PracticeAuditICAEW president calls for unified qualifications

ICAEW president calls for unified qualifications

The head of the ICAEW says the next generation of accountants must be trained to a common set of technical and ethical standards across Europe to restore confidence in financial reporting.

Link: Illingworth: Liability cap will benefit investors

David Illingworth, president of the ICAEW, argued that the institute-led initiative known as the ‘Common Content’ qualification project would help to unify the common elements of European institutes’ accountancy qualifications.

‘Our guiding principles are to ensure that our qualifications remain high quality and meet changing public expectations,’ he said yesterday at the ICAEW’s annual dinner in London at the Chartered Accountants’ Hall.

He also warned that draconian limitations on auditors providing non-audit services to clients in order to protect independence are missing the point. ‘Prohibitions do not promote real independence grounded in any ethical code,’ he said.

‘My experience is that elsewhere, notably in the US, reducing independence to rigid adherence to rules for every circumstance has significantly eroded the ability of the profession to exercise professional judgement. This has become more obvious at a time when professional judgement is all too clearly becoming the most important aspect of high quality audit.’

Illingworth said the ICAEW recognised the practical preparation required to successfully implement international accounting standards in 2005, hence the impending implementation of its international accounting standards training and accreditation programme.

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