ACCA calls for clarity over Brexit deal

Trade body says it is ‘disappointing’ to see barriers in the deal which ‘effectively mean the end of mutual recognition of professional qualifications, including those for accountancy’

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has “cautiously” welcomed the recent UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, but has called for “absolute clarity” about its impact on the accountancy profession in the UK, EU and globally.

While it said the agreement brings a “broad level of certainty” for businesses about the status of trade in goods and services, the movement of people and tariffs, it said it was “disappointing” to see barriers in the deal which “effectively means the end of mutual recognition of professional qualifications, including those for accountancy”.

In light of this, ACCA is “uncertain” how successful the mechanism for future mutual recognition agreements will be, but said it will “work tirelessly” to ensure its current and future MRAs are forged in the “best interest” of its members and the profession. 

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Helen Brand, chief executive of ACC, said: “For our members and future members, it’s welcome news that a deal has been agreed. While we anticipate opportunities ahead, there are still gaps – hence our cautious welcome.

“A significant gap is the status of financial services’ equivalence, with further negotiations to commence with a deadline set for 31 March. The deal also reveals major EU carve-outs about the scope for UK service providers to access their EU customers.”

She added: “What the UK economy and business needs is long-term certainty, especially as the headwinds of the pandemic continue to hit confidence. Negotiations will continue, and so ACCA will keep on advocating for common global standards, open access to the profession, and shared recognition of professional accountants across international borders.

“Now the deal has been announced we are reminding our members, operating in a regulated profession such as statutory audit, that if they want to have access to a regulated role in another country in the future they must check with the relevant competent authority.”

 The trade body added that its ACCA Qualification will continue to be relevant to the regulatory regime for statutory audit and accountancy in both the EU and the UK. 

The ACCA Qualification continues to be recognised nationally within the UK and Ireland for Statutory Audit, as well as in several European Economic Area (EEA) states. It is also recognised nationally within a number of EEA states for access to regulated accountancy bodies.

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