The Big Question – FDs say Smith got off lightly

Most finance directors believe disgraced ex-minister Tim Smith should have been expelled by the English ICA or at least fined more heavily, according to a poll of 200 FDs for The Big Question.

The survey, commissioned by Accountancy Age and Reed Accountancy Personnel, found more than half (52%) thought Smith should have been expelled instead of being fined #1,000 for misconduct over the cash-for-questions scandal.

A further 23% thought the fine should have been much higher. Only one in ten thought the penalty was ‘about right’.

Paula Norman of Charterhouse Clinical Research said: ‘The decision not to ban Tim Smith from the institute brings the whole profession into disrepute.

By effectively condoning his actions, the tribunal is allowing him to continue to work as a recognised qualified accountant, which is totally wrong where there has been a clear breach of the law.’

Manoj Bhardwaj of Chamberlain Hotels added: ‘I think the only sensible thing for him to do is to resign as a member.’

Murray Steele, of Edinburgh Instruments, condemned ‘this pathetic reprimand’ adding: ‘A breach of trust and dishonesty at the very highest level has been met with a light slap on the wrists.’ But Glyn Davies, of Staedler (UK), said Smith had not failed as an accountant and did not deserve to be struck off.

See also ‘Andersens: back to the future?’

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