The United Kingdom-based Institute of Financial Accountants is joining together with Australia’s Institute of Public Accountants to form one of the largest professional accounting organizations in the world dedicated to small and midsize firms.

The IFA, which boasts 9,000 members and students, has agreed on terms to amalgamate with Australia’s IPA, with its 26,000 members. Both Institutes focus on the accounting and taxation reporting needs of small and midsize accounting practices and businesses.

Both organizations plan to preserve their autonomy and brands, but the amalgamation is expected to provide them with a more powerful voice for their members and the sector globally.

The IFA brand will continue to operate as part of the IPA Group, which will have a worldwide membership, including students, of over 35,000 across more than 80 countries.

IFA members are being asked to endorse the proposal in a vote scheduled for mid-December.

“This agreement will bring three key benefits: greater efficiency, greater effectiveness and greater value for members,” said IFA Council chair Catherine Chamberlain in a statement. “We in the IFA acknowledge that we need to secure stepped growth in our membership numbers and enhancement of our current operating model to give us a leading role as the voice both of the SME and of the small and medium-sized professional practice. To help us achieve this long-held strategic goal, we need to join forces with a credible, like-minded, dynamic accountancy body that shares our vision to lead the profession globally and to have a lasting impact on the professional careers of our members long into the future. The IFA Council strongly believes in this strategic direction and fully commends it to IFA members for approval.”

The results of the vote are expected to be announced in mid-December. Following ratification by the membership, the target date for legal completion is Dec. 31, 2014.

“We are excited that the coming together of the IPA and IFA will culminate in a managed and structured transition which will drive member value and achieve substantial efficiencies,” said IPA president and chairman Jason Parker. “We see this amalgamation as a development which will enhance both the public interest and the accountancy profession globally.”

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