The institute has so far rebuffed advances to join the Financial Reporting Council’s Accountancy Investigation and Discipline Board (AIDB), claiming that without statutory powers – including the power to call non-members to give evidence at disciplinaries – there was no reason for the institute to leave the current system.
But the companies bill, currently going through parliament, could provide the opportunity for such statutory powers to be introduced.
‘When looking at the bill, there were so many mentions of disciplinary bodies that giving them statutory powers wouldn’t take that much additional drafting,’ said Tom McMorrow, director of legal services at ICAS. ‘If the amendments are put in place, many of the reasons we had for not joining the AIDB would be removed.’
ICAS has already approached the government for these additions and is currently preparing a paper to present its arguments. It is understood that the AIDB has also been lobbying the government for such changes.
‘No other authority is going to be able to pick up what in some cases is quasi-criminal activity. It’s hard enough to go after the main perpetrators of fraud and other financial crimes, never mind going after their accountant,’ said McMorrow.
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