• Register
Return to: Home > Comments > Comment: All in the same boat

Comment: All in the same boat

The decision to put a lifeboat, against the background of a stormy sea, on the cover of this month's magazine was not perhaps as bleak a choice of metaphor as it might at first seem.

Certainly, the idea of choppy waters and stormy skies is not too far off the mark - previous iterations of this editor's letter and the pages that follow have run through the challenges facing the profession often enough for that to be clear.
But what's perhaps not stressed often enough is that, like the inhabitants of a lifeboat, firms are increasingly of a mind to stick together and pool their competencies in order to ride out the storm as a community, no matter how intense competition may be between them.

The much-covered debates over competition and concentration in the audit market may appear to divide the global accounting profession completely. However, at a recent International Accounting Bulletin round table, 16 senior industry experts, from global firm leaders to institute heads, sent out a very clear message: regardless of differences of opinion, the profession needs to stand united on some issues, particularly the preservation of the value of audit services in the face of fee pressure, and the protection of the profession's reputation.

The original brief of the round table had been to talk about risks to the profession, from macroeconomic concerns to liability to regulatory risk. However as the debate kicked off, attendees raised their own concerns and a heated discussion emerged over the relationship between regulators and the profession, the changing role of the auditor, and the problem of ever-decreasing fees.
While there is a tendency to think of the industry as being starkly and dichotomously divided along the lines of firm size, the contrasting impression from the round table was of an industry that has as many different structures - and commensurate needs and priorities - as it has participants.

With this variety pointed out, the differences of opinion that come up in debates about market concentration pale in comparison to the importance of issues on which all firms can find common ground.

As the profession finds itself in the firing line of regulators, governments and the media, leaders believe they do have a common interest to protect, and the big question that needs to be answered is how to go about doing so. To find out what firm leaders think of that, read the full coverage from the round table..

IAB Awards shortlist revealed
With only a couple of weeks until the IAB 2013 Awards a shortlist has now been revealed.

The independent judging panel of Sue Almond (ACCA), Jane Howard (Wragge&Co) and Sir David Tweedie (ICAS) have reviewed with care all the nominations received and have shortlisted the best entries.

This year the quality of nominations far exceeded those for last year's inaugural awards, and the competition in categories such as Association of the Year, Sustainable Firm of the Year and Social Media Champion of the Year looks to be intense.
The winners will be announced at our awards ceremony in London 14 March - I hope to see you there.

Top Content

    The UK: uncertain waves rule Britannia

    he UK’s accountancy profession is currently in a period of much uncertainty. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has released its review into the listed audit market which could cause the biggest shake-up the profession has seen in years, the Kingman Review has described the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) as not being fit for purpose and called for it to be replaced. All the while the country remains in a deadlock on Brexit negotiations.

    read more

    Views from the Eurozone

    With Brexit looming, populist governments gaining footholds in a number of countries and movements such as the Yellow Jacket protests in France, 2018 was anything but a quite year for the eurozone. Here leaders report to the IAB on their markets.

    read more

    Eastern promise and how to find it

    With China rising as a global power, Jonathan Minter spoke with ShineWing’s Zhang Ke and Marco Carlei at the World Congress of Accountants 2018 in Sydney, to discuss the cultural challenges that occur when Chinese networks look beyond their border, and the dividends available for those who overcome them.

    read more

    Spain: looking to widen demand

    As Spanish accounting professionals prepare for new audit regulations, the Paul Golden asks what they need to do individually and at firm level to maintain and increase demand for their services.

    read more
Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.