Trust is key to economic health

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THE new president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICEAW) says trust is key to helping the economy get back on its feet.

Mark Spofforth is a partner in his accountancy firm in Chichester, and made the statement in his inaugural address.

Mark, whose daughter Gemma is a world record-breaking swimmer, says trust is fundamental to a well-run economy and a properly functioning society – and urges the profession to rebuild the public’s trust through acting professionally and ethically.

Speaking at his inaugural lunch at Chartered Accountants’ Hall in London, Mark said: ‘The public’s confidence in the professions has been reduced.

‘This trend must be reversed.

‘The accountancy profession must work hard to do so and demonstrate that it deserves people’s trust.

‘We must show understanding and respond to concerns.

‘We must focus on doing what we are trained to do – and do it well.’

Mr Spofforth also called for audit reforms to be focused on improvements that will promote trust and confidence in the accountancy profession.

He wants to see the ICAEW develop the audit service, rather than add to the audit process.

He said: ‘We need both rules and principles-based ethical standards for auditors to determine which non-audit services can be offered alongside audit, for example.

‘Over-regulation, however, could be detrimental to judgement, replacing it with box-ticking, which could result in talent being discouraged from joining the profession.’

Mr Spofforth, who comes from a family of several generations of accountants, takes on the role as ICAEW’s president for a year, having been elected by ICAEW’s Council.

He is a senior partner with Spofforths, and has worked as a general practitioner for 30 years, qualifying as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant in 1982.

He is also a former chairman of the council of the ICAEW and has served as deputy chairman of the International Accounting Education Standards Board.

His focus for the period in office will be on trust, simplification of accounts and deregulation.

Supporting him, Martyn Jones, national audit technical partner at Deloitte, takes on the role as deputy president and Arthur Bailey, consultant with Begbies Traynor Group and chairman of Stafford Railway Building Society, becomes vice president.

The ICAEW was set up in 1880 to represent all chartered accountants in England and Wales, and now has offices all over the world, representing 138,000 members from Beijing to the UK.