ACCA warning for foreign accountant proposals

Director Mike Walsh told Accountancy Age that proposals from theEuropean Commission on the mutual recognition of professional qualificationsneeded careful scrutiny, so that standards are protected.

The issue could become more contentious with the planned accession to the EU by 2004 of former communist countries, such as Estonia and Slovakia, whoseprofessionals would henceforth have the same legal rights as British, Germanor Danish accountants.

Before these new member states are admitted, Brussels wants to establish aprocedure to create so-called ‘common platforms,’ benchmarks of professionalexcellence that would allow national qualifications to be accepted acrossthe European Union.

Walsh said that although this might run for professions such as doctorsand architects, where relevant knowledge is more universal, withaccountants, it was essential to ensure that foreigners had excellent locallanguage, taxation and law expertise.

‘You would need some thinking about this. You would have to think about howit would work in every jurisdiction,’ he told Accountancy Age. However, ifthe linguistic and local knowledge demands were incorporated, he would behappy. ‘If it helps our members cross borders, we’re all in favour,’ headded.

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