I have read with interest the letters which you have published and your editorial on the subject of registration of accountants.
Your readers may be interested to know that ACCA has been identified with the concept of registration since its promotion through the second reading of the Public Accountants and Auditors Bill of 1912.
ACCA took up the matter with particular energy during the 1970s and early 1980s.
In 1995 and 1996, ACCA, CIMA and CIPFA applied to the Privy Council to use chartered in the descriptions and designations of their members.
All the CCAB bodies – including the ICAEW – took the view at that time that, by emphasising the distinction between professionally qualified accountants and others, the change would clarify the status of all those who called themselves ‘accountants’ and would create a clear category of those accountants who have full professional qualifications.
Whenever the matter was raised in the 1980s and 1990s, the DTI always said the government would not make available the parliamentary time for the necessary primary legislation. It is probable, now senior bodies and their members all have the right to use chartered in the descriptions, that the DTI will continue to feel this is not a live issue.
It is also difficult to provide an exact definition of an ‘accountant’ while, given the recent Office of Fair Trading report on competition in the professions, the idea of registration might be felt to imply a restriction of competition.
Anthea Rose, chief executive, ACCA