A new international accounting association proposed by the American institute of CPAs and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants was overwhelmingly approved in separate votes by the organizations' members.

Of the 56,560 AICPA members who voted, the vast majority (48,945, or 86.5 percent) approved the proposal, according to the independent tabulator, Survey and Ballot Systems. Only 7,615, or 13.5 percent, voted against. Roughly 15 percent of institute voting membership participated in the vote; according to sources familiar with similar votes in membership organizations of similar size, that's much higher than the usual average of around 11 percent.

An even higher percentage of CIMA members who voted (89.7 percent) approved the proposal, according to their independent tabulator, Electoral Reform Services. Balloting ended on June 16.

The new association aims to represent some 600,000 accountants around the world, but will preserve the individual membership bodies and benefits of the AICPA and CIMA.

Work to create the new association is expected to begin immediately, with the expectation of a launch in 2017. All members of the AICPA and CIMA will have automatic dual membership in the association for no additional dues.

"CPAs have a long history of acknowledging and staying ahead of the trends that shape our profession and the environment we do business in," said AICPA chair Tim Christen in a statement. "This will benefit CPAs and CGMAs and the entire accounting profession worldwide."

"In developing this proposal, we were careful to structure commitments to CPA and CGMA, CIMA and AICPA and public practice and management accounting," said AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon in a statement. "We are excited about crafting a path forward that reflects how the world is changing. At the same time, we will be extraordinarily mindful of protecting our collective history and the strong reputation both organizations have built over the past century. This is about building on what is great - and addressing an exciting evolving world."

The AICPA and CIMA have been involved in a joint venture that began in 2011, and launched the Chartered Global Management Accountant designation in 2012.

"Our current joint venture with the AICPA has been extremely successful, so we are evolving this partnership," CIMA chief executive officer Charles Tilley said in a statement. "In doing so, we will support our members and students further, which means both greater resources and the weight of a larger organization behind them."

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

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