Profession should shell out to protect its good name

The profession should itself pay for the privilege of having the term
‘accountant’ protected, the chief executive of the
Association of International
(AIA) has said.

Philip Turnbull, the body’s chief executive, said that an overwhelming number
of the body’s members backed the move because it would guard against the public
receiving bad advice and also shield the profession from having its reputation

But the suggestion that it should be paid for by the profession itself may
prove controversial.
Calls for the government to regulate the issue have been criticised by senior
regulators, who
say the move would be expensive.

‘You wouldn’t go to an unqualified doctor or solicitor, and the public
deserves the same when it comes to financial advice,’ said Turnbull. He added
that 87% of AIA accountants supported the ongoing efforts. The body represents
5,000 members across the globe, with 2,000 UK-based accountants.

‘There are lots of arguments against it and it all comes back to resources,’
said the AIA chief executive. ‘People have been saying that it will be expensive
and difficult to monitor, but that’s why we’ve got the
Financial Reporting Council
in place. The most important thing is to push the legislation through.’

Growing pressure to legally protect the term ‘accountant’ led to the Liberal
Democrats treasury spokesman Vince Cable tabling an early day motion in
Parliament, sparking further debate among advisers, politicians and the general

Turnbull added that the AIA is in contact with the other accountancy bodies
who all believed that the term should only be able to be used by those having
undergone recognised training and holding professional indemnity insurance.
‘There is widespread confusion among the public on this matter and it is only
right that they should be protected by knowing that they are dealing with a
qualified professional,’ he said.

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