Talk not fight urges CIMA

A call by CIMA for the accountancy profession to shelve merger plans and co-operate more closely in non-contentious areas was this week rebuffed by CIPFA and ACCA.

The CIMA proposals, set out in the new publication ‘Design for a Profession’, mark the first serious debate between the institutes since ACCA’s abortive three-way merger attempt with CIMA and CIPFA last year.

Jake Claret, CIMA’s deputy secretary and author of the blueprint, said opposition to CIMA’s insistence on regulated and non-regulated areas for accountants in practice and business would block future merger attempts.

‘I’m hoping for realism and mergers are very unlikely to happen,’ he said. ‘There are courtship rituals every two to three years between the institutes, but the girl always refuses to go to the altar.’

Calling for an end to the ‘power struggle’ between the institutes, Claret said institutes should work more closely in non-contentious areas. One of the main opportunities for this, he added, was the overlapping groups that link the institutes in the standard-setting and international arenas.

‘We need a new relationship and special-interest groups blur the lines between institutes,’ he said.

But the practicality of Claret’s vision was immediately questioned by a CIMA council member. ‘It’s easier said than done, with the institutes competing in an increasingly competitive market place,’ he said. ‘Co-operation will happen, but there will be a kick-back from members.’

The response from other institutes also highlighted entrenched differences.

Anthea Rose, ACCA’s chief executive said: ‘The CIMA analysis is okay in parts but the structure is too complicated. It also still represents a split between regulated and unregulated parts of the profession.’

CIPFA, which had been sent a copy of the proposals, was equally dismissive. Chief executive David Adams said: ‘Co-operation and competition are mutually exclusive.’

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