Brexit to have ‘positive impact’ on accountancy profession

The UK’s exit from the European Union will have a “positive impact” on the accountancy profession, according to nearly half of MPs in a study commissioned by the AAT and ACCA.

47% of MPs said that Brexit would be positive for accountants as they can advise clients on the implications of leaving the EU. Only 23% thought that Brexit did not “represent a good opportunity for accountancy”, while 25% were uncertain.

The study also found that 55% of MPs believed that EU tax legislation should be reviewed immediately, rather than waiting until Brexit has taken place. Only 18% of MPs disagreed.

John Williams, head of ACCA said: “It is good to see that MPs are confident that the accountants will rise to the challenge posed to business by the uncertainties of Brexit. Yet it is even more important that politicians recognise the value the accountancy profession can bring to the UK economy as it enters one of its most profoundly important periods since the Second World War.”

The study also probed the issue of passporting rights, which allow UK companies to provide financial services within the EEA. 40% of MPs agreed that securing alternative arrangements for companies holding passporting rights was “essential”, but 29% of MPs disagreed. 25% of MPs were uncertain about the issue.

Mark Farrar, chief executive of AAT said: “Many of the ramifications of Brexit remain unclear, especially around issues such as passporting rights, tax, compliance and the general impact on business.

“However, amongst all this uncertainty it is very clear that accountants have a valuable role to play in advising clients on the tax and financial implications of our EU withdrawal. We have recognised this and these results show that large numbers of politicians recognise this too.”

Williams added: “From re-negotiating trade deals to developing policies which can help businesses thrive in a globalised 21st century, the strategic insight and analytical rigour of accountants will be integral to providing politicians and the civil service with the information they need. MPs need to be fully aware that the world-class status of our financial services will be a vital resource in securing the best deal for UK plc.”

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