RegulationAccounting StandardsPoor research harming profession says ICAS

Poor research harming profession says ICAS

Quality not matching quantity of studies being hawked by limelight-seeking accountants, says Isobel Sharp

A glut of poor-quality, publicity-seeking research by institutes, firms and
other bodies is harming the reputation of UK accountants.

‘Too many lightweight, piecemeal, poorly researched and inadequately tested
outpourings damage the profession and the public,’ Isobel Sharp, who stands down
as president of ICAS on Friday, said last night.

Speaking at an event celebrating the 20 years of the landmark ICAS report
Making Corporate Reports Valuable, generally considered to be the first thought
leadership initiative by a UK accountancy body, Sharp urged the profession to up
its game.

The Deloitte partner said research should only be undertaken if it would
command respect; serve the public interest; was open, inclusive and accessible;
was well researched and had been ‘tested to destruction’.

Sharp, technical director of the institute when the report was relased,
warned: ‘I’m not convinced current projects would meet that criteria.’

Speaking at the same event, International Accounting Standards Board chairman
Sir David Tweedie, who worked with Sharp on the report, agreed that there was
too much ‘thought leadership’ that was anything but.

‘It’s often a PR job and often as interesting as a book on Antarctic
television personalities of the 18th century,’ he said.

Sharp added: ‘It would be good it we the profession could decide what our big
topics were.’

Others members of the original ICAS committee, including Cairn Energy
chairman Norman Murray and Financial Reporting Council chairman Paul Boyle, also
took part in the debate.

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