Should accountants in London go on a charm offensive?

Maybe accountants in London should consider following the lead of ICAS and go on a charm offensive.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants north of the border says it would like to see a lot more accountants mentored on ethical behaviour by their senior peers in a bid to reverse the mistrust the public has in the financial services sector.

Atholl Duncan, the executive director of ICAS, said the Institute now has a host of members in high positions in commerce who could advise young accountants on ethical issues. In the last four years, public trust has dropped by 20% and this can be directly attributed to the banking crisis, media phone hacking and the controversy over MPs expenses.

However, people still put more trust in their chartered accountants than some other professionals and this is something to build on.

Duncan believes that the world’s oldest accountancy body, ICAS, has a key role to play in changing people’s perceptions. He explained that efficient networking will enable members looking for ethical advice to connect with senior ICAS members who now hold senior positions in business. If a younger member has a problematic issue with accounting, or the valuation of assets, he should be able to contact a member who will have dealt with exactly that situation during the course of his career.

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