Merger targets declare war on ACCA proposal

Merger targets CIMA and CIPFA this week poured scorn on ACCA’s attempts to gain support from grass-roots members for a merger between the three bodies without consulting their councils.

A meeting of the CIMA council last Friday decided to lobby members, urging them to reject the terms offered by ACCA. In a letter to members, CIMA president Peter Layhe said: ‘The manner of this approach causes concern over the scope for flexibility in further discussions.’

But he added: ‘The rationalisation of the entire profession still remains a goal for members.’ CIPFA chief executive David Adams echoed the goal of rationalisation.

He went on to condemn ACCA’s merger bid as ‘misplaced, irrelevant, inept, ingenuous, divisive and dangerous.’ A CIPFA spokesman said: ‘Members were upset and concerned about the way ACCA has gone about this and their lack of consultation.’

ACCA hit back saying that, of 4,000 responses it had received so far to its mailing to ACCA, CIMA and CIPFA members, 71% were in favour of the merger plan. Chief executive Anthea Rose said: ‘These responses indicate tremendous support for restructuring among all three bodies.’

ACCA was, however, unable to give a breakdown by institute of the responses to its plan.

David Bishop, architect of the last rationalisation plan, said ACCA was right to bypass the CIMA and CIPFA councils and exclude the English ICA, given its members had scuppered past merger plans.

CCAB presidents, at their quarterly meeting on Monday, failed to discuss the merger.

ACCA remained upbeat, hailing an Accountancy Age survey which found a majority of FDs, from all the UK accountancy bodies, supported the merger plan.

ACCA’s council said although CIMA and CIPFA councils were critical of its direct approach to members, the reaction to the overall plan was positive.

An ACCA spokesman said the CIMA council, by far the larger of the two targeted institutes, had ‘not closed the door to discussions’.

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