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ICAEW president Ian Morris: Your merger questions answered

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18th Oct 2005
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Last week AccountingWEB asked members for questions to put to ICAEW president Ian Morris on the ICAEW/CIPFA merger. These are his answers

Q. Why has the ICAEW Ginger Group not been allowed to put forward an opposing point of view in the documents sent to members? This would have created a more balanced approach and was allowed on previous occasions. Our request was acknowledged but the question was never answered.

A. The Ginger Group has publicised their case via the media and we believe members are aware of their views about the proposed integration. It is for members to decide, from all that they've heard from both sides, whether integration is in their interests. The most important thing is that they make sure they take the opportunity to vote.

Q. Is it still the intention should the merger be successful, to adopt the name "The Institute of Chartered Accountants" despite the long-standing practice of the use of geographical areas in the various institutes around the world? If so, does Mr Morris accept that this will cause a significant degree of controversy amongst the various institutes worldwide as the English Institute is effectively badging itself as pre-eminent?

A. The first thing is to win the vote, and then to move on to the Privy Council about the name. Our preference is for that name, but in talking to the Privy Council we will obviously take into account what other institutes say. Accountancy has become a global profession, with global standards and global issues, and we feel our new name should reflect this trend. If the proposed name is accepted, we do not believe that it signals any 'pre-eminence' over other nationally designated institutes, and intend to continue working effectively with them.

Q. I am one of the many CIPFA members that no longer works in the public sector. Likewise, there are many chartered accountants who now work in the public sector. I hope that a merged institute would increase the support, e.g. on technical issues, I get from my institute, but I am uncertain how this could be achieved in effect. What would the practical benefits for me and other members at the 'coalface'?

A. There has been a significant breakdown in the barriers which used to exist in the profession and nowadays many people switch between the private and public sectors at different times in their careers. An integrated institute will be able to offer enhanced development and training programmes and facilities for all members to assist them in their current jobs and in future careers. We will also introduce a new public services faculty to augment existing specialist faculties. Furthermore, to aid career development, we will be able to deliver a portfolio of 'gold standard' qualifications that will open up new paths of development whilst reaffirming the prestigious standards of the Institute. Most importantly, separate qualifications and titles will be preserved as a strength of the combined Institute, as will our commitment to the highest standards.

Q. There was a rumour that the ICAEW was looking to attract members from the ACPA or 'soak up' these members, is there any truth in this rumour?

A. There are regular rumours about "soaking up" one group or another! This is because the Institute's learning and professional development department regularly evaluates potential future routes to membership, their impact on current procedures and their implications for the quality, reputation and effectiveness of the Institute. This process will continue but I can assure you that at all times our focus is on maintaining standards and attracting quality individuals.

Q. Most other countries have more than one or two accounting bodies. For example, in Canada there are several provincial Institutes of Chartered Accountants, each having autonomy. There are also Certified General Accountants. In Ireland and Australia, there are Certified and Chartered Institutes. In the medical profession, there are at last four separate bodies in the UK. The legal profession also has more than one professional body in the UK, so why should accountancy bodies in UK differ?

A. At present, there are six different accountancy bodies within the UK. No other country has such a divided accountancy profession. We believe the proliferation of different bodies has reduced the profession's influence, both nationally and internationally, across government, stakeholders and industry. Integration will mean a stronger voice for the whole of the profession, stretching across the whole of the economy, and will provide us with additional resources to represent and support members.

Q. How much has the ICAEW spent on publicising the merger and how can it justify the spend on the grounds of value for money? Surely, the institute could have just put its case simply and emailed a statistically significant sample of members at almost no cost. If the result had been promising, CIMA and CIPFA could then have done likewise.

A. Providing value for money is one of the central tenets of what we offer. At the same time, it should be pointed out that integration is a matter that affects all members and so therefore, contrary to what you suggest, it is important that everyone has the chance to have their say on the proposal.

Over the last 18 months the Institute has spent a total of £1.42 million, the equivalent of just over £11 per member, to progress this proposal. This money has been used to explain the findings of our strategy review to members, to undertake due diligence work in order to ensure that the integration with CIPFA presents no barriers, on communicating the benefits of integration to members and on convening a special meeting to put the matter to a vote.

This expenditure needs to be put in the context of the possible savings achievable from integration. We believe it will lead to substantial recurring cost savings of not less than £4m, after the first two years, which will be reinvested to benefit members.

Q. Surely it would make sense to merge like with like. Therefore, it would make perfect sense to merge the ICAEW with ACCA. I understand that the ACCA have not even been approached on this matter. Is this true?

A. We believe that real influence and strength comes from being able to speak with real authority across the breadth of the modern economy. As such, we are proposing integration with CIPFA in order to create an Institute with a unique expertise across the business, practice and public sectors.

The ACCA have gone on the record stating that their business model is different to that of the ICAEW. Their strategy is a matter for them. We are concerned with furthering the interests of our members which is why we're proposing integration with CIPFA.

Q. The only instance of a successful merger attempt in the history of ICAEW was when they proposed not to change the name. The same name (ICAEW) was retained during the 1957 merger with the Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors. So why not retain the same name now? What do ICAEW and CIPFA have to lose? Is the England and Wales part of the name such a nuisance that the ICAEW has to jeopardise its relations with other CA Institutes?

