The International Federation of Accountants wants accountant organizations to partner together more widely and share their success stories and best practices.

Last week, IFAC released guidance on how professional accountancy organizations can partner with one another to strengthen the accounting profession around the world. The paper, Counting on Each Other: Establishing & Maintaining Effective PAO Partnerships, aims to improve collaboration among organizations that all too often are rivals. It includes suggestions on various ways for accounting organizations to team up, including long-term twinning arrangements, fixed-term donor-funded projects, and other partnerships that can be either formal or informal, such as for training accountants.

The profession already has a number of such arrangements, of course. IFAC itself serves as the umbrella organization for "member bodies" around the world, including the American Institute of CPAs and the Institute of Management Accountants in the U.S. The AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants recently approved plans to create an international association of their members. The IMA and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants frequently collaborate on research initiatives. The Center for Audit Quality partners with Financial Executives International, the Institute of Internal Auditors and the National Association of Corporate Directors on the Anti-Fraud Collaboration.

But there is also a lot of competition among various groups eager to attract as many accountants as they can get in their membership, along with some turf battles that play out year after year. With its new guidance, IFAC hopes to convince more accounting trade associations across the globe to work together and share their knowledge for the good of the profession.