UK praised for reforms

The European Commission has called on EU countries to further liberalise
accountancy and other professions, although a detailed report praises Britain
for its reforms.

The UK ‘is making good progress’ across the board in fighting restrictive
practices, regarding profession entry, fees and advertising, along with Denmark
and the Netherlands. By contrast, France and Germany have made only ‘minor
reforms’ with ongoing analysis being undertaken.

Liberalisation reforms whatsoever have yet been made in Belgium and Italy,
said the commission. Looking specifically at accounting, Greece and Portugal
still have fixed fees for statutory audits, whilst Italian public accountants
must operate under minimum and maximum fee rules.

Across Europe, the commission is concerned about regulations restricting ‘the
ownership structure of professional services companies’, for instance limiting
collaboration with different professions.

‘These regulations might inhibit lawyers and accountants from providing
integrated legal and accountancy advice for tax issues… or one-stop shops for
professional services in rural areas,’ said the commission’s policy paper.

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