Three provincial accountants’ associations have voluntarily merged into one professional organization.
The Society of Certified Management Accountants of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Certified General Accountants Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Newfoundland and Labrador (ICANL) recently agreed to unify under the Chartered Professional Accountants designation, bringing together more than 2,000 members and students in the province.
Keith Minaker, CEO of the ICANL, said it’s a significant development for the accounting industry in the province. “It makes the profession stronger in the province, for sure. The fact that the three bodies are going to have common regulatory processes, common standards, and common education programs. We all did the same kind of work. We just had a different designation behind us. ...
“You don’t have three branches of lawyers. You have the law profession, and you may or may not specialize under the legal profession, and accountants are no different.”
The associations are now in the process of beginning the merger, which requires provincial legislation. When the unification is complete, said Minaker, clients won’t notice a difference in services.
“Eventually, when it does happen, when legislation is passed — and again, the change won’t happen until there’s legislation — they’ll see a different name on a door. They may see ‘Joe Accountant, CPA,’ instead of whatever the designation was before, but they won’t see much of a difference.”
Minaker said it’s not the first time the organizations have tried to unify. With this successful effort the result of a “solid commitment.” It’s the first voluntary three-way merger in the industry in Canada, he said.
“There was one in Quebec, but it was put together by the government. They were mandated by the government to unify,” he said. “But in Newfoundland, in our province, we wanted it to happen. We worked really hard to get it to happen, and I think the hard work just showed up.”
Other provinces have or used to have two associations, said Minaker.
“We were the first to actually work together to do a three-way.”