Call for a unified accounting body in Zim

Phillimon Mhlanga

Zimbabwe’s largest and oldest professional accountancy body, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ) has described the accounting industry in Zimbabwe as “too fragmented” and called for a merger of the numerous local accounting bodies.

Delivering his valedictory speech, Martin Makaya, the immediate past president of ICAZ, said the move would allow the profession to be “effective in the public domain”.

He was speaking at the institute’s centenary congress in the resort town of Victoria Falls last week, which attracted more than 400 delegates.

Makaya cited influence that a single larger body would hold when discussing accounting issues with government, regulators and standard setters.

The proposed merger means all of the eight professional accounting bodies in Zimbabwe will join forces, uniting 4 329 accountants.

Of that figure, ICAZ’s membership currently stands at 2 236 while the Chartered Secretaries and Administration has 908 members, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (682) , Certified Public Accountants (117), the Institute of Tax Accountants (117), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (115), Institute of Administration and Commerce (84) and Southern Africa Association of Accountants (70). The merger or consolidation of accounting bodies requires approval of various bodies. Makaya said ICAZ has already started the processing towards merging of local accounting bodies. Representatives from several professional accounting bodies attended the ICAZ congress in Victoria Falls last week.

“The observation is that the accounting profession in Zimbabwe urgently needs consolidation,” Makaya said.

Similar mergers have already taken place in other countries. Canada, for example has brought together Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Certified Management Accountants of Canada to form the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

The deal was done to allow them to meet the evolving needs of accountants and the business community as a whole.

Recently, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, one of the UK’s largest accountancy bodies began potential merger discussions. The plan, however, failed to come to fruition, as the three institutes were unable to find a common ground that members could agree on.

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