Bermuda accountants unite under single umbrella organisation
There are shifting sands in the world of Bermuda’s public accountants, who have now accomplished what many said was impossible.
They have unified under one umbrella organisation, bringing together more than 820 professionals of three different accounting certifications.
The move follows a merger earlier this year by the major public accounting bodies in Canada, with whom the Bermuda organisation has been affiliated for four decades.
The changes will have far reaching implications for many across the spectrum of the profession, including employers and students seeking certification.
The move establishes common codes of professional conduct, disciplinary systems and licensing regimes. It brings a consistent regulatory framework that simplifies labour and business mobility.
And in ending the 40-year history of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bermuda (ICAB), its leaders spent two years informing members and various organisations, awaiting passage of an Act of Parliament and quietly making the new association active.
The Chartered Professional Accountants of Bermuda (CPA Bermuda) was established to support the unification of the Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified General Accountant (CGA) and the Chartered Accountant (CA) designations under one organisation in Bermuda.
The first Annual General Meeting of CPA Bermuda was held at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, where representatives from of all the accounting bodies came together to form the first elected CPA Bermuda Council, under new president and chief executive officer Annarita G Marion, JP, CA. Ms Marion held the same positions under ICAB.
She commented: “The formation of CPA Bermuda is a wonderful opportunity for all professional accountants in Bermuda to participate in the governing of the profession on the Island and ensure that high standards are maintained.”
Affiliated with the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, ICAB became the governing accounting body of Bermuda after being formed 40 years ago, last year.
Through mutual agreements among the Canadian Institute and organisations from different countries, ICAB has long been able to recognise eight other designations from different countries. That power will now be vested in CPA Bermuda, which is a member of CPA Canada.
The organisation will be continuing with unification efforts and working on the delivery of the CPA programme for students interested in becoming Chartered Professional Accountants.
There will be a special meeting later in the year to approve amended by-laws to allow for licensing of companies and individuals who provide public accounting services.
Ms Marion said there will be training changes that will need to be communicated to industry.
She said: “We have to let the employers of Bermuda know that for one to become an accountant, one no longer needs to train in the professional accounting firms, as was the traditional route.
“You can still train there, but many businesses can train a CPA student. The biggest issue will be ensuring they are getting the practical experience they need.
“One of the things we always heard from companies — especially international business — is that they give scholarships to students to become accountants. But those students have to work and train in the (accounting) firms and rarely return.
“So now, they can give out a scholarship and have a student train in their corporate culture. They can gain qualification while working in their environment, even though those firms are not public accounting firms.”
That opens another area, because previously, all CA students were required to do audit work. But that will no longer be the case with the changes.
Ms Marion said: “Everybody — all those studying to be a CA — used to do audit. It used to be required. But now under CPA you don’t have to, which is more similar to CGA/CMA training, where they typically worked in industry, but not in the public accounting firms.
“Often when you talk to students they are not very keen to go the audit route. But it opens up so many opportunities to see how different companies operate. They can make a decision down the road as to what type of industry they are best suited to.”
Elected to the first Council of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Bermuda for the 2014-2015 year are: Samantha Froud — Ace Group, Francine Mason — Rawlinson & Hunter, Philip Burrill — Ernst & Young Ltd, Chris Morris — Arthur Morris & Co, Colin Couper — KPMG, Collin Dill — XL Insurance (Bermuda) Ltd, William DeSilva Jr — Even Par Limited, Jarita Vickers — Deloitte & Touche Ltd, Michael Newton — Mazars, Shanna Lespere — Bermuda Monetary Authority, Jennifer Robinson — Validus Reinsurance Ltd, Marco Bortoli — Partner Reinsurance Company Ltd, John Kessaram — Cox Hallett Wilkinson Ltd, and Tim Marshall — Public Representative.
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