Changes are already under way in many of the areas the OFT probe is due to examine, and sources at the institute said they believed it was well prepared to deal with recommendations for accountancy that the report would contain.
OFT officials have expressed particular interest in many of the institute’s rules on advertising, especially those that forbid ICAEW members from criticising other members or making price comparisons with member firms.
A spokesman for the ICAEW said the rules were clearly ’19th century’ and were already on their way to being changed. He said there should be no objection to price comparisons providing members were sure of their facts.
The OFT report was commissioned by government ministers in June last year to investigate competition among accountants, lawyers and architects, including issues like pricing and entry to the professions.
Senior accountants always believed the profession would be largely unaffected by the report because of its significant differences from law and architecture.
One key difference is that there is no restriction on who can use the term accountant whereas practitioners wanting to call themselves solicitors, barristers and lawyers have to be members of their professional bodies.
Leaks in recent days pointed to the OFT focusing on the law profession, especially the Law Society’s long running objection to multidisciplinary practices.
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