AICPA, CIMA Joint Venture Would Offer New Management Accounting Designation

The AICPA and the London-based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) are proposing forming a joint venture to develop and promote a new global management accounting designation. The joint venture is designed to give management accounting a higher profile in the United States, advance the science of management accounting worldwide, and promote the U.S. CPA designation as a worldwide standard of professional excellence in accounting, according to a press release from the organizations.


The AICPA, founded in 1887, is the world’s largest association representing the accounting profession, with nearly 370,000 members in 128 countries. CIMA, founded in 1919, is the world’s largest professional body of management accountants, with 183,000 members and students in 168 countries. The proposed joint venture would combine the strength of the AICPA in North America with CIMA’s footprint in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and elsewhere. Together, the organizations represent more than 550,000 members and students.


“This joint venture would help produce and recognize professionals around the world committed to excellence in management accounting, enterprise and performance strategy,” AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon said in a press release.


“This agreement would give CIMA and AICPA truly global reach," said CIMA President George Glass. “The new venture would have an unrivaled depth of resources to meet the needs of both organizations and their individual members around the world.”


The pathways for obtaining the new credential would vary. Recognizing the significant educational and professional background of U.S. CPAs, AICPA voting members with at least three years working in management accounting or a financial management role would qualify for an accelerated route to obtaining the new designation. Non-voting AICPA members in the United States would not be eligible to obtain the credential.


CIMA Chief Executive Charles Tilley said: “Management accountants provide the expertise and information that enable organizations to make business-critical decisions. Professionals who earn the new designation will have achieved proficiency and leadership in management accounting.”


The proposal will be vetted through the AICPA’s governance process. It has been reviewed by the AICPA Board of Directors, which approved advancing the proposal to the Institute’s regional Council meetings this month to gain input.


The initiative is subject to approval by the governing bodies of both organizations and will be voted on separately by the CIMA and AICPA councils in May, according to the press release. If approved, the joint venture would launch in 2012.


Under the terms of the proposed agreement, CIMA and the AICPA would create a nonprofit joint venture called the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. The AICPA would own 60% of the entity; CIMA would own 40%; and the board of directors would be split evenly between the organizations, with CIMA and the AICPA rotating in the role of chairman.


Both the AICPA and CIMA would continue to exist as stand-alone membership organizations. The joint venture would authorize issuance of the designation on behalf of each membership organization. The joint venture is intended to become self-supporting within three years.


Approximately 45% of AICPA members practice in business, industry or government. The Institute’s Business and Industry Executive Committee has long supported some form of recognition to further underscore the unique competencies of CPAs working in business. The AICPA said it used a long-standing decision-tree model developed by the National Accreditation Commission to assess whether to build such a designation in-house. Based on the analysis, the preferred option was to form an accreditation alliance, and CIMA was identified as the most credible partner, given it is already recognized for issuing world-leading designations in management accounting. The proposal aims to fulfill AICPA strategic objectives related to serving the public interest through activities driven by a deep commitment to ongoing professional competency development and advancing the U.S. CPA worldwide.


“This joint venture is an important step in advancing our ongoing efforts to further enhance the worldwide awareness of the U.S. CPA,” Melancon said, “while creating a global value proposition for our members in business and industry.”


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