NHS finance managers could find themselves subject to a new professional accountancy body if proposals put forward by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants get the go-ahead.

ACCA took other accountancy organisations by surprise last week with a pre-emptive bid to set up a body that would take in the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Its proposals would mean a new organisation of 120,000 members and 200,000 students, with separate divisions for business, public practice and public sector under a single council.

But a CIPFA spokesperson said this week that ACCA had been 'premature' in going public with its ideas. 'The idea of restructuring is consistent with CIPFA's aims, but there are some fundamental principles to be addressed before merger discussions can be held,' she said.

ACCA's 'vision document', Working Together for the Future, can be found at www.merger.org.