CIMA and AICPA have announced they are in the process of creating a joint non-profit joint venture, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, which is intended to promote the U.S. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualification as a worldwide standard in public accounting.
The step, which requires ratification from the institutes’ respective governing bodies, will combine the reach of the AICPA in North America with CIMA’s presence in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and elsewhere.
The joint venture will promote a new professional accounting designation with new designatory letters, which will be announced in due course. If ratified, existing CIMA members will retain their current “FCMA” or “ACMA” letters after their names, or alternatively, they will have the option to use these as appropriate in conjunction with the new designation.
The agreement is subject to approval by governing bodies of both organisations and will be voted on separately by both the CIMA and AICPA Councils in May.
AICPA Chairman Paul Stahlin said: “If approved, this joint venture promises to create long-term strategic value for our members and the companies they work for.”
The new venture will cover 550,000 members and students worldwide. CIMA is the largest professional body in the world, focused exclusively on management accounting, and the AICPA is the world’s largest professional accounting organisation, with members in accounting and financial executive roles.
Under the terms of the proposed agreement, the partnership will be reflected in equal decision making through a 50:50 board of directors with CIMA and AICPA rotating the role of chairman and the new joint venture will be 60 percent owned by the AICPA. CIMA chief executive Charles Tilley and AICPA President and chief executive Barry Melancon will each have management roles in both the CIMA and AICPA to ensure coordination.
The pathways for obtaining the new designatory letters will vary. For U.S.-accredited CPAs, AICPA voting members working in management accounting or a financial management role for three years or more will qualify for an accelerated route to obtaining the new designation. Non-voting AICPA members will enter a rigorous training programme through their employer or on their own consistent with that undertaken by other people studying for the CIMA professional qualification and in membership.
The new designation will be issued by the joint venture on behalf of the AICPA and CIMA, with the membership remaining with the two existing bodies.
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