Letters extra – Responses to ACCA merger proposal

Bring sanity to the profession

OK, so the attempt by ACCA to rationalise the accountancy bodies may not be perfect (16 July)! But surely something has to be done to bring some sanity to the industry.

The ‘public’, in whatever guise, are our customers and they are confused and mystified by the proliferation of different qualifications. The governments of many years have recommended rationalisation. The councils of all the various bodies have wisely told us all how sensible it would be. Yet, the moment anybody takes steps to make it happen, the criticism starts to flow.

Is it possible for an ‘epidemic’ of goodwill, support, sharing of ideas, compromise and conciliation to break out?

If it does, everybody in the profession might see the achievement of the ‘bleedin’ obvious’ and this can only benefit all members of the profession in the long term. Despite its imperfections, may the latest initiative succeed.

Dick Bultitude, FCCA, Tasburgh, Norwich

I didn’t give the go-ahead! Concerning the ‘shock merger plan’, at the risk of being accused of using your pages as a forum, something for which I make no apologies, I would like my view recorded.

That is, that ACCA has not appealed to members of CIMA and CIPFA to join with ACCA. No, the elected body has done so, and unless I’m mistaken, I certainly did not give my consent for such a merger (how many of the 120,000 members have?).

I think that before my valuable consent were to be given, I would have to see how we could avoid confusion in the public’s eye as to what exactly these new merged members do or can do. For example, can they all audit?

I would also like to get some kind of feel as to the impression the public would have of such a body. For instance, would their impression of us be diminished (either ACCA or the joint body?).

Also, how would this ‘at least #2.5m be passed on to members in the form of improved and additional services’?

From my background, this is the type of fudged response you meet when either something fishy is afoot or this issue doesn’t have an answer.

There is no point in providing services that are not wanted, and you do not improve services by simply employing more people, paying larger salaries and so on. Qualified, elected, professional people should know better than to make a non-committal statement like this.

I wonder, is it that I am becoming more suspicious or more experienced as I age?

Cameron Kettles, FCCA, Dundee, Tayside

The Bastille connection Is it mere coincidence that ACCA launched its bid to redefine its relationship with CIMA and CIPFA on the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille?

Tom Clendon, St Albans, Herts

Getting best of both worlds In response to Mr Howard’s letter ‘I’ll quit ACCA over merger’ (‘Letters’, 23 July), surely the idea of one unified body is to take the best parts from each, not the worst.

As far as expressing one’s opinions are concerned, ACCA is giving all three bodies’ members a chance of doing that right now.

Right up your street!

An open mind, together with forward thinking, is required for this.

TJ Wright, ACCA, Southport

Makes sense for business Congratulations to ACCA’s council for taking a much needed initiative to rationalise the UK accountancy profession.

It makes sound business sense to merge and will be of real benefit to members and the clients they serve in whatever capacity.

As for reducing competition within the profession, there will still be more than enough accountancy bodies within the UK and Europe.

Chris Skeet, FCCA, Wokingham, Berks

SPA welcomes ACCA move From its inception in 1996, the Small Practitioners Association has been supportive of the concept of a unified accountancy body across all institutes, possibly to be called the Federation of Professional Accountants, and the initiative taken by ACCA is viewed as a welcome component in this process.

Our view at the SPA is that it is in the long-term interest of our profession to speak as one body, both with our government, Europe and beyond.

It is on this issue that perhaps all institutes’ members should be balloted sooner rather than later, including the English ICA; if we don’t put our collective house in order the government may do it for us.

The present umbrella body, the Consultative Committee of Accounting Bodies, which sounds like old Russia and lacks any sense of presence, should be renamed immediately to focus the minds of our institutes’ leaders on what they should seek to achieve jointly by, shall we say, 1 January 2005.

Agreement of the principle now is key to moving forward; the detail will follow, taking the necessary time and care to complete.

PJD Mitchell, FCA, Small Practitioners Association.

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