the merger situation, the association was appealing to institute members who have been ‘disaffected’ with the institute for a while. ‘It was partly triggered by the hoo-ha over practice assurance,’ he said.
It is not the first time ACCA has pursued an aggressive recruitment drive. In 1998, it launched a 10-week campaign to try and force a merger with CIPFA and CIMA.
David Adams, the then CIPFA chief executive, was outraged and condemned ACCA’s bid as ‘misplaced, irrelevant, inept, ingenuous, divisive and dangerous’.
Peter Mitchell, chairman of the Society of Professional Accountants, said that ACCA was ‘better placed to look after smaller practices’ and that the ICAEW will have to adopt a more ‘divisional structure’ to ensure that smaller firms do not feel overlooked.
An ICAEW spokesman rebuked the claim, pointing to last year’s strategic review, which he said was undertaken to better support its members. ‘We’re seen as a qualifying and regulatory body, but we’re looking to support members through their careers,’ he said.
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