A. We see the debate about the name change as an unfortunate distraction from the central question ' is integration in the interests of members of the ICAEW and CIPFA? Greater influence, more resources and continuing prestige ' these are the factors we want members to consider when they cast their vote. Ultimately the name issue is one that will be resolved by the Privy Council, if sufficient numbers of members are persuaded that integration is in their interest. It is worthy of note that CIPFA is not tied to any particular geographical area, and neither, of course, are CIMA or the ACCA.

Q. If the merger is approved, will efforts continue to merge with the remaining institutes?

A. The proposed integration with CIPFA would change the landscape in which the profession operates and so, no doubt, all UK accountancy bodies are watching developments closely. The possibility of future discussions remains with any accountancy body where we see a strategic fit and clear benefit for our members.

Q. What will be the ICAEW's next step if the vote goes against the merger?

A. The strategic review we undertook in 2004 identified a number of initiatives to reinforce the position of the Institute as a world leading professional body. These included investing heavily in education and training, as well as our technical thought-leadership, and also increasing our international presence and aligning our activities with members' careers. Integration with CIPFA will contribute towards our ultimate goal, which is stated above, but these initiatives will continue irrespective of the result of the members' vote.

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Replies (12)

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By AnonymousUser
07th Nov 2005 07:57

Wally N
Why do you think Matthew don't appear here to condemn the tiniest winniest small mistake like spelling mistake on this thread?

Matthew claimed himself to be a member of ICAEW, ICAS, ICAI, ICAA and on the other hand try to convince the world ACCA is better than the CAs bodies.

Deep [***] s Matthew.....a double-headed snake Liar.

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By AnonymousUser
08th Nov 2005 02:32

I think Matthew is not ACCA member
Logically, Matthew would have condemn those supporting ICAEW, but Matthew did not condemn, and did not show up here. Why? Simple as that, Matthew is not ACCA member because Matthew lied.

How can Sing Kard not tell the truth about Matthew's professorial status at the same university as Sim Card?

Matthew's identity as only IFA was found out at this university, thus, got kicked out of the university for good and bad for Matthew in other words.

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By AnonymousUser
08th Nov 2005 10:16

Certainly undeniably true, Matthew is not ACCA
Matthew did not even lift his little pinkie to at least deny that he is not ACCA member because Matthew is not ACCA member.

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By AnonymousUser
26th Oct 2005 12:01

ICAEW is classic
ICAEW better maintain itself as one body of truly CAs, distinguishable by its classic CA designate.

No need to mix with other.

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By AnonymousUser
25th Oct 2005 10:27

Not to worry - Last Question raised
I noted the last question in this thread which reads "Q. What will be the ICAEW’s next step if the vote goes against the merger?" and that part of the answer goes like this "Integration with CIPFA will contribute towards our ultimate goal, ....",

and I think there is still a lot of opportunities for ICAEW if the vote goes against the merger.

I like to list the potentials as ICPAI, ACCA, AIA.

CPA UK has admitted direct to its membership people who hold ICIA Malaysia membership. As far as I know, ACCA, ICPAI and AIA has not admitted members from ICIA.


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By AnonymousUser
26th Oct 2005 11:58

Words for the next thing ......
However many holy words you read,
However many you speak,
What good will they do you
If you do not act upon them?

-- Buddha --

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By AnonymousUser
20th Oct 2005 13:01

ICAEW v ICAS (ICAEW rounded)
No Members, 8:1; No Staff, 3:1; Salary bill, [3n]:1; Result, Misery : Joy.

ALSO, on any future proposal to increase subscriptions use the Ian Morris technique and respond:

don't piffle; forget it, it's only so much a member.

BUT: it's only £15k for each Council member to cough up. Aha.

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By AnonymousUser
20th Oct 2005 20:24

... and statistics in Denmark
One of my questions was put to the President but by omitting the final words (giving stop-go signs moons ago) the whole meaning was changed. The President knew that because he would have been a fool not to have read all the questions, as originally put, on this site.

He replied "contrary to what you suggest" when I made no such suggestion. He did not mention the PR expenditure - when, if at all (following the Early Day Motion), did that stop, how was it justified at all
and what is the specific cost of that element? Finally, for now, when most of the money need not have been then spent, how was it necessary to put it in the context of savings of not less than £4m? Also, why in his letter did he not say "annual cost savings..." as opposed to "year on year cost savings..."? Doubtless it seemed a clever move to say the savings would be "reinvested" as if one spends what one saves - how can another tell if it was saved or not?

Eric, Ian and the PR Agency take us for fools.

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By User deleted
19th Oct 2005 12:25

unauthorised expenditure?
So the ICAEW have spend £1.4m of the membership's money on the latest merger proposals? How many times have members voted against a merger? Given that the membership have made their views clear (on more than one occasion) what can be the justification for continued expenditure in this area?

Can we have an assurance that if we have a "no" vote this time then the Institute will actually listen to its membership? (something it repeatedly claims to want to do!).

In the event that the Institute considers the only merger that makes any sense (ICAEW with ACCA) can we have an assurance that it will use the cheaper alternative of email to assess support for any plans before spending the cash?

Fee increase anyone?

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By AnonymousUser
19th Oct 2005 14:37

Dr Wooller is right - what was the point ...

THE PRESIDENT DID NOT ANSWER MY QUESTIONS - SEE 12/10/2005 so why not read/re-read them to gather why not.

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By AnonymousUser
26th Oct 2005 03:41

Before and After
Can someone hold another forum to discuss "after" the merger conclusion? Ie, failed merger.

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By AnonymousUser
20th Oct 2005 05:21

CIPFA dignity and charm

I have, elsewhere, complimented CIPFA on the manner in which they campaigned.

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