From re-negotiating trade deals to developing policies which can help businesses thrive in a globalised 21st century, the strategic insight and analytical rigour of accountants will be integral to providing politicians and the civil service with the information they need. MPs need to be fully aware that the world-class status of our financial services will be a vital resource in securing the best deal for UK plc.
—John Williams, head of UK, ACCA

Members of Parliament believe accountants will be increasingly in demand during the Brexit process, according to a new study commissioned by AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

The study has revealed that almost half of MPs (47%) believe that Brexit will have a positive impact on the accountancy profession, because accountants can advise clients on the implications of exiting the European Union. In contrast, less than half this number (23%) think Brexit does not represent a good opportunity for accountancy.

The same study also indicates that a clear majority of MPs (55%) believe that EU tax legislation should be reviewed immediately, rather than waiting until Brexit takes place.

However, there is a less than clear picture about the effects that Brexit may have on big business, with 42% of MPs believing Brexit will not negatively impact larger businesses compared to 43% who do.

Passporting rights

The joint research also tackles the thorny issue of EU passporting rights.

Passporting rights allow companies based in the UK to offer financial services to the rest of the EU (plus Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein) while only having to follow one set of regulations. This can save companies significant costs ranging from establishing various headquarters to complying with the regulations of each different country that they provide financial services to.

The study findings suggest MPs are unclear about the importance of these passporting rights with 40% agreeing that alternative arrangements for the 5,000+ firms holding such rights are essential but almost a third (29%) disagreeing. A quarter of MPs (25%) neither agrees nor disagrees that passporting rights are important, indicating real uncertainty about the issue.

Mark Farrar, Chief Executive, AAT said;

'Many of the ramifications of Brexit remain unclear, especially around issues such as passporting rights, tax, compliance and the general impact on business.

However, amongst all this uncertainty it is very clear that accountants have a valuable role to play in advising clients on the tax and financial implications of our EU withdrawal. We have recognised this and these results show that large numbers of politicians recognise this too.'

John Williams, Head of ACCA UK, said;

'It is good to see that MPs are confident that the accountants will rise to the challenge posed to business by the uncertainties of Brexit. Yet it is even more important that politicians recognise the value the accountancy profession can bring to the UK economy as it enters one of its most profoundly important periods since the Second World War.

'From re-negotiating trade deals to developing policies which can help businesses thrive in a globalised 21st century, the strategic insight and analytical rigour of accountants will be integral to providing politicians and the civil service with the information they need. MPs need to be fully aware that the world-class status of our financial services will be a vital resource in securing the best deal for UK plc.'

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 47% of MPs think Brexit will have a positive impact on the accountancy profession, with 25% uncertain and 23% thinking it won’t.
  • 55% believe EU tax legislation e.g. VAT and excise duties, should be reviewed now rather than waiting until Brexit has taken place compared to just 18% who disagree.
  • 40% agree that alternative arrangements for the 5,000+ firms holding passporting rights, which give access to the EU single market in financial services, are essential. 29% do not think it is essential with a high number neither agreeing nor disagreeing (25%).
  • 42% of MPs think Brexit will NOT negatively impact larger businesses compared to 43% who do.

ENDS

Notes to editors

This study was commissioned by AAT and ACCA and undertaken by YouGov.

YouGov conducted a survey with Members of Parliament between Wednesday 23 November and Friday 2 December 2016.

For more information please contact:

Adam Harwood, Media Relations Manager, AAT
0207 367 1392
adam.harwood@aat.org.uk

Jude Obi, Assistant Media Relations Manager, AAT
0207 397 3026
jude.obi@aat.org.uk

David Bowden, Global PR Officer, ACCA
020 7059 5019
david.bowden@accaglobal.com


About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. It offers 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.

ACCA supports its 188,000 members and 480,000 students in 178 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 100 offices and centres and more than 7,110 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. It believes 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. ACCA’s core values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and it ensures that through its range of qualifications, it prepares accountants for business. ACCA seeks to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating its qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. 

About AAT

  • AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) is the UK’s leading qualification and professional body for technical accountants and bookkeepers, with over 140,000 members around the world. We offer a range of qualifications that are open to all regardless of previous qualifications or age, such as the four AAT Accounting Qualifications that provide a non-degree route into chartered accountancy, and the five AAT Bookkeeping Qualifications that can support businesses with accurate and up-to-date financial records. Students encompass a wide range from school and college leavers undertaking apprenticeships, to older people hoping to change their career or learn the skills to run their own business.

  • An AAT Accountant is a qualified accounting professional with the practical and technical skills needed to support businesses with their accounting activities. Typical job roles of an AAT Accountant include: Financial Accountant, Commercial Analyst, Senior Finance Officer, Payroll Manager, VAT Accountant and Tax Supervisor. An AAT Accountant can sign off the accounts for companies up to the audit threshold, where a company does not have a turnover more than £6.5 million and its balance sheet total is not more than £3.26 million. The majority of businesses within the UK do not meet this threshold so currently over half a million businesses trust AAT Accountants and AAT Bookkeepers to service their accounting requirements.

  • AAT awards around 90% of all technical qualifications in accounting in the UK, and is sponsored by the professional accounting bodies CIPFA, ICAEW, CIMA, and ICAS.