Regulation and reform – good or bad for the UK?

Industry news roundup: week ended 28 Nov 2013:

The accountancy sector has always been subject to rather tight regulatory practices – but now as the landscape evolves and changes, is it for good or for ill?

One such change to the regulatory landscape going into effect in the 2015-2016 financial year is going to put a serious damper on plans for universities to attract new students, for example. Plans to finance improvements to university campuses around the UK – the inclusion of new accommodation blocks or better libraries are being placed in jeopardy as new these accounting reforms, designed to bring British accounting up to par with standards set internationally, which will slow down or outright prevent the fundraising necessary for these improvements.

Is it just me or are we throwing the baby out with the bathwater on this one? British universities are integral to providing new generations of Brits with the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to compete on a global level, but it seems we’re too interested in reforming the accountancy landscape without any thought to the ethical and economical effects of our decisions.

Speaking of more ethical decisions, the IASB has decided to overhaul international hedge accounting standards recently as well. Now this move is something I can get behind, as old rules could be manipulated to make a company that was experiencing financial difficulties seem to be actually turning a profit. No more under these new rules – now you’ll have to call a spade a spade, and if you’re losing money hand over fist, there’s no fig leaf you’ll be able to slap on it to keep your investors or shareholders from panicking.

This is exactly the type of reform that will help the UK rise to the top in the international marketplace. Embracing these rules means no more shady dealings – or at least a lessening of them. I mean nothing is going to completely eliminate the kind of chicanery that goes on behind closed doors – not unless every single crooked businessman drops dead overnight anyway – but at least we can make it harder for those amongst us who care more about their own bottom line than doing the right thing from engaging in their distasteful activities. More reforms like this, less like the rules that are preventing universities from expanding, and we’ll be in much better shape overall!

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