Accountants’ reputation only as strong as weakest link, says industry chief

THE president of the Institute of Certified and Public Accountants has called on members to place ethical behaviour at the core of their professional lives.

Speaking at the institute’s graduation ceremony, its president John White, challenged graduates to get back to the fundamental values of the profession in his address at the Helix, Dublin City University.

Welcoming this year’s class of 188 accountants Mr White said: “Despite the tough challenges Ireland has begun its fightback and because of the country’s resilience we will remain in control of our own destiny..

To get back to solid growth, industry needs the support of “high-quality, reliable financial information” if it is to forge ahead, he said. He said there is no high-quality information without the work of accountants and that is one reason why they play such a critical role in today’s global financial system, he said.

Mr White warned that accountants have to be up to the challenges they face in these trying times.

“As professionals we are expected to comply with the five fundamental principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behaviour”.

There is a simple rule of thumb accountants can follow when faced with difficult decisions and it is this: “If you would not like your name associated with that action in the morning paper then it is likely to beunethical.

“I must caution you that, irrespective of what sector you are working in, your professional values may be challenged. Professional bodies like this institute are only as strong as the weakest link”, he said.

“The reputation of accountancy is judged on the behaviour of individuals and when you are challenged, your Institute will be there to support you and guide you”, he said.

Robert Walters chief executive Louise Campbell, said research shows the labour market for accountants declined in 2009.

Sectors such as renewable energy, pharmaceutical and insurance remain resilient and candidates with experience in these industries are finding it easier to secure jobs than those without, she said.


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