Call for Chartered Accountants to build on position of trust and lead on future challenges

Rebuilding Trust Edelman Trust Event

Tuesday 2 November 2021:
The Chartered Accountancy profession must use its position of trust to act on tackling the challenges of the recovery after Covid-19 and on building towards a sustainable future. This was the call from an event with panelists across the world, held to launch results of a survey into international business leaders’ trust in Chartered Accountants.

According to the research from Chartered Accountants Worldwide and Edelman Data and Intelligence (DXI), trust in the profession remains strong after the turmoil of the Covid-19 pandemic: 1,450 business decision makers consider Chartered Accountants as among the most trusted professionals, catching up to doctors, engineers, nurses and teachers, and ahead of groups including the legal profession and politicians. Chartered Accountants are the most trusted finance professionals, ahead of bankers, financial advisors, economists and insurance brokers.

Performance on integrity has improved since 2019, but scrutiny has also increased, with transparency more important in driving trust in Chartered Accountancy professionals.

Rebuilding Trust

A majority of business decision makers (84%) believe Chartered Accountants have the skills and expertise to make business thrive today, and 81% are confident in Chartered Accountants’ ability to navigate a new operating environment in the future. At the same time, there is a growing expectation that they must also follow up with action: 85% of financial decision makers say it is important that Chartered Accountants professionals demonstrate a track record of helping businesses thrive.

Most respondents (70%) see Chartered Accountants as credible spokespeople on societal issues such as sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion. But they also expect accountants to follow through by driving sustainable environmental practices within businesses, and doing more to foster diversity, equity and inclusion practices.

Speaking at today’s event, Chartered Accountants Worldwide chairman Michael Izza said: “Chartered accountants are the first port of call for many businesses and saved many livelihoods during the pandemic. Over the next ten years, chartered accountants will play a leading role in tackling critical problems including climate change, which is one of the biggest challenges humanity has faced. As problem solvers, chartered accountants can be counted on to find solutions to the world’s most complex economic and moral issues, including global warming and net zero.”

At the launch event, Carolyn Colley, Non-Executive Director at the Australian Securities Exchange, said there will be a changed role for Chartered Accountants in many areas of business and society, such as tackling emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, all aspects of ESG [environmental, social and governance], and managing ever-growing volumes of information. “I don’t think there’s anyone better positioned to manage and govern data because it’s what we have been doing since the dawn of time. We’re not going to be seen as the leader in any of those areas unless we have the underlying position of trust.”

Also speaking at the launch, Ronan Dunne, EVP and Group CEO at Verizon Consumer described the survey findings as a “call to action” to the profession. “The fundamental challenge for our economy and society is one of leadership and I think the role that Chartered Accountants Worldwide can play is to be the stamp of authority and credibility for the next generation of leaders.”

Full playback of the launch event can be found at this link:




Edelman DXI began working with Chartered Accountants Worldwide in 2018 to track the attitudes of senior financial decision makers, but this marks the first time the results have been made publicly available. It surveyed 1,450 business leaders across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.



Carolyn Colley, Non-Executive Director at CA ANZ:

“There are a lot of things where the accounting profession will have a part to play: the impact of emerging technologies and how that’s shaping society and particularly the job market. Understanding the ethical challenges of technologies like artificial intelligence; we have got a role to play in all aspects of E, S and G [environmental, social and governance].”


Freeman Nomvalo, CEO of the South Africa Institute of Chartered Accountants spoke about how the profession must develop the skills to be able to navigate challenges the future will bring.

“The profession needs to spend more time developing what we call enabling competencies because the environment is complex and uncertain and ambiguous, so you need professionals to be able to navigate that environment. We should focus on investing in the competencies that our members are going to need for the future if they are going to be relevant.” 


Ronan Dunne, EVP and Group CEO at Verizon Consumer:

“The reality of chartered accountants is that the majority work in industry, not in the profession, and many of them, like myself, work not necessarily in financial roles. But there is clear credibility for members of the profession in relation to trust, ethics, and business performance.”