Washington D.C., USA. The integration committee tasked by IAPA and Allinial Global to explore ways to combine the two organisations has held its first meeting this week.
The meeting took place in parallel to Allinial Global International Forum held in Washington this week. "While we had a lot of meetings prior to this one, this is the first time that all members of the integration committee were present," IAPA CEO Stephen Hamlet said.
Allinial Global president Terry Snyder said talks are going very well. "On the surface 20% of it, it is easy to talk about. But then there are some things that people consider important and we have to let them know it is not," he explained." You can’t put your firm ahead of the greater good and that is the underlining part of the discussion. What is nice about having the integration team is the people we have in there are experienced at mergers and they keep reminding us all the time that we need to keep exercising judgement for the greater good of the entire organisation."
Snyder is confident that the December deadline to come up with an merger proposal for members will be met. "We came out of this meeting with four or five areas that the committee has turned to Stephen and I," he continued. "They have given us the boxes they want things in and the corners of the boxes and the size of the boxes. And now we are going to put them together, recognising that there are casualties in this: casualties of ideas and casualties of firms who might not want to be part of it. But when we are all done we will have a big and different type of organisation that is more client focus and member centric."
Hamlet was equally excited about the outcome of the meeting saying that everybody was in it for the right reasons and focused on the moto ‘client focused and member driven’.
"There are a lot of details to iron out but it is too good of an opportunity to let that slide away," he continued. "The integration committee have given us areas to look at: due structure, organisational structure, governance… and coming up with a plan to put those building blocks together which would then go back to integration committee for further discussion. But now it relies heavily on Terry and myself to put all the pieces in the right places but we work really well together."
Presentation to the membersAs part of the Allinial Global forum, chairman John Griesbeck gave an update on the organisation’s strategy an explained the motivation behind the merger talks with IAPA.
Drawing on International Accounting Bulletin’s data Griesbeck explained that Allinial Global was still very much North American focused with limited number of firms outside of the region, and that this was a great fit with IAPA who is quite weak in North America.
Hamlet then had the opportunity to introduce IAPA to the Allinial members and express his motivation to see the merger come through.
Both Griesbeck and Hamlet, in line with International Accounting Bulletin’s analysis, stated that a successful merger of the two organisation would be a huge event in the accounting world and probably a one off. Wilkins Kennedy takes dual membership
On the second day of the Forum, Snyder announced to the members that Wilkins Kennedy, Iapa’s member firm in the UK, would join Allinial Global.
"Wilkins Kennedy are joining us," Snyder told International Accounting Bulletin ahead of the announcement. "Their focus is commercial and as these discussions are going on they want to get into the system directly and become part of Allinial as well as IAPA."
This move shows the solidarity between the two associations, Hamlet commented. "we hope that will send a message to our membership that one of our biggest firm can see the benefits of the collaboration saying ‘we are embracing this so much that we actually have a joint membership right away."