Big Question Exclusive – Merger reactions

An exclusive Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel Big Question survey of 267 finance directors revealed that 51% – from all the UK’s accountancy bodies – favour ACCA’s bid to merge with CIMA and CIPFA.

However the majority is less than the 71% positive response claimed by ACCA. And 24% of the responses to the Big Question were neutral to the association’s bid to merge.

The most decisive responses came from CIPFA members, 58% of whom saw the benefits compared to 42% who did not.

ACCA members were more ambivalent, with a 52% to 27% split, while the CIMA vote was 55% to 25%.

Members of the English and Scots ICA were reasonably comfortable with the arrangement, with 46% for and 27% against. Steven Neville, FD of Milton Keynes-based office equipment company Olivetti Lexicon, said: ‘They have played around for long enough – this one is most likely to happen. It is bound to be a good thing for business.’

The arguments in favour of a unified voice for the profession and administrative economies that would free more funds for services to members convinced Martin Dalby, of Hampshire-based Peverel Management Services. ‘A merger of all accountancy bodies is long overdue,’ said Dalby.

Richard Sharp, finance manager for Kingston University/St George’s Hospital Medical School, added: ‘A unified voice of accountants in business would better tackle the domination of accountants in practice on professional matters.’

Doubters were most concerned about differentiating between the skills and qualifications of super-body members. University of Edinburgh FD George Sutherland said: ‘How will recruiters know whether any particular member is a management accounts specialist or public finance? Also will they be allowed to audit public costs?’

Will ACCA/CIMA/CIPFA merger better serve the needs of accountants in business?

Institute ACCA CIMA ICAEW/S CIPFA Other Overall
Yes 52% 55% 46% 58% 58% 51%
No 27% 25% 27% 42% 10% 25%
Neutral 21% 20% 27% 0% 32% 24%

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