In an interview with Accountancy Age, Pinder said he wanted the profession to oversee the increasing use of digital certificates. These are used to provide security on internet transactions.
Based on a range of encryption techniques, they allow businesses to electronically certify features such as identity, ability to pay, or the authenticity of an electronic document. With the UK’s e-commerce market predicted to grow to £14.5bn by 2003 – it stood at just £2bn in 1999 – certificates will become an essential part of doing business via the internet.
‘We are just starting to see the first digital certificates emerging,’ said Pinder. ‘It seems to me the professions, particularly accountancy, have the in-depth knowledge and the individuals to be the sort of people who could actually issue the certificates.’
The ICAEW is already involved in the WebTrust scheme. Pinder, who has taken over from the first e-envoy Alex Allan, who resigned last year, said he had already held ‘informal chats’ with the ICAEW.
These meetings, he said, would soon be followed up. ‘I really want to push them [the ICAEW] quite hard. I see no reason why they shouldn’t be an issuer of certificates through their members,’ he told Accountancy Age.
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