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Making Professional Mergers Successful Presentation to the College of AB Professional Foresters June 19, 2014 John Carpenter MBA, FCGA, ICD.D CEO Alberta.

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Presentation on theme: "Making Professional Mergers Successful Presentation to the College of AB Professional Foresters June 19, 2014 John Carpenter MBA, FCGA, ICD.D CEO Alberta."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making Professional Mergers Successful Presentation to the College of AB Professional Foresters June 19, 2014 John Carpenter MBA, FCGA, ICD.D CEO Alberta Accountants Unification Agency One Profession’s Experience

2  Why did Canada’s three accounting designations decide to merge?  The process  Challenges  Things we’ve learned  Defining success Presentation Overview

3  Extensive discussions and failures, in Canada and elsewhere, over many years  In May 2011, Canada’s CAs and CMAs announced their intention to unify under the CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) banner.  Nationally CGAs joined the unification process later  But professions are provincially regulated and in Alberta, CGAs lead their national body into the merger – welcome to Canada! Merger Process

4  Eliminates marketplace confusion over differences between the designations.  Strengthens international influence of profession and the people who rely on us (clients)  Helps recruit to the profession.  Reduces inefficiencies in governance and administration.  Scale  Strengthens ability to serve members.  Member relevance Why Merge?

5 Keys to a successful process:  Work from a common set of merger principles  Consult and communicate with members  Lead members – you must ask BUT they are looking for you to tell  Respect the importance of history/legacies  Be decisive – don’t be deterred by naysayers  The status quo will resist The Process

6 What the accounting profession did:  Extensive member communications and town halls  Responded quickly, aggressively & positively to misinformation  Used member polling to identify issues, and assigned qualified teams to resolve those issues.  Set up leadership groups that incorporated all parties.  Identified “champions” within the membership The Process

7 What the accounting profession did:  Stayed focused on our stakeholders – including the public interest  Ensured standards of education and competency would be maintained.  Exploited and shared best practices  We can do better than the current standards  Kept government informed.  Negotiated protocols and agreements that codify each party’s commitments. The Process

8 Alberta Accountants Unification Agency has taken shape!  Transitional body designed to become CPA Alberta  Prepare for the responsibility we are seeking  Be ready when they hand you the keys  Vital in rebranding, establishing new organization, liaising with government and with national counterparts. The Process

9 Unification Agency Achievements to date:  2014/15 strategic plan, budget and business plan in place  Transitional management structure in place  Merged work:  Business development/recruiting  Education  Regulatory (Practice review, discipline)  Communications, marketing, public relations, government relations  IT  CPA Life: services to members, events  Corporate Services  Premises planning The Process

10 Other achievements to date:  Post-secondary institutions on-board and delivering CPA pre-requisites  New national CPA education program (PEP) introduced in Alberta in fall 2013  “PREP” bridging program introduced for degree-holders who don’t have CPA prerequisites  Legislative timeline in place for 2014 The Process

11 The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces. Will Rogers Challenges

12  Not everyone arrives at the same point at the same time.  All changes involve some loss, and a merger is a major change.  Opponents will attempt to create obstacles.  You can get buried in the paperwork and process BUT good paper makes good partners. Invest seriously up front  Staff cultures are real and entrenched  Employment threats or risks (real or perceived) will create challenges  And volunteers will worry about their fate too Challenges

13  Move on consolidation quickly. Get ahead of barriers and naysayers  Build and maintain trust at staff, member, governance levels  Members can “get there” first and lose patience  Honour what is being lost (old designation, old affiliations, etc.). It’s about the future!  Build a leadership team built on talent, not old arrangements.  Commit to listening to your opponents, but not giving in to them.  Move quickly on disinformation – vacuums will be filled by someone  Keep an open mind, and be flexible in recognizing changing landscape. Things We’ve Learned

14  Know your stakeholders and keep them engaged.  Members  Government of Alberta  Employers of your members  Industry sectors  Post-secondary sector  Counterparts in other provinces  Other regulated professions  Who really cares besides you – confront the brutal facts  It’s NOT the best of the merging bodies – it’s the best period!  Stay alert to hidden takeovers while in transition Things We’ve Learned

15  You need to communicate regularly and openly with members.  Keep your eyes on the prize; don’t be tempted by those parking spots along the way to your destination.  Develop a thick skin.  Stay focused on what’s important to achieving success, and do your best to ignore the noise.  Find and follow the true believers  Delineate the governance, staff and working roles early and well  Transition to new roles and structures in a clear orderly way  When you stop promoting legacy brands you must promote the new one Things We’ve Learned

16 The accounting profession will achieve success in unification if the final goals are met:  GOA passes and proclaims legislation.  Member support stays high.  Members find relevance  New CPA designation is embraced by stakeholders.  Employer and client needs are met.  Recruitment into profession stays high.  New unified regulatory and member services body meets mandate while achieving efficiencies. Defining Success


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