by Clinton J. Morrison, MSCPA Director
In this blog post, Clint will discuss the PRO side, the advantages to the AICPA’s proposed joint venture with CIMA. Scroll down to read the recent blog post by President Brenda Byrnes that introduced this subject.
Despite your busy schedule, you may have heard that the AICPA wants to join forces with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to create a new accounting association, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, while continuing to operate the membership bodies of both existing associations. Your MSCPA board of directors reviewed this issue at its recent board meeting, and I was impressed with the vigorous discussion that took place among the board members regarding this topic.
First, it is important to point out that the AICPA dues should not be affected by this proposal, and your existing membership in the AICPA should not change. AICPA members would automatically become members of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. As a small business owner, I watch costs like a hawk, so this was the first hurdle that I was able to get over with this proposal. Though I am a tad skeptical in this regard, the proposal does include the integration of management and operations, which should provide economies of scale and cut costs.
By joining forces with CIMA’s 227,000 members, our voice in advocacy efforts will be that much stronger. To me, that is one of the most compelling arguments for this integration. In an era of increasing rules and regulations for our clients and our own businesses, advocacy is important. For me, oftentimes when I learn of a new rule or regulation, I can see the merits of its objective. However, nearly as often, the implementation of policies and procedures in an attempt to comply with the new rule or regulation are costly at best, and often impractical particularly for small businesses. In today’s environment, strength clearly comes in numbers, and sometimes, those numbers may be called upon to help create rules with common sense derived from professionals who understand and are affected by the consequences of such rules.
This proposal is also an extension of the joint venture between the AICPA and CIMA that launched the CGMA designation in 2012. As such, AICPA members, typically in industry, were able to receive the designation based on meeting certain criteria. But more importantly, these members, often accounting managers, controllers, and CFOs from small businesses, were afforded access to resources that were not readily available to them before this joint venture was launched.
Another aspect to consider is this proposal’s potential to broaden the appeal of the accounting profession to the next generation. As an adjunct instructor at Carroll College, I regularly interact with students. When I ask my Introduction to Business class, “What do CPAs do?” most students answer, “Prepare taxes”. I enthusiastically respond, “Yes, many CPAs prepare taxes, along with other professionals who do not obtain the CPA designation. But only CPAs can perform financial statement audits!” I don’t get a lot of enthusiasm in return. It is not until I speak of the broad array of consulting services and other aspects of the accounting profession that I seem to peak their interest. Thus, I believe that this new association will help broaden the appeal of our profession to students today, which may help encourage them to seek employment in accounting-related jobs, and once there, they will be able to realize their career goals and dreams.