ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has issued the following statement on the United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union White Paper.
Helen Brand OBE, ACCA chief executive, says:
“ACCA welcomes the publication of the long awaited UK Government White Paper on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
“ACCA and our members have long called for clarity on UK Government plans for access to the single market, regulatory alignment and talent mobility post-Brexit. The White Paper is therefore a significant step forward.
“The UK Government’s desire to achieve associated status with the EU is encouraging as it suggests the UK will continue to work in close cooperation with the remaining EU-27 once the UK departs the EU. Furthermore, the proposition that the UK remains in a Free Trade area with the EU will be largely welcomed by British and international businesses that trade across Europe from the UK as a positive step towards reducing the trade frictions which may occur as a result of Brexit. The suggested phased approach to achieving a ‘facilitated customs arrangement’ is also welcomed, not least because it suggests the UK Government understands the complexity and inherent risks of the process and the fact that it will take years, not months, to achieve.
“The move away from mutual recognition and towards a new ‘economic and regulatory agreement’ on financial services comes as a disappointing surprise. ACCA has long called for a continuation in the recognition of financial and professional services across the UK and the EU after Brexit in order to minimise disruption and to facilitate the continued transfer of such services, at least to some degree. This move is a significant departure from what many in the financial and professional services industries have been calling for and it will no doubt cause major concerns across the sectors affected. The loss of passporting rights and the risk of regulatory divergence is very likely to force many firms to put their contingency plans into action, and this may mean jobs and investment moving out of the UK in the near-term.
“We know from our discussions with members across Europe that businesses and business groups are hoping that an outcome can be agreed that minimises disruption to talent, trade and technology flows in the coming years.
“The White Paper hints at a flexible approach to the movement of talent in and out of the UK post-Brexit. Plans to enable the continuation of “fly-in, fly-out” working trips are welcomed, but further clarity on the restrictions which may apply is much needed. We need to ensure that the UK continues to be able to attract the best talent with minimal barriers. Time limitations on how long individuals can stay and the criteria to which they may need to adhere to may well put into place barriers that deter the brightest talent from coming to the UK.
“Finally, we welcome calls for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications across the UK and EU. This will provide much needed assurance for professionals working across Europe and beyond. It also provides assurances to consumers of professional services, including the public, that there will be continuity in standards beyond Brexit. For the same reason, it is also reassuring that the UK Government has listened to our calls and is seeking EU equivalence and adequacy under the EU’s third country regimes for accounting standards and audit regulation post-Brexit.
“We must keep in mind that this is merely the UK’s starting point for negotiations with the EU. Nothing can be taken for granted at this critical stage and whilst ACCA hopes that a plan can be found that is satisfactory for all, we would still urge business to prepare for a range of possible outcomes come next March.
“ACCA will be reviewing this White Paper in more detail over the coming weeks, drawing in the views of our 80,000 members working in business and finance across the UK on the best way forward. We look forward to continuing to work with the Government to help secure the best possible outcome for March 2019 and beyond.”
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ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering 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 200,000 members and 486,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 101 offices and centres and more than 7,200 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.
ACCA is currently introducing major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.
Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. More information is here: www.accaglobal.com.