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September 2, 2012

Accounting profession must work on public value perception, warns ACCA

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 gap, 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.”


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