ACCA has shocked the profession by not behaving like an accountancy institute at all. In mounting its merger appeal direct to members of CIMA and CIPFA, it has scorned protocol and dared to point out that the profession’s emperors have no clothes.
The other institutes have reacted like outraged maiden aunts, fretting about processes and trying to obscure the main issue. Ironically, their refusal to engage with ACCA’s central argument places the initiative firmly in the hands of individual accountants. For the first time, accountants have the chance to say what they really think of their institutes. Instead of being told what sort of institute they should have, they have a unique opportunity to decide what kind of professional body they actually want.
This is the challenge that ACCA has thrown to the profession. Can accountants stir themselves from their apparent apathy and take their futures into their own hands? Are they prepared to break out of the world of the medieval guild and set a new pattern for a global accountancy profession?
The answers may be extremely uncomfortable for the current leaders of the profession. ACCA may find that the monster it has unleashed will bite it as hard as anybody. But bypassing the usual channels provides a chance for fresh thinking. If a new accountancy body does result, it must be one which is based on a vision of the future rather than a set of compromises with the past.
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