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Institute warning over 'rogue' Irish firms

2nd Jan 2014
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AIA

Irish accountancy body Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI) has warned that there are 120 unregulated accountancy firms in operation in Ireland, some of which are run by individuals with fraud charges or convictions. 

The CAI and other Irish accountancy bodies carried out their first census of accounting firms in Ireland recently. This showed that there are 2,000 state supervised firms and 120 ‘rogue’ or unregulated ones.

In a number of unregulated firms, the body said, those running them have no qualifications or criminal records for fraud or are before the courts on fraud charges.

Irish accountancy firms associated with a professional body are regulated by the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA), but it is not mandatory.

The census was carried out on a list of firms who provide accountancy services to the public in Ireland.

CAI president Brendan Lenihan said that the findings make for “disturbing reading” at a time when many in financial difficulty in the current economic climate in Ireland are seeking accountants’ advice for the first time.

“This system would not be permitted for any other professionals of which we are aware.

“Because we have registration of medical personnel, you don’t need to ask your surgeon to prove his or her basic qualifications before lifting a scalpel,” he said.

The body argues that regulation is important to build in consumer protections, for example checking the practitioner carries professional indemnity insurance, has independent quality checks carried out and ensures that all complaints are independently investigated.

“This situation has been allowed to remain for too long, and as a result, too many consumers have suffered financial loss and poor advice,” Lenihan said.  

The CAI and other Irish bodies have presented their census findings to the Irish government and IAASA, and said it wants legislation making it mandatory for firms to be regulated by an independent state agency, to ensure consumers are protected.

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Locutus of Borg
By Locutus
02nd Jan 2014 14:22

"Rogue" is a bit harsh

Rogue "an unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable person; a scoundrel or rascal"

I'm an ACCA and AAT member operating in the UK, but think it's a bit harsh to call anyone that isn't in our qualified club "rogues".

I believe that there is a case for all "accountants" to be regulated in some form in the UK, so that all practitioners at least have to have PII, maintain CPD and the the general public have some redress to a higher authority.

However, silly name-calling by leaders of professional bodies hardly advances that argument.

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By Andrew Mann Keytime
07th Jan 2014 11:45

And presumably there is no such thing as a "rogue" registered accountant........... :) 

 

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By Dougj
07th Jan 2014 13:59

I'm not convinced that the ICAI article actually calls all unregulated firms "rogue". Some of the unregulated ones are certainly rogue, but not necessarily all. Rather careless reporting here to get the headline....  http://www.charteredaccountants.ie/en/General/News-and-Events/News1/2013/December/At-least-120-accountancy-firms-operate-entirely-outside-of-state-supervision---Chartered-Accountants-Ireland/

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
07th Jan 2014 14:11

Judicious editing required

article wrote:
In a number of unregulated firms, the body said, those running them have no qualifications or criminal records for fraud......
So they have no criminal records for fraud? Presumably not. A sentence break might have been a good idea here as it is only with the following item that this becomes clear.

I am also concerned about Mr Lenihan's statements. Whilst he is not outright saying the unregulated firms are rogue, the tone of his comments definitely indicates he considers them sub-standard in some way. This is just another extension of the qualified/unqualfied debate in which he is parrotting Orwell with "Qualified - Good. Unqualified - Bad". Whilst qualified myself, I have met some very competent unqualified over the years. To imply that unqualifieds are in some way inherently bad is slightly unprofessional.

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By Rachael White
09th Jan 2014 11:35

Hi @Douhj, just to confirm

Hi @Dougj, just to confirm where I got the 'rogue' element of the article:

However, as currently constituted, IAASA regulates only those who are members of recognised accountancy bodies, allowing rogue firms ‘carte blanche’ to simply opt out.  

Thanks for providing us with your feedback though - we always strive to improve in our reporting in any way and appreciate your views.

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By hiccup
09th Jan 2014 16:15

ROGUE IRISH FIRMS

Would "rogue firms" include those who gave all the insolvent Irish banks clean audit reports before they had to be bailed out? Of course not! 

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