Finance: Merger 'will give charity finance specialists a clearer voice'

Mathew Little

A proposed new body for accountants will lead to a stronger voice for charity finance specialists, especially volunteers, it has been claimed.

Members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy voted on a proposal to merge yesterday.

A 'yes' vote was considered highly likely as Third Sector went to press.

The move has been backed by the chairmen of both institutes' charities groups, who claimed in a joint statement that "a combined institute will be able to speak with a clearer voice on charity matters to government, to the wider profession and to the general public".

The ICAEW Charity and Voluntary Sector group includes charity finance directors, treasurers and chartered accountants working with charities. It has 1,400 members.

Chairman Peter Gotham said that a merged body would be better able to deal with the increased bureaucracy and risk affecting accountants involved with charities, especially on a voluntary basis.

The number of audit firms and therefore specialists working with charities was falling, he claimed, giving more responsibility to volunteers.

"Increasing professionalism is being forced on a more wary potential audience," he said. "We are interested in helping people rise to the challenge."

Gotham's views were backed by Chris Harris, chairman of Cipfa Charities.

He said: "The proposed integration offers us the opportunity to bring the strengths of both institutes together.

"Technical support to members working in the sector, those with audit responsibilities or those acting in a voluntary capacity as trustees or independent examiners should improve."

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