ACCA - The global body for professional accountants
The business environment is changing ever more quickly and the technical demands made of accountants in business, practice and the public sector are increasing all the time. But despite the pace of change, the big issues discussed at the symposium - accountability and trust - remain fundamental to what professional accountants do. ACCA and its global forums will continue to promote the case for the public value that accountants can create for individuals, businesses and public sector bodies
—John Davies, head of technical , ACCA

'Accountability and trust remain fundamental to what professional accountants do'

Corporate governance, business standards and trust were key future concerns identified by ACCA’s (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) global forums at their third symposium held in London recently.

ACCA’s 10 global forums gathered to discuss the most pressing challenges facing accountants, to articulate a vision for the future for the profession, and to debate thinking about the forum’s forthcoming direction.

The symposium’s discussions are presented in a new report called A changing world, which also reviews recent activity by the 10 global forums.

At a panel discussion about corporate governance and accountability, Adrian Berendt, executive director of independent clearing house LCH Clearnet and chair of ACCA’s global forum for governance, risk and performance, reflected on the steady increase of guidance and regulation in the area of corporate governance. Commenting about governance guides and codes, Mr Berendt said: 'We want to encourage the right kind of behaviours rather than writing complex rules.'

A fellow panellist, Peter Bonisch, managing director of risk adviser Paradigm Risk, argued that more attention must be paid to the issue of risk when trying to understand the link between governance and performance. 

Mr Bonisch said: 'The banking crisis has had an extended impact on other sectors, but that does not mean that there is uniformly a crisis of corporate governance. If there is a generalised problem, it is that concerns about governance are preventing companies from taking on risk and managing it properly.'

Speaking about governance from the public sector perspective, Gillian Fawcett, head of public sector at ACCA, said that when it comes to corporate governance, accountability is one of the key issues, saying: 'The public sector is developing in all sorts of ways in terms of new partnership models, shared services and the increasing provision of public services by the private sector. And all this blurs the accountability lines.'

The symposium concluded with a session on accountancy and the trust agenda, with a presentation from Laurence Evans, president of Edelman Berland, which publishes an annual trust barometer, now in its 13th year. He said at the meeting that addressing the issue of trust is vitally important to the value that accountants bring to society.

John Davies, head of technical at ACCA, concluded: 'The business environment is changing ever more quickly and the technical demands made of accountants in business, practice and the public sector are increasing all the time. But despite the pace of change, the big issues discussed at the symposium - accountability and trust - remain fundamental to what professional accountants do. ACCA and its global forums will continue to promote the case for the public value that accountants can create for individuals, businesses and public sector bodies.'  

 - ends - 

 For more information, please contact:

Alana Sinnen, ACCA Newsroom
+ 44 (0) 207 059 5807
+44 (0) 7715 812120
alana.sinnen@accaglobal.com 

Helen Thompson, ACCA Newsroom
+44 (0)20 7059 5759
+44 (0)7725 498654
helen.thompson@accaglobal.com 

Notes to Editors

  1. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. 
  2. We support our 162,000 members and 426,000 students in 173 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 89 offices and centres and more than 8,500 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. 
  3. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.