3 Oct 2013

Australian accounting body tries to poach NZ members

7:50 am on 3 October 2013

Accounting body CPA Australia is trying to poach members off its rival group in New Zealand by offering free membership for more than a year.

The drive comes as members of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) vote on a proposed merger with their Australian counterpart to form a new trans-Tasman group, called One New Institute.

The merger needs a yes vote from just over half of New Zealand's 33,700 members and 67% of about 60,000 Australian members.

However, rival body CPA Australia, which has only 1000 members in New Zealand, says it wants to give accountants another option.

Chief executive Alex Malley says those who switch would forgo paying about $800 in fees.

He says CPA Australia conceded that there may be a number of NZICA members who may want to look at an alternative option to merging the two organisations.

"So because we're long established in New Zealand and because we've committed to relationships and to servicing the profession in New Zealand, we thought the timing of that was right."

Mr Malley says the organisation thought accountants could make a better informed decision if the offer was available now.

He says CPA Australia is a very relevant organisation in New Zealand and is a globally relevant brand.

Mr Malley says he hopes NZICA members will consider joining the Australian group as a viable option.

NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants chairman Graeme Crombie says he is not concerned by the rival offer.

He says an explanatory memorandum from the new institute shows the organisation's fees will drop by about 19% for a standard chartered accountant member if the institute goes ahead.

Mr Crombie says the results of the merger vote will be announced in early November.