With it being difficult to keep the lid on client complaints against crooked accountants, the profession feels it has a need to have one single regulatory body - so their power in dealing with future legislation will be great enough to put a stop to any pro client reforms, as the legal profession currently awaits.
Read on for the article, from the Herald, at : http://www.theherald.co.uk/business/70036.html
‘Nonsense’ of diverse accountancy bodies
PAUL ROGERSON September 14 2006
The head of Grant Thornton in the UK has called on Britain's accountancy institutes to cast aside their "jealousies" and unite under one cross-border body.
Michael Cleary said it is a "nonsense" for Britain to have more than six professional organisations, which he believes prevents the UK's 250,000 accountants from speaking with one voice.
In a speech to the Institute of Financial Accountants, Cleary predicted that within a decade all the institutes will combine to form a nationwide institute comprising "proud chapters representing the (profession's) founding bodies".
As head of Britain's fifth-largest professional services firm, Cleary will renew debate about the profession's future following another bout of turf wars between the institutes. Last year First Minister Jack McConnell famously intervened to help the 16,000-strong Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland fight off a raid on its brand by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
The 125,000-strong Icaew had wanted to adopt "The Institute of Chartered Accountants" as its "catch-all" brand, a plan which the Scottish body viewed as blatant usurping of a prestige unmatched in the global profession. The Edinburgh-based body, which has launched generations of Scottish business leaders, was granted its royal charter in 1854 and was the first to adopt the "chartered accountant" designation.
Icas members threw out a plan to merge with its southern counterpart at the turn of the 1990s, and the Scots body has prospered recently - most notably by attracting students based in England and Wales. Efforts to put some or all of the six principal organisations together have nevertheless continued.
Last year the latest consolidation effort saw public sector body the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy fail to seal a merger with the Icaew.
Cairn Energy chairman Norman Murray, who is president of the Scottish institute, rebutted Cleary's claims. "We have always said that consolidation is not inevitable," he said.
"To demonstrate to our members that merging would be in their interests and in the public interest, we need to show that we can work together closely with other institutes first and foremost. At the moment we see no need to merge."
Murray's appeal for close co-operation was last night echoed by Icaew president Ian Morris, who visited Edinburgh to address some of the 1300 members of the English institute who work in Scotland.
"Our relationship with Icas is one of partnership," he said. "I value the long-standing and constructive working relationship that exists between (us)."