The ICAEW and CIPFA may merge by themselves, leaving CIMA to join at a later date, the chief executives of the three institutes have confirmed.
Eric Anstee, chief executive of the ICAEW, told Accountancy Age’s sister title Financial Director that a two-stage merger plan was being discussed to allow more time to prepare detailed plans acceptable to CIMA’s council.
No formal decision on such a phased merger has yet been made. But contingency plans are being considered because of concerns recently expressed by CIMA council members over the status of management accountancy and the CIMA brand within a consolidated institute.
‘To get CIMA into the fold could well take longer,’ Anstee said. ‘Therefore, the discussions currently taking place are that maybe we should do this in two bites.’
The first ‘bite’ would see the ICAEW ‘absorb’ the public sector accountants CIPFA, and possibly change the ICAEW’s name at the same time. A public services faculty would probably be created to sit alongside the existing tax, corporate finance, IT, audit and finance and management faculties.
‘Then we will come forward with more detailed proposals with CIMA,’ said Anstee. ‘We just need longer to work them through.’
CIMA chief executive Charles Tilley said the aim of consolidation was to have ‘three accounting bodies who are absolutely equal in the new body.
‘We want to make sure we get this right. If that means that the timetable pushes out a bit, so be it,’ he added.
CIPFA chief executive Steve Freer said: ‘If we came to the conclusion that the way to achieve the objective was to involve more than one stage, then obviously we’d look at that very carefully. But the mission is still to try to deliver a three-way combination.’
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