Accountancy is the trusted profession says international research, but more clarity needed on professional regulation in Ireland

Feb 04, 2019

Recent research results from accountancy bodies around the world show high levels of trust in Chartered Accountants. The research points to the need for institutes to lead on protecting data, promoting ethical behaviour and championing transparent business practices.

On behalf of Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW), Edelman Intelligence surveyed over one thousand business leaders and key decision makers across the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand to measure their trust in Chartered Accountants, the accountancy sector and business as a whole.

In an era where trust in businesses is being shaken to the core, the results of the survey show that three quarters (75%) of global business leaders and key decision makers trust the accountancy sector to do the right thing. This is ahead of other professions: legal services (69%); financial services (59%) and insurance (55%). Chartered Accountants specifically hold a trusted position amongst key decision makers, with more than three quarters (77%) saying they trust Chartered Accountants to do the right thing. Similarly, the majority (61%) believe Chartered Accountancy professional bodies are performing well in building trust in the profession.

More than half (54%) of global business leaders and decision makers cited protection of clients’ data, ethical behaviour (50%) and transparency (47%) as key attributes for building trust in Chartered Accountants.

The research also revealed that there is a misunderstanding about the regulation of ‘accountants’ in the market with 59% of respondents incorrectly believing that all accountants are automatically subject to regulation and a further 24% unsure. Respondents to the research expect professional accountancy bodies to ensure high standards are maintained (46%) and demonstrate and encourage industry best practice (27%).

Barry Dempsey, Chief Executive of Chartered Accountants Ireland said:

“As a founding member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) and participant in this research, Chartered Accountants Ireland is committed to working with global partners to build trust in the profession and more broadly across the finance, accountancy and business sectors. The Irish results of the study show that Chartered Accountants hold a position of trust in Irish business, we will work to ensure that this is maintained and reinforced where possible.

“It’s clear that a better understanding is needed of the extent of regulation in the accountancy profession, and the protections that such regulation provides. A majority of financial decision makers believe that all those calling themselves ‘accountants’ are in some way regulated – this is not the case. Chartered Accountants Ireland has been calling for legislation to ensure all those holding themselves out to the public are properly regulated, as we see this as a consumer protection issue. Too often we hear stories of businesses that find out too late that the person they had retained had no professional regulator to address complaints, no professional indemnity and no quality checks. This need not continue and today we call on Government to acknowledge this research and effect much-needed change.”


Notes to Editors:
Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) brings together the members of 12 leading institutes to create a network of over 1.8m Chartered Accountants and students in more than 185 countries.

Research was conducted on behalf of Chartered Accountants Worldwide by Edelman Intelligence, an independent market research firm.

In total, 1,019 business leaders and key decision makers were interviewed, with approximately 250 interviews each in Ireland, the UK & South Africa, and approximately 125 interviews in Australia and in New Zealand during September and October 2018.

Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s largest and longest established professional body of accountants founded in 1888.  The Institute, which is an all-island body, currently represents over 27,000 members around the world.

Brendan O’Hora, Director of Communications, Chartered Accountants Ireland, 

M: 086 2432428,