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June 27, 2013

US profession eyes international expansion

New Orleans: The Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) signed by the US Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) at IMA’s annual conference in New Orleans this week reflects a trend towards the internationalisation of the US accounting profession.

The two professional bodies said that one year after the launch of the global partnership, IMA and ACCA, are strengthening their bonds with the MRA, which will contribute not only to the integration of the US profession abroad, but to the consolidation of ACCA members in the US.

The MRA gives respective credentials holders a flexible route to each other certification, IMA chief executive Jeff Thomson told The Accountant.

"I myself now have, as a US based CMA holder, more flexible access to ACCA’s credential. Based on a rigorous review, I’ve now got access to a world renowned credential that increases my value as a professional."

Thomson adds that in the current competitive environment, solid credentials are a differentiator that certifies competences and ultimately forms "stronger accountants who create more ethical and healthier organisations".

Both institutes said they complement each other as IMA is primarily focused in managerial accounting and based in the US, but with an increasing membership abroad.

ACCA has a broader curriculum and is more focused on financial rather than managerial accounting. Geographically ACCA is the largest accounting institute globally by membership but with a lower presence in the US.

"With this agreement we now have around 160,000 members who can potentially become members of IMA; by the same token IMA has 68,000 people who can potentially become ACCA members anywhere in the world," ACCA president Barry Cooper told The Accountant.

No merger plans

At IMA, there is no intention to go beyond a supportive partnership with ACCA. Thomson said: "There is no need to consider a merger or a joint venture because we have demonstrated to employers, to students and to society in general that we can deliver value for the profession with our unique identities but shared ideas."

This view is shared by ACCA and Cooper confirmed there are no plans to combine both organisations.

"The next step is to work closer together in certain areas of thought leadership because this area of research is pretty expensive and you get a better research when you bring in a partner such as the IMA. There will also be more professional development opportunities both in the US and wherever we operate," Cooper said.

According to Thomson the MRA is part of a broader strategy with ACCA aimed at promoting financial leadership among students, aspiring to take CFO roles.

ACCA and IMA agreement comes over a year after the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) launched a joint venture with a common designation called Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).


Related articleACCA , IMA sign Mutual Recognition Agreement

Related linksInstitute of Management AccountantsAssociation of Chartered Certified Accountants

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