Share this content
Tags:

IFA to merge with IPA in January 2015

17th Oct 2014
Share this content
iStock/Thinkstock

The Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) has agreed terms to join with the Institute of Public Accountants Australia (IPA).

The merger will form the IPA Group from January 2015.

However, this is subject to more than 50% of IFA members voting in agreement at a special general meeting on 16 December.

According to the IFA, it has considered a number of options for amalgamation but settled on the IPA as its working relationship, established in 2003 and solidified in 2012, "represents the best option for growth". 

"The IFA has also recognised that it has neither the financial resources, nor the infrastructure needed for extended growth," the IPA said in an FAQ section for members

"Joining the IPA Group will deliver to the IFA the resources needed for the IFA to increase its global presence and recognition in the marketplace."

The IPA has 26,000 members and its headquarters are based in Melbourne. The move will create the world's largest SME focused accountancy organisation, the IFA said. 

Branding and autonomy of each institute will be retained, the IFA assured its members, but its hoped that the merger will lead to a greater global reach, and establish economies of scale to cap costs and member fees. 

IFA council chair Catherine Chamberlain said the IFA acknowledged it needs to secure 'stepped growth' in its membership numbers and enhancement of its current operation model. 

"To help us achieve this long-held strategic goal, we need to join forces with a credible, like-minded, dynamic accountancy body that shares our vision to lead the profession globally and to have a lasting impact on the professional careers of our members long into the future."

Tags:

Replies (10)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By AndersonAccountancy
19th Oct 2014 11:44

Members Oppose

There are many members who oppose this takeover for a variety of reasons. I have posted mine on my business blog page here http://www.andersonaccountancy.pro/blog/ipa-takeover-amalgamate-ifa/ but have also posted it on AccountingWeb as a blog post here https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/blog/ipa-takeover-or-amalgamate-ifa

For those who are interested but are not members and therefore are not in receipt of the letter from the IFA to its members, I will scan and post my letter for all to read.

Would be interested in hearing other peoples opinions.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By AccountingForTaste
20th Oct 2014 10:52

A done deal

I would have to agree that the 'mergeover' looks like a done deal down under - nothing in any press release or official line from IPA makes it look uncertain that the deal will be going ahead.

In the UK  I have been asking what will the benefit be to fellow members who do not wish to up sticks to Oz, apart from the potential to top up my tan and exponentially increase my BBQ ratio.

In my eyes it's embarrassing that a once respected accountancy body - nearly 100 years old - can find itself in such a poor financial state. Accounts are not good reading and the only reason I could see for IPA taking on the poisoned chalice would be to attempt a Charter, benefiting their members rather than IFA.

I have since been considering my membership. AndersonAccountancy, you mentioned in your excellent blog post that you had resigned your position - are you also considering your IFA membership too? Personally I will be voting no and assessing my options following the declaration of the yes vote.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By AndersonAccountancy
20th Oct 2014 11:13

Membership Position

At this stage, I have not decided what to do about my membership. I shall certainly let my FTA membership lapse as I see no benefit to having this and I suspect it will eventually die if this takeover succeeds.

As for IFA membership, will see what the vote brings and decide then. At the moment, it is only my position as a Branch Chair that I resigned due to wanting to distance myself from the management team at the IFA.

Thanks (0)
PJ
By paulgrca.net
20th Oct 2014 13:14

Just for balance

As a branch chair myself I have to point out that David Anderson has been very vocal in his opposition to the proposal. Look at some of the posts on the IFA linkedin page for example. The majority of members I have spoken to support the proposal.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By AndersonAccountancy
20th Oct 2014 20:22

Just for balance

Yes, I have been very vocal in the "no" camp and have had to resort to social media, my own blog on my business web site and particularly using LinkedIn. Why?

When I requested the opportunity of putting my opinion forward in the Special Edition of Financial Accountant Magazine (the magazine for IFA members) I was ignored. Where else can I make my point of view be heard?

And please, the promise of a Royal Charter?

Thanks (0)
avatar
By AccountingForTaste
05th Nov 2014 09:52

A question I have been asking myself is whether there was more than one option on the table for the IFA Council, or was IPA the only choice? Having the choice between IPA and nothing I can understand why the Council would vote to choose IPA and attempt to save IFA, but there must have been better options? Ones with more UK experience to benefit practicing members, unless the emphasis from now on will be China and the Far East?

Thanks (0)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
avatar
By AndersonAccountancy
05th Nov 2014 10:52

There was other options put forward to Council - and bear in mind that these were options "PUT FORWARD" by the CEO. So from the options PUT FORWARD, Council selected what they believed to be the best option.

I, however, believe that other options exist that have not been appraised because the direction the IFA is being steered in is and has been orchestrated for some time.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By AccountingForTaste
26th Nov 2014 12:41

IFA Council member

Did anyone else see Beryl Shepherd, IFA Council member's post on the IFA Linkedin Group? Absolutely fascinating - if she as a Council member feels she has insufficient information to make the key decision how can members?

