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Evaluating trust in the accountancy profession

Last Updated Monday, December 3, 2018 10:48:29 AM

Johannesburg, 03 December 2018 – New independent, international research indicates high trust in Chartered Accountants and points to the need for them to lead on protecting data and driving ethical behaviour and transparent business practices.

On behalf of Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW), Edelman Intelligence surveyed over one thousand business leaders and key decision makers across the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand to measure their trust in Chartered Accountants, the accountancy sector and business as a whole.

In an era where trust in businesses is being shaken to the core, the results of the survey show that more than three quarters (77%) of global business leaders and key decision makers trust Chartered Accountants to do the right thing. This is ahead of other professions: legal services (68%); financial services (59%) and insurance (55%). Chartered Accountants specifically hold a trusted position amongst key decision makers, with more than three quarters (77%) saying they trust Chartered Accountants to do the right thing. Similarly, the majority (61%) believe Chartered Accountancy professional bodies are performing well in building trust in the profession.

More than half (54%) of global business leaders and decision makers sighted protection of clients’ data, ethical behaviour (50%) and transparency (47%) as key areas for building trust in business.

The research also revealed that there is a misunderstanding about the regulation of ‘accountants’ in the market with 59% of respondents incorrectly believing that all accountants are automatically subject to regulation and a further 24% unsure. Respondents to the research expect professional accountancy bodies to ensure high standards are maintained (46%) and demonstrate and encourage industry best practice (27%).

“What was especially encouraging among the 250 South African business decision makers surveyed was that 81% still trust CAs(SA) to do the right thing, despite recent negative publicity surrounding the profession. This rating was higher than the average rating of 77% measured across the five countries surveyed. This finding should reassure our members that they play a significant role in maintaining confidence in business,” noted Willi Coates, SAICA Senior Executive: Brand.

Michael Izza, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Worldwide said: “Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) member institutes are committed to working together to build trust in the profession and more broadly across the finance, accountancy and business sectors. The study shows that Chartered Accountants hold a trusted position in business.  We are committed to working collaboratively to drive up standards in the profession and in business, to further build on our foundations of trust. By doing so, our aim is to play a significant part in rebuilding business confidence and empowering prosperity across the world.”

Notes to Editors:

Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) brings together the members of 12 leading institutes to create a network of more than 1.8 million Chartered Accountants (CA) and students in more than 200 countries.

Research was conducted on behalf of Chartered Accountants Worldwide by Edelman Intelligence, an independent market research firm.

In total, 1019 business leaders and key decision makers were interviewed in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand in September and October 2018. In South Africa 250 respondents were interviewed.


SAICA, South Africa’s pre-eminent accountancy body, is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading accounting institutes. The Institute provides a wide range of support services to more than 46 000 members and associates who are chartered accountants [CAs(SA)], as well as associate general accountants (AGAs(SA)) and accounting technicians (ATs(SA)), who hold positions as CEOs, MDs, board directors, business owners, chief financial officers, auditors and leaders in every sphere of commerce and industry, and who play a significant role in the nation’s highly dynamic business sector and economic development.

SAICA Media Contact

Kulani Chauke
Communication Coordinator: Corporate
SAICA Brand Division
011 479 0698