It’s always seemed to me that the ‘m’ word as in ‘merger’ – or should it be ‘c’ for ‘consolidation’? – is simply an excuse for more whinging by accountants. Let’s be honest about it – chartered accountants are superior. They are brighter and more high-flying than that certifiable mob over at Lincoln’s Inn Fields. CIMA is all very well, but it’s not the same. And as for CIPFA … well, it will never be more than a niche player.
I am being provocative about ACCA, of course. ACCA can argue, convincingly, that its qualification is of greater application in the real world.
To use a scuba-diving analogy, it’s a bit like BSAC and PADI. The British Sub Aqua Club has higher standards, but has never really learnt how to promote itself. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors has a sausage-machine approach to training, but has used superior marketing to become the global qualification of choice.
It seems to me that the ICAEW mob will baulk at sharing its elitist club with CIMA and CIPFA. Far better for the smaller players to merge with ACCA if they’re looking for a bit of collective muscle. If it’s all about synergies, does it really matter who they merge with?
Pigs might fly before this one happens. But in the meantime, we can amuse ourselves by thinking up a name for the new super-institute. The Institute of Chartered, Management and Public Finance Accountants (ICMPFA? Er, maybe not.
Jon Ashworth is business features editor at The Times.