+++

"I am a member of the IFA council and I voted against the proposal to be taken over by the IPA. I have been reminded frequently about collective responsibility but I feel that my Duty to exercise independent judgment is paramount.

I have asked questions regarding clearance by IFAC, Ofqual, HM Treasury and other matters (which as a director I thought I was entitled to know) but have been directed to the FAQ on the web page or the “Celebratory” issue of the magazine. Clearly the answers do not lie in these publications.

You have been asked to agree to a resolution saying that you approve of the proposal for the amalgamation of the IFA with the IPA yet there is no definitive document to say what this is, only that information can be found in a number of places. I doubt if you would sign away your own organisation without reading the small print.

Amongst the information that has been circulated is the claim that there is no other option available to you. Patently this is untrue although a look at 2013 accounts will show that doing nothing is definitely not one of them. I have since become aware that options other than the two discussed at council were (and still are) distinct possibilities.

I feel the membership will fall into one of three categories, these being, firstly, those who think that being taken over by the IPA is a good move per se. Secondly, those who are against the takeover by the IPA and lastly those who have become convinced that to go with the IPA is the only option.

It is true that the IPA option does have the merit of getting rid of, in the short term, virtually every problem in one go and within the tight timescale now available; all that is, except for the one thing that created the problems in the first place. ie the inability of the council and executive to cut our coat according to our cloth.

Many of you may have been tempted by the prospect of a Royal Charter which is by no means a foregone conclusion. I doubt if the IFA would be offered one but the IPA may think they will.

Another temptation is the offer of IPA membership but unless you want to work in Australia I cannot see it having much value to most of our members.

Many of you will have attended branch meetings and so be aware a great deal of money must have been spent in recent weeks on overseas trips and the setting up and visiting old and new Branches in order to tell you that the IPA is the only option and what a wonderful deal it is. Given the state of our finances at the end of December 2013 I am not sure where this money is to come from unless it is the IPA itself.

I could spend much time and energy arguing against the one sided information that has been issued on a very regular basis or I could discuss the accounts, actual membership numbers or the possible lack of compliance but I would rather ask you to consider the following;-

 

1          Why has the IPA treated it as a done deal from day one and why are they so keen to acquire us. What’s in it for them?

2          Do you not wonder how the IFA got into such a financial mess and is this year going to show any improvement? If we are to remain the same, with the same directors and staff, how are we going to ”do better”. Make no mistake we will undoubtedly be expected to perform much more efficiently after the takeover.

3 You might ask yourself, what is the real difference between a back office with control in Australia and one in UK/EU within the control of the IFA.?

4          If you were given a viable option (and there are some) that meant that the IFA would be associated with a UK or EU body, would you vote for it. In September, however, Council were only presented with the detail of the IPA and one other, this being a back office service with a view to possible closer collaboration later – the pros and cons as presented to council make interesting reading.

5          Is there any correlation between the happenings at the IFA and the more recent history of the IAM.

6          The IFA is still to be a Company limited by Guarantee but the new company will have only one member – the IPA. What will happen to the old IFA and what say will the current members have in its affairs. What will the new Articles say.

I do not have an issue with anybody who votes for the IPA deal so long as they have carefully considered the information both available and missing before casting their vote and their decision is not based on “we need to do something before we are declared insolvent”.

There will be no going back.

I have been a member of Council for more than 30 years and had the honour of being your first lady Chairman. I have always tried to do my best for the membership and will continue to do so if allowed however I am now an old lady being just about on the right side of 80 but if the deal with the IPA goes through I am confident in the sad expectation that I shall outlive the IFA by some margin.

PS If you have already cast your proxy vote but now wish to reconsider, it is possible to withdraw and recast your vote by proxy or in person."

+++

 

Thanks (0)
avatar
By BarringtonChan
05th Dec 2014 15:09

ADvise what wEre other options?

Thanks (0)
avatar
By AndersonAccountancy
19th Dec 2014 09:13

Goodbye IFA

So it seems that around 1,000 members from the IFA voted and 96% of those voted in favour of the takeover by the IPA. Out of 9,000 members, only the associates and fellows were allowed to vote which would take the electorate to about 5,000 so 1/5 voted - not a good turnout. And 96% could be likened to voting systems in communist states :)

So to get facts straight; 20th largest body in IFAC means nothing when there are 19 bigger ones in front of you. Largest focussed SME accountancy body? Not true. AAT, AIA, ACCA, ICAEW to name but a few are all SME focussed as 99.3% of business in the UK are SME (source: FSB) - it is just the IFA who have jumped on the marketing wagon with that claim. Greater efficiency? Yes, they are outsourcing their back office and member system to Australia - how does that affect data protection rights of the member?

So there you have; another takeover successfully completed by senior management at the IFA (hopefully it will not go the same way as the previous one) and I, along with a number of fellow members, have resigned from the IFA.

Good luck to all those that remain but I really do not think the IFA will last more than another 2-3 years!

Thanks (0)