The voice of the profession: Mark Peterson

Executive vice-president – Advocacy

Mark Peterson

‘All of our members are experiencing a proliferation of issues and pace of change that will not slow.’

Our Association provides a unique opportunity to be a leading voice of the profession — to advocate for both management and public accounting throughout the world, reaffirming confidence in the profession and upholding the public interest.

The UK's Kingman review, which is examining the role, powers, and governance of the Financial Reporting Council — the UK's independent regulatory body for auditors, accountants, and actuaries — is a prime example. CIMA has participated in roundtables and submitted written evidence to the review, which is due to report at the end of this year.

Within business, all of our members are experiencing a proliferation of issues and pace of change that will not slow. Regulators across the world are grappling with many of the same challenges, including cybersecurity, cryptocurrencies, and evolving tax regimes within the global economy. We help make sense of these complex issues. Part of what we do is educate policymakers about policies' real-world impact and, more generally, about what we do and how we do it.

The Association also has a broad educational role in creating awareness of ACMA, FCMA, CGMA, and CPA amongst stakeholders including employers, students, and governments. We seek out opportunities to make sure our designations are recognised, either by statute or in practical ways. This is an issue that surfaces high up in member surveys. For example, we are currently working to ensure the continued recognition of our qualifications in the European Union after the UK leaves the EU.

Beyond that, we have a translation role. We need to use our management and public accounting expertise to make what are often highly technical subject areas more understandable. We also need to navigate what can sometimes be fractious and intense public policy debates. The goal is to make certain we are contributing to solutions. For example, in the US, the tax bill that passed in December 2017 contained the most significant changes to the US tax code since 1986. We contributed to the debate and helped shape the outcome. Now, we are actively working to ensure clear and swift guidance on implementation. Needless to say, this tax law's impact extends well beyond the US. Multinationals and other countries are working out how to respond to the reduction of the US corporate tax rate.

Making sure our members are reskilled and young people coming through have the right skills is a massive current public policy discussion, and we are actively participating in it. UK apprenticeships are one example of an area where the public policy debate has moved forward and the profession is rising to meet the skills gap.

We also have an important role to play on cybersecurity. Consumers and investors need assurance that the companies they buy from or invest in have assessed and mitigated their cybersecurity risks. The accountancy profession is in a unique position to provide such assurance.

Businesses crave certainty — and our profession is no different in that regard. The Association wants to prepare members for the impact of volatility so that they can continue to serve their organisations, businesses, and clients, and the public interest, more effectively than ever before.