Irish institute president calls for merger moves to head off American threat

Speaking at the annual dinner of the Chester and North Wales Society of Chartered Accountants, Timothy Quin, said the world’s capital markets demanded global, international standards as opposed to divergent national standards.

Referring to the work of the International Accounting Standards Committee, Quin said it was restructuring to become more independent, and to give priority to objectivity, timeliness and technical excellence. It was in the interests of chartered accountants to support the IASC.

‘If they are successful and we see standards that are more rigorous, we must respond by adopting the international standard setting process within our own jurisdiction,’ he said.

‘Unless the IASC succeeds, it won’t win the support of the all powerful SEC in the USA, and the American Standards Board will dominate accountancy worldwide.’

Enforcement of international standards would, he warned, be harder to achieve with accountancy bodies that operate self-regulation for their own narrow national focus.

Quin said the decision of Ernst & Young to train students with the Scots ICA highlighted the difficulties faced by a national body like the English ICA dealing with an international organisation.

The profession must be market driven, and the role of chartered accountants was not to crunch numbers, but to interpret, communicate and advise. Chartered accountants, said Mr. Quin, must be the strategic thinkers and knowledge managers of the future.

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