Accounting profession must ‘educate the public
and its stakeholders of its value and take steps to rebuild trust
in the industry’ or risk loosing creditability, warns the
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

An ACCA report, Closing the value
, found that as the role of the accountant has evolved in
line with changing regulation and business law, a perception gap
between the profession and the public when it comes to the issue of
trust has emerged.

The report found three quarters of accountants
consider themselves trustworthy in the public eye while only 55% of
the public exhibit a level of trust to accountants; a 25%
discrepancy indicating the gap between how the industry perceives
itself and what the public actually thinks.

“2012 has been the year of questioning trust
among the professions and institutions once held in high regard,”
ACCA’s chief executive Helen Brand said. “And the accountancy
profession has not been immune from this questioning and neither
should it be.”

The results also show that doctors, nurses,
architects and engineers are held in higher esteem than
accountants, but bankers, politicians and lawyers are held in lower
opinion than accountants.

Only 22% of the 261 accountants surveyed
worldwide said they prioritise the best interests of the public
when making decisions while 85% agreed that accountancy as a
profession should be doing more to improve its overall image.

Brand concluded the clear message from the
report was “public value should be at the heart of what the
profession offers.”