Ceisteanna—Questions Oral Answers - Accountancy Profession.

11.

asked the Minister for Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism if he will introduce legislation to regulate the position of over-fragmentation in the accountancy profession.

I have no plans for legislation in this area.

Would the Minister agree that there is no legal status for the profession of accountancy at this time and that it would be desirable to have the same or similar type of registration system as applies to the medical and legal professions?

I would be disposed not to get involved in this area rather than to get involved in it because I think the creation of restrictive professional status often tends to push up prices to the detriment of the consumer. As I said, my inclination would be not to intervene rather than to intervene because I fear that the creation of statutorily limited professions usually results in higher prices being charged for perfectly good services than would be charged if such a restriction did not exist.

Does the Minister not accept that as there is no legal recognition for the profession of accountancy — anybody can put a plate outside his door and practise as an accountant with no indemnification by way of insurance — that this can lead to an undesirable practice which should be regulated by law?

Anybody using the services of an accountant presumably has something to account for and they would only have acquired that if they had some sense. If they have sense they will inquire about the indemnity position in respect of the services being provided to them. Of course, it is open to the accountancy profession to set up a registration council if they wish to do so but that would not require statutory backing. We will be introducing important legislation which will impose additional responsibilities and duties on accountants in respect of the auditing of company accounts and of their general responsibilities in respect of companies.