It's now a week since the announcement that NZICA will merge with its trans-Tasman equivalent, the ICAA.
I have been quite amazed at the lack of reaction in the media or online. Tumbleweeds are making more noise. Or was the party so huge that we have gone offline for a week to recover?
Maybe it's that as accountants we felt so removed from the process and we’re too busy doing our jobs to bother to read a 132 page (yes!) Explanatory Memorandum to become informed; or has the Institute become so irrelevant to our lives as accountants that we just don’t care?
Some points to ponder in the post-merger party hangover:
- Have we missed something in the pre-vote wooing? That in the eager rush to vote for lower fees, NZICA members might have just signed away their ‘voice’? Have we now lost our ability to have the best insight into business in New Zealand? Or had NZICA already lost that anyway?
- How can NZICA Chairman Graham Crombie say that there is a “clear mandate for change” when only 11,747 voted ‘Yes’ but the remaining 21,000 odd members either voted ‘No’ or didn’t vote? Why did over 40% of the membership not even bother to vote?*
- Both sides of the Tasman reported losses in the last year (NZICA $1.8 million $NZ; ICAA $3.5million $AUD). Is it any wonder that they pushed so hard to merge and to gain “economies of scale”? Was there ever an alternative?
- Shouldn’t we be concerned about being members of an accounting body (either separate or merged) that can’t at least break even? Is this a sign that perhaps it is out of touch with its membership?
- Has NZICA and ICAA handed CPA Australia a golden ticket? Is there now a clear difference between the two, with the merged body being stronger with professional firms, and CPA Australia with commerce?
- With massive competition looming for accounting body membership in the future, have NZICA just lost the main thing they had going for them – their name and historical strength?
- Do we care? Is it relevant? Had NZICA lost your voice before this point, so it just didn’t matter? Do you have post-voting blues? Post-voting elation?
- Is anyone out there?
*From NZ Herald Article 1.11.13 by Ben Chapman-Smith, which states that of the 16,876 members who bothered to vote, 69.61% of those (therefore 11,747 people) voted ‘yes’. The article goes on to state that NZICA has 33,000 members.