United in a common cause.

We have witnessed a number of expensive merger attempts of various combinations of the institutes which make up the arms of the profession.

The latest one seems to be ACCA’s attempts to persuade CIMA and CIPFA members that a 120,000-plus membership will rival the English ICA’s premier role in the profession.

It is in the world at large, however, that the real issues are encountered, resulting in at least one successful ‘merger of ideas’ of Leicestershire-based CIMA member in practice, Gary Beesley, with my own chartered accountancy Henstock Shooter. Gary Beesley is proprietor of GB Accounting and Financial Planning of Coalville, Leicestershire.

An old acquaintance, Beesley had noticed a number of articles in Accountancy Age, featuring Henstock Shooter, and decided to get in touch.

It became apparent that our two firms specialised in different financial disciplines – each of great value to their existing client bases.

This meeting resulted in a cross-fertilisation of ideas, and business being undertaken with each other’s clients. A major advantage of this partnership is that clients feel sufficiently comfortable with the recommendations of one party to use the services of the other.

It is anticipated that a good deal of additional work for each of the practices will result from this business relationship.

From the business undertaken so far, it is clear that clients do not have a set preference as to which institute or association their professional advisers are members of; they simply need to feel confident that the work can be completed to a high level of competence at a realistic price.

Beesley commented: ‘The success of our referral arrangement, although in its early stages, is a lesson to all accountancy bodies, that greater success for each of their members, especially the small to medium-sized practices, can be better achieved by working with each other, rather than in competition with each other.’

Richard Shooter is a principal of Henstock Shooter chartered accountant

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