Have you considered giving something back to the profession? We are recruiting members to sit on our regulatory and disciplinary committees.
A professional body exists to support its members and ensure they are respected and trusted. Integral to that trust is a robust regulatory process that includes independent adjudication. So when ACCA receives a complaint against a member, or a member or firm is considered to have fallen short of the required standard, the regulatory processes that ensue are of the utmost importance.
ACCA investigates complaints, monitors the performance of practising firms and, where appropriate, arranges for hearings to take place. But regulatory decisions and findings must be made independently of the ACCA executive – by regulatory and disciplinary committees. For example, decisions to restrict members’ authorisation to practise are made by an Admissions and Licensing Committee; findings of misconduct are made by a Disciplinary Committee.
Committees are drawn from a panel; panel members are also eligible to sit on the Appeal Committee, Health Committee and Interim Orders Committee. Committees must comprise at least three people, and require a lay majority (ie at least two members of the committee are non-accountants). But an accountant is also required to sit on the committee to provide relevant expertise. In certain cases, expertise in a particular area of practice (such as audit) is needed.
Of course, ACCA must ensure it has the right people on the panel at any point in time. This is the responsibility of ACCA’s Appointments Board – a board of independent decision-makers (all lay people) that has the power to appoint and remove panel members and that appraises their performance. Each panel member is initially on a contract of up to five years (which may be renewed up to a total of 10 years).
Committee members come from a variety of backgrounds, and those who are accountants work in various different sectors. But they share a commitment to maintaining professional standards and understand what it means to make regulatory decisions in the public interest. All panel members are bound by a code of conduct, which makes clear the importance of principles such as integrity and objectivity.
Panel members eligible to sit on ACCA committees are expected to do so approximately 12 to 15 times a year – sufficient to maintain competence but not so frequently that it interferes with other responsibilities. They are also expected to attend occasional meetings and training sessions.
Fees and expenses are paid for attending hearings and meetings. In addition, committee members say they gain a great deal from the role. ‘To judge on people’s future careers is no small responsibility,’ says one panel member. ‘We have to make a judgement in the best interests of the profession while giving due regard to the public interest. This is what I have enjoyed the most – a sense of real ownership and responsibility in promoting fairness.’
Opportunities coming up
In April, ACCA will embark on a recruitment exercise, which will include a number of committee chairmen and accountant committee members. Find out more now. You can also browse information on our website about committees and hearings.
Tamara Etzmuss-Noble – operations manager, ACCA’s Standards department