Profession’s reputation on the line

Next month sees Accountancy Age publish its first Top 50 of the new millennium. And it’s a crucial one. Last year all but two firms provided information (hang your heads Horwarth Clark Whitehill and PricewaterhouseCoopers, which only supplied global figures). That was a landmark for a profession that had, until then, not done enough to counter accusations of a lack of transparency by publishing figures.

But this year firms have to go further. In 1999, the huge increase in the numbers responding was welcome. But many firms were still reluctant to break down their income between services. That needs to change.

And any firm that is not really a unified body but more a network of regional offices should watch out too. We will be looking closely at that this year.

Of course partnerships are different to other business structures. But notwithstanding that fact no one should think that the issue of transparency doesn’t matter, especially to a profession that preaches transparency to others.

With the Office of Fair Trading currently conducting an inquiry into the profession, the government thinks it matters. So do we. And with the reputation of you and your peers at stake so should you.

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