Most members of the Global
Accounting Alliance are looking closely at a new partnership
between the Australian and New Zealand CA institutes, Institute of
Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA) chief executive Graham
Meyer has claimed.

As part of the GAA – which
encompasses the world’s most well-established CA institutes – the
ICAA and New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA)
have often talked about collaboration. They have also collaborated
with other GAA members at different levels.

But Meyer said the ICAA’s
arrangement with the NZICA is broader ranging than any previous

There are four work streams the two
institutes will focus most closely on:

  • Collaborating on the CA
  • Further development of member
    products and services;
  • Joint marketing activities;
  • Shared IT systems to provide new
    or enhanced online member services and benefits.

An example how the collaboration
will work is the ICAA recently overhauled its entire IT system. The
NZICA also needs to do this, so the two organisations will
investigate what synergies can be achieved in terms of buying power
and architecture.

“A good example is the new website
that we are launching,” Meyer explains. “Essentially, New Zealand
has picked up all the technology behind our website and they will
just put different skins on it in terms of their colours. The
framework and the development will be identical. We will be able to
extend that into most of the other systems we are developing.”

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The ICAA will not change the
content of its programme, but change the instructional design.

“We will be using a lot more web, a
lot more podcast, a lot more online tutorial help,” Meyer said.

The institutes are also looking at
the possibility of having a single programme in the future.

Building the

A key objective of the partnership is to work towards ensuring
the CA qualification is the most favoured professional designation
for accountants within the Asia-Pacific region.

Many of the ICAA’s competitors,
such as CPA Australia, have more focus on training students and
recruiting members abroad. Although the ICAA does have some
regional involvement, its main focus is on Australia.

Meyer said the new partnership with
the NZICA is “absolutely” a way for the more local institutes to
extend their reach and influence more broadly.

“I think more and more institutes
will need to maintain a domestic focus but our customers – our
members – are moving and dealing overseas and therefore we need to
provide services for them as well,” Meyer explained.

“Certainly with New Zealand, they
obviously have a large interest in Asia as well and it gives us the
opportunity to strengthen the CA brand and the opportunity to help
build capability in the region.”

Meyer predicts this type of
partnership is the way forward for professional accountancy bodies
in the future global environment.

“If you look at the Big Four firms,
for example, they started off collaborating on a global level and
you get to someone like E&Y now, which is a global firm. I
think there is that opportunity, certainly among the GAA members,
for us to collaborate a lot more strongly with a governance
framework that ensures that it gets delivered.”

A key part of the ICAA and NZICA
partnership has been the creation of a common governance board that
will oversee the projects the two institutes are collaborating

“Each national board will still
have responsibility for its own members and I think that sort of
model will become more common around the world,” Meyer

Meyer said he knows of no other
professional accountancy bodies that have a similar joint
governance board in place, but that within the GAA, most of the
members are looking very closely at it.

Close ties

Meyer said the ICAA and NZICA partnership makes particular sense
due to the close relationship between the Australian and New
Zealand governments, businesses and economies.

“Both governments have come out and
said they are seeking greater collaboration between professional
services, accounting standards and so on,” Meyer explains. “So,
this fits in with government policy, but more importantly, it fits
in with the interests of our members.”