CA magazine: April 2021
Trust is the building block of the economy. Put simply, customers trust suppliers to provide products of quality; suppliers trust customers to pay accordingly.
In reality, the relationship is far more complex. From procurement to supply chain, customers expect firms to make ethical decisions based on the world around them. If trust ebbs, the economy’s gears begin to grind and progress slows. And that’s where financial professionals have an important role to play.
The world is in a precarious position. The 2021 edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer found only 51% trust the media, 53% the government and 57% NGOs. But business is the bright spark: 61% trust business, 76% their own employer, and business is more trusted than government in 18 of the 27 surveyed countries.
There is a clear opportunity for business to embrace its role as a trustworthy institution and build on the expectations of customers. ICAS members know that business can act as a source of credible information, and we’ve also seen in recent years how it can powerfully align itself with social values. It all shows that business can be a trusted voice in public debate, one that can be relied upon to help to change things for the better.
At ICAS, we want to support you and your firm in this journey. We’ve taken several steps to build trust in the accountancy profession and share the important role CAs can play. Our revised Code of Ethics includes commitments to equality, diversity and inclusion, building on the growing remit of business. The standards team’s paper, “Recalibrating the corporate ecosystem”, anticipated much of the UK government’s recent announcement reshaping audit and corporate reporting, in particular enhancing director accountability, as Michelle Mullen explains in this issue (p6).
Most recently, ICAS has worked with Chartered Accountants Worldwide to create the Difference Makers campaign, which aims to demonstrate the value of CAs to both business audiences and future students. The core message is that they possess the technical skill, business knowhow and lived experience necessary to propel businesses forward. CAs are difference makers and, by sharing the message, we will build that all-important trust.
It’s something we hope to communicate with each issue of CA magazine. And, in this issue, we take a deeper look at the many forms that trust can take in business. As always, we hope you enjoy the magazine.