Canada's Chartered Accountants comment on Competition Bureau report findings



    TORONTO, Dec. 11 /CNW/ - Canada's Chartered Accountants concur with the
Competition Bureau's desire for consistent regulations that foster mobility
for public accounting professionals across Canada. Yet care must be taken to
ensure the quality of auditing services in Canada is not weakened by
implementation of recommendations in the Bureau's report.
    The Bureau's report deals with competition within five Canadian
professions. It concluded that certain rules that limit advertising, set
prices for services, and restrict who can offer professional services, may go
further than necessary to protect the public interest.
    The report, however, applauded professions that have developed a process
for recognizing the credentials of international practitioners structured on
an assessment of qualifications. It was particularly supportive of professions
in which all provincial regulators have agreed upon one international bridging
program.
    The CA profession was consulted during the compiling of the report and is
looking forward to reviewing it in detail.
    "Canada's chartered accounting profession has implemented an effective
system of uniform standards of qualification across Canada as well as
international agreements with our major trading partners that foster mobility
of accountants across borders," said Kevin Dancey, FCA, President and CEO of
the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). "We have long
supported competition, openness and labour mobility within Canada and
internationally by helping qualified professionals from other countries to
achieve accreditation to practise in Canada."
    The Bureau raised concerns about differences in the qualification
standards among the provinces related to accountants involved in auditing
processes. The report concluded that to facilitate competition in public
accounting services, the regulators in each province and territory should
consider establishing minimum necessary competencies that public accountants
should have and allowing members of all domestic and foreign accounting
designations that meet this standard to offer public accounting services.
    CICA believes Canadians currently enjoy the benefits of a good supply in
accounting services, but Dancey said Canada's CAs believe more can be done to
ensure all Canadian businesses have access to consistently high quality
auditing and assurance services.
    Audit and assurance is the business of providing an independent
assessment of an entity's financial statements. Audit reports are used by
investors, creditors and others who do not have direct access to an
organization's financial information. Currently, however, the qualifications
for those who do audits and assurance vary from province to province.
    Canada's CAs believe rigorous, internationally recognized and uniform
qualification standards for those who provide auditing and assurance services
are essential to safeguard the interests of Canadians, the economy and the
international reputation of our capital markets.
    "Developing uniform qualification standards for auditors across Canada
would ensure a consistently high quality auditing standard for all
businesses," said Dancey. Internationally recognized qualification standards
in auditing would protect small companies that do not have the resources to
evaluate if an accountant is qualified to provide quality audit and assurance
services. In addition, rigorous qualification standards would allow for the
continuation of existing agreements between Canada and other countries
promoting mobility for accounting professionals.
    "Canadians should be able to have confidence that everyone who performs
audits in this country has a consistently high level of qualification," Dancey
said. "Just as Canadians can rest assured that medical doctors have the
necessary training to protect their physical health, Canadian businesses and
individuals should be certain that the professionals who help protect their
financial health meet a consistently high level of qualification."

    The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), together with the
provincial, territorial and Bermuda Institutes/Ordre of Chartered Accountants,
represents a membership of approximately 72,000 CAs and 10,000 students in
Canada and Bermuda. The CICA conducts research into current business issues
and supports the setting of accounting, auditing and assurance standards for
business, not-for-profit organizations and government. It issues guidance on
control and governance, publishes professional literature, develops continuing
education programs and represents the CA profession nationally and
internationally. CICA is a founding member of the International Federation of
Accountants (IFAC) and the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA).





For further information:

For further information: Tobin Lambie, Manager, Media, CICA, (416)
204-3228, tobin.lambie@cica.ca

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Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants

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