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CPA: Why Regulation of Professional Accountants Matters

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Professionals have a major role in the functioning of our society and economy. Their work has an influence on our lives. We need to trust in their competence and integrity.

If you need an operation, you want to know that the surgeon has the right credentials, up-to-date skills, and knowledge to carry out your procedure correctly.

The same applies with accountants. By law, those individuals that reside in Bermuda and hold themselves out to be professional or public accountants, are required to be a member of CPA Bermuda, the regulatory body for accountants on island.

Qualifications and designations indicate that a professional is highly educated and extensively trained. CPA Bermuda reviews all applications for membership to ensure applicants are members in good standing with their home institution prior to joining CPA Bermuda. This is part of our role in protecting the public.

With ongoing changes in accountancy rules and standards, as the regulator we want to maintain trust in the accounting profession and ensure that members’ skills and training are fully up to date. That is why annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a requirement of membership.

CPA Bermuda also has a comprehensive code of professional conduct that sets out in detail a member’s responsibilities to clients, the public and colleagues, reflecting high ethical standards. An accountant who acts unethically may cause harm to the public and damages the integrity of the profession. Our rules of professional conduct carry more weight than a set of guidelines, given that CPA Bermuda is empowered by law to deal with complaints against members and impose sanctions on those found to have fallen short of those standards.

Complaints can be sent to our Professional Conduct Committee and if grounds are found, they are passed on to our Discipline Committee. Where professional misconduct is proven, the tribunal, under the Chartered Professional Accountants of Bermuda Act 1973, may impose reprimands, fines, suspensions, revocation of membership, or practice restrictions. It may also order those sanctions be published in the media.

For CPA Bermuda to protect and serve the public interest and fulfill our regulatory role, all professional accountants who live and work on the island are required by law to be members. We are aware of some individuals who are not members and are holding themselves out as professional accountants in Bermuda and using accounting designations.

In Bermuda, holders of any professional accounting designation are only permitted to use their designation if they are current members in good standing with CPA Bermuda.

Although we are  primarily a regulatory body with a mandate to protect the public, we have been working on increasing public awareness, expanding the benefits of membership, increasing member engagement, and initiatives to teach young Bermudians about the profession and how obtaining a professional accounting designation can open the doors to a fulfilling, diverse and rewarding career.

Our intention is that all qualified accountants residing and working in Bermuda understand the requirements of joining CPA Bermuda and how it will serve their interests by being part of the mission: to enhance the influence, relevance and value of the accounting profession in Bermuda by protecting the public interest and supporting the members and students with skills and resources to excel.

For more information, visit www.cpabermuda.bm or email [email protected]da.bm

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