ACCC not concerned by key accounting bodies' merger

18 August 1998
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has decided that there are no competition concerns associated with the proposed merger between the Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.

'The ACCC believes a merger between the Society and the Institute is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any relevant market including those for the provision of accounting services,' ACCC Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, said today.

'Presently there is no restriction on the use of the term 'accountant' in the selling of accounting services and indeed members of the two bodies face increasing competition from a range of other service providers including lawyers, book keepers, management consultants and from the sale and use of accounting software packages.'

The ACCC understands that if the merger is accepted by the membership of the two associations, the merged entity intends to adopt common procedures for accreditation and to establish uniform membership fee structures over time.

Moreover, it appears that the unification of the two accounting bodies to form the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants in Australia should enable the new body to better represent the interests of the Australian accounting profession both in Australia and internationally.

'Recently, there has been a reduction in the barriers to trade in accounting services which should facilitate increased trade in accounting services on an international level. In this context, a more uniform representation and accreditation of professional accountants in Australia has clear benefits in terms of mutual international recognition and in terms of promoting Australia's trade in services,' Professor Fels said.

'As a general principle, the ACCC encourages the amalgamation and rationalisation of professional services associations where those associations represent members with substantially the same sets of skills and qualifications. This merger, if it proceeds, would be a welcome development in terms of simplifying the representation and accreditation of a significant group of professional service providers in Australia.'
Release number: 
MR 158/98
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