This was the call from an event with panelists across the world, held to launch results of a survey into international business leaders’ trust in Chartered Accountants.
According to the research from Chartered Accountants Worldwide and Edelman Data and Intelligence (DXI), trust in the profession remains strong after the turmoil of the Covid-19 pandemic: 1,450 business decision makers consider Chartered Accountants as among the most trusted professionals, catching up to doctors, engineers, nurses and teachers, and ahead of groups including the legal profession and politicians. Chartered Accountants are the most trusted finance professionals, ahead of bankers, financial advisors, economists and insurance brokers.
Performance on integrity has improved since 2019, but scrutiny has also increased, with transparency more important in driving trust in Chartered Accountancy professionals.
A majority of business decision makers (84%) believe Chartered Accountants have the skills and expertise to make business thrive today, and 81% are confident in Chartered Accountants’ ability to navigate a new operating environment in the future. At the same time, there is a growing expectation that they must also follow up with action: 85% of financial decision makers say it is important that Chartered Accountants professionals demonstrate a track record of helping businesses thrive.
Most respondents (70%) see Chartered Accountants as credible spokespeople on societal issues such as sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion. But they also expect accountants to follow through by driving sustainable environmental practices within businesses, and doing more to foster diversity, equity and inclusion practices.
ICAS Chief Executive Bruce Cartwright CA said:
“The responsibilities of accountants, and of business more broadly, have grown in scope. The pandemic has proved we can harness our skills to drive positive outcomes, reaching far beyond the realm of finance. The resulting boost in public trust has also created an expectation that this behaviour will remain visible, and rightfully so. Our mandate to act in the public interest is not confined to the provision of robust and reliable information, or driving strategy and creating sustainable organisations. It is an inherent part of being a Chartered Accountant.”
At the launch event, Carolyn Colley, Non-Executive Director at CA ANZ, said there will be a changed role for Chartered Accountants in many areas of business and society, such as tackling emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, all aspects of ESG [environmental, social and governance], and managing ever-growing volumes of information. “I don’t think there’s anyone better positioned to manage and govern data because it’s what we have been doing since the dawn of time. We’re not going to be seen as the leader in any of those areas unless we have the underlying position of trust.”
Also speaking at the launch, Ronan Dunne, EVP and Group CEO at Verizon Consumer described the survey findings as a “call to action” to the profession. “The fundamental challenge for our economy and society is one of leadership and I think the role that Chartered Accountants Worldwide can play is to be the stamp of authority and credibility for the next generation of leaders.”
Full playback of the launch event can be found at this link: https://charteredaccountantsworldwide.com/rebuilding-trust/