PracticeConsultingICAS worried over ‘cowboy accountants’

ICAS worried over 'cowboy accountants'

Fears are growing that the Office of Fair Trading's investigation into the accountancy profession could lead to a slackening of rules and a surge in 'cowboy accountants'.

The Scots ICA has urged the OFT to restrict entry to accountancy warning of the need to stop so-called ‘cowboy accountants’ from misleading the public.

The warning comes in response to the OFT’s consultation document into the accountancy profession.

The institute’s president Grenville Johnston said: ‘No one would want to be treated by an untrained doctor. Anyone can set up in business as an accountant without any formal training and without the need for any initial or continuing assessment of their competence. Clearly, this situation is not good for the safety of the public.’

Following requests from the Treasury ministers and the Department of Trade and Industry, the OFT began an examination of the profession in March. Accountancy and law are two professions excluded from provisions of competition law.

The OFT are looking specifically into three main areas: that of tight standards of entry to accountancy; restrictions on advertising; and whether some accountancy work can be opened up to people without the accepted professional qualifications.

The Treasury is concerned that exclusion of accountancy and law from the Competition Act, which came into force on 1 March this year, is distorting the market.

English ICA denies fat cat competition probe will worry accountants

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