The American Institute of CPAs plans to e-mail out ballots to CPAs the week of April 18, immediately after tax season, to vote on a proposal to set up an Association of International CPAs in partnership with the London-based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

The proposal would create a new association representing the entire accounting profession, while preserving the AICPA and CIMA membership bodies. The organizations would integrate operations to strengthen advocacy and have more agility in responding to evolving member needs. AICPA members will have until 5 p.m. ET, June 16, to vote on the proposal.

The AICPA issued the proposal last November and it has since received support from 51 state CPA societies and many firm and finance leaders (see AICPA Proposes New Association with CIMA). The AICPA Board of Directors and Governing Council have both recommended approval of the proposal. While the proposed association was not given a specific name, the joint venture created by the institute and CIMA in 2011 is called the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, which is posted on a sign outside the AICPA headquarters in New York City.

The AICPA and CIMA have partnered since January 2012 on offering a Chartered Global Management Accountant credential as part of the joint venture. “Our profession is strong today because of its history of anticipating and adapting to market changes,” said AICPA chairman Tim Christen in a statement. “This is a next step in that evolution to maintain the profession’s relevance far into the future and keep our core values of quality, competency and integrity at the center of the financial system.”

The AICPA said it would continue to promote, protect and grow the CPA, with AICPA members continuing to receive all their current benefits. The new association would build upon those member benefits and represent more than 600,000 professional accountants, strengthening advocacy on a wide spectrum of issues. The institute said the proposal would provide a stronger defense against regulations that burden businesses and do not protect the public interest. It would power expanded resources across public and management accounting to keep members ahead of emerging issues.

Members of the AICPA will receive personal, confidential ballots the week of April 18 from a third-party vote administrator under the name “AICPA Independent Tabulator.” CIMA members will be asked to endorse the proposal on a similar timeline.

During a speech in January in New York at a meeting of the Accountants Club of America, AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon explained the partnership (see AICPA Takes on IRS and Expands Internationally).

“We’re actually engaging our membership right now to integrate AICPA and CIMA from a strategy, operations and management perspective so that we would create a different type of voice on a global stage, a 600,000-member global organization to speak about the profession,” said Melancon. “It’s not a merger per se. In associations, you don’t typically do true mergers like you would in a corporate. It’s an integration of strategy, operations and management. Our members will be asked to vote on that in the spring after tax season.”

Melancon explained that the new association would be a plus, particularly for younger accountants. “It is important for the next generation,” he said. “About 36 percent of next-generation accountants believe that they should have the opportunity and want to have the opportunity to work overseas for some part of their career. It is also important from the footprint perspective as it relates to business and industry versus public practice.”

More information on the proposal is available at www.aicpa.org/horizons.