ICAS acts to strengthen CAs as business leaders, not bean-counters

| March 12, 2008 | 0 Comments

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) has published research that it commissioned on public perceptions of the accountancy profession. ICAS has set out its actions which are designed to tackle the issues identified by the research.

The main findings of the research revealed that the public believe that professional accountants carry out their roles with integrity and positively affect the ethics of the organisations in which they work, but the responses also raise important issues for the profession as a whole. Responses indicate that the roles of accountants employed in business are primarily seen as ‘task-led’ rather than strategic.

ICAS President Isobel Sharp explained, “This research was an important piece of evidence-gathering. By understanding public perceptions of accountants, ICAS can direct better its efforts to strengthen the accounting profession’s public interest role and its reputation for integrity. The findings include many positive messages for the accountancy profession but there is some pain. But, by understanding the pain, CAs can gain.”

To respond to the issues raised, the report ‘Bean Counters or Business Leaders?’ sets out the actions which ICAS has taken to date including:

  • explaining how the research influenced its new strategy ‘Clearly Ahead’, with the prominence given to the CA values of integrity, wisdom, innovation and service;
  • introducing in 2007 a dedicated ethics examination for its final year students; and
  • developing for school pupils a DVD and information pack on the dangers of debt.

It also sets out a series of initiatives which ICAS is now executing, including;

  • publishing case studies on ethical dilemmas faced by ICAS members to assist in developing appropriate responses to new situations;
  • considering an ethics test for its members; and
  • working with a group of recently qualified members to see how the profession should contribute to corporate social responsibility and to the broader public interest.

ICAS Chief Executive Anton Colella summed up the Institute’s position, “We are not resting on history. We are identifying the challenges of the 21st century in order to develop the business leaders of tomorrow.”

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Category: Professional Bodies

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