Accountancy bodies discuss new merger

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants are to enter into merger discussions following the failure of an initiative to merge all six accountants' professional bodies.

The move was announced by the ICAEW and Cima yesterday at a meeting of the six accountancy bodies in the UK and Ireland to assess responses to the profession-wide merger proposals put forward by the Bishop Working Party.

All six accountancy bodies were to merge into English, Scottish and Irish institutes. This proposal was itself a compromise on plans for a British institute, which met with resistance from the Scots due to fears that they would become a branch of the English institute.

The meeting heard that independent opinion polls of members found the majority of accountants were against the Bishop proposals, and so decided to shelve them.

If the ICAEW and Cima merger proposals get the go-ahead it will result in the creation of a new body with about 140,000 members.

The opinion polls, conducted by Mori, found that members of three institutes, the ICAEW, Cima and the Irish Institute of Chartered Accountants, favoured rationalisation, while the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, the Chartered Institute ofPublic Finance and Accountancy and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland were against the plan.

Tom Glancy, president of Cima, said: "If exploratory talks go well we will bring outline proposals to our members in weeks rather than months."

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