PracticeConsultingOFT overlooked the obvious.

OFT overlooked the obvious.

While the Office of Fair Trading laid into lawyers last week in its report on the professions, it was relatively quiet about accountancy.

It underlined problems with the long standing 50% rule and looked at rules on advertising, changes for which are already well advanced, but otherwise concentrated its attack on barristers and solicitors.

But the OFT may have been basing its conclusions on some unreliable assumptions.

Firstly, that accountancy is diminishing as a profession because the ICAEW is not growing. If the OFT was to look at accountancy it should be looking at the whole profession.

The real worry now is whether the OFT report is a reliable document on which to base policy measures. And the whole issue of auditor independence appears to have been overlooked. The OFT states support for multi-disciplinary practices, but fails to ask obvious questions about how it affects independence.

It could have been the opportunity to settle this issue in the UK, but unfortunately it was missed.

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