An accountant's work isn't all about increasing profits and pleasing clients – there should also be an emphasis on professional integrity, argues Mark Lee.
Most people rightly assume that all accountants are bound by a code of professional ethics, and yet those same people may also believe that they can rely on their accountant to help them run rings around the taxman - not just to pay the legal minimum, but to find loopholes and advise on what one can get away with, as well as exploiting any weakness in HMRC's armour.
The media reinforces both of these perspectives. On the one hand they berate accountants who evidence anything less than high standards of professional behaviour. On the other hand, the papers are full of adverts and stories about how to cheat the taxman.