13 Jun 2012

New ICAEW president calls for profession to rebuild trust

Trust in the accountancy profession must be re-established through action, Mark Spofforth, new ICAEW president, has said in his inaugural speech

Speaking at Chartered Accountants’ Hall at the Presidents' lunch this afternoon, Spofforth said that trust is fundamental to a well-run economy and a properly functioning society.  He urged the profession to rebuild the public’s trust through acting professionally and ethically.

Spofforth 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.”

He also called for the focus of audit reform to be on improvements that will promote trust; on developing the audit service, not adding to the audit process. The full speech is here.

“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,” he said.

Mark, 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 in Sussex 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.

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.

Read economia’s interview with the new president 


Helen Roxburgh