Poll shows merger antipathy

With just a few days left for members to vote on the ICAEW/CIPFA merger, the
enormity of the task facing the two institutes has been revealed by an exclusive
Accountancy Age poll.

Overall just 46% of accountants, across institutes and in both business and
practice, were in favour of the merger proposals with 42% against. The poll, by, also revealed overriding opposition from ICAEW members, with
53% against and just 39% backing the plans.

‘They should concentrate on running the institute for their members’ benefit
and stop wasting money on empire building,’ said one respondent.

More than two thirds of CIPFA members backed the merger, while 30% opposed.
Both institutes require a 67% majority of member votes for the proposals to go

But the results highlighted an opportunity for both camps to exert their
powers of persuasion, as 8% of respondents are still undecided.

The UK’s most senior accountant in business, Jon Symonds, chairman of the
influential Hundred Group of Finance Directors, said the body would be
‘sympathetic’ to the merger.

In a letter published this week, Symonds voiced his support for the ‘yes’
camp, stating that a fragmented profession in the UK was ‘unhelpful’ when making
its voice heard against initiatives from Europe and the US.

More accountants in business were in favour of the merger than against, with
46% backing the plans and 41% supporting a ‘no’ vote. Of accountants in
practice, 41% backed the merger in comparison to 50% who opposed it.

Nine out of 10 ICAEW members who took part in the online poll said they will
vote on the proposals. Just 17% of the membership took part in the institute’s
vote for continuing professional development in June 2004. 

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