CIMA’s ex global president, Aubrey Joachim, believes some professional accounting bodies are guilty of doing “the same thing over and over again” despite the changing financial landscape.
“There was a time and a place when one needed to be part of a professional body to be an accountant but today the next generation of organisations are looking for a professional who adds more value than preparing a set of accounts,” Mr Joachim told Accountants Daily.
“The accounting bodies keep doing the same thing over and over again. They are not teaching members to think differently, to think creatively.
“Today, employers are not looking for someone who has three letters after their name; they are instead looking for someone who has a track record of having done things in organisations.”
Mr Joachim says that while he is not opposed to the professional accounting bodies, they need to rethink their strategy in engaging their members or risk losing out on membership revenue altogether.
“I am very concerned people will ask themselves in the future why they are continuing to pay,” said Mr Joachim.
“Very frankly, many accountants do not even keep their qualifications updated. I run training programs and how often do you think members come for CPD events? They don't but they just keep paying their fees to say they are a CPA or a CA or a CIMA member.
“What should an accounting body do to make it more attractive to keep the person informed? This is where employers are beginning to challenge the accounting fraternity about what they can offer beyond the number crunching.”
The NSW-based accountant who led the charge against CPA Australia last year, Brett Stevenson, similarly raised these questions with Accountants Daily earlier this month.
Mr Stevenson is concerned that corporate governance weaknesses of some Australian professional associations will diminish the impact of professional designations.
Despite renewing his CPA Australia membership this year, he would consider terminating it next year.
“I’m not so sure memberships have the power they once did,” he said.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.