Craig Norgate: Merger plan promises added value for number crunchers

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Craig Norgate, chief executive, Liz Hickey, president and Graham Crombie, chairman, of the New Zealand Institute Of Chartered Accountants. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Craig Norgate, chief executive, Liz Hickey, president and Graham Crombie, chairman, of the New Zealand Institute Of Chartered Accountants. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Change is a constant in the business community and it's no different in the professions that support our businesses.

The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants has released the detail of a proposal to create a new institute by merging with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.

The new institute proposal is focused upon one thing - ensuring that its members are seen as the trusted leaders in business and finance. This vision is underpinned by three strategic pillars: The pre-eminence of the chartered accountant (CA) designation.

The relevance of the new institute to its members regardless of where they are in their careers.

The reach the new institute will have to influence the wider business environment.

Globalisation of markets and regulatory regimes, and the need to embrace technology and innovation, are just some of the underlying factors underpinning the proposal. Changing demographics see both an ageing and more diverse membership that creates far wider demand for services.

A transtasman institute gives us the capacity and scale to provide education and training programmes that compete with the best qualifications on offer globally, and to ensure they are accessible anywhere in the world.

The new institute will aim to be the leader in business education, building upon its recently launched online entry programme, with a lifelong learning programme that is relevant to members regardless of their career stage.

To achieve this the new institute will partner with universities, business schools and competitors, to ensure education programmes that are often only available in the Northern Hemisphere are accessible to its members.

The merger is also a response to on-going consolidation of the profession which has seen a mega-merger of 90 per cent of the accounting bodies in Canada, and a recent announcement that institutes in 10 Asean nations are going to collaborate on international issues.

The new institute will have the critical mass to be a leading voice in the development of the profession internationally sitting alongside our Global Accounting Alliance partners in Britain and the United States.

However, the biggest impact will be the capability the new institute will have to be the leading transtasman voice for business. With 100,000 members serving millions of businesses on both sides of the Tasman, it will take the lead on making closer economic relations (CER) a reality.

Whilst CER is now in its 30th year it has struggled to achieve any real progress in simplifying anything other than tariffs.

Many members have rightly raised the concern about this just being another Aussie takeover. That's certainly not the case - this is not just a proposal for a merger between NZICA and ICAA.

We're not interested in forcing two 100-year-old bodies together to create one big older-style institute. Instead, we've starting with a clean slate, designing a new transtasman institute that will meet the needs of business for the next generation.

Members on both sides of the Tasman will be considering the proposed new institute over the coming months.

NZICA is holding road shows in 31 centres in New Zealand and a further eight in Britain, Asia and Australia. If members like what they hear a vote will be held in October and the new institute would be in place early next year.

It's a proposal that should excite the business community - because the new institute certainly will.


Craig Norgate is the chief executive of New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.

- NZ Herald

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