Protecting the public interest? Continuing professional development policies and role-profession conflict in accountancy

Paisey, C. and Paisey, N. J. (2020) Protecting the public interest? Continuing professional development policies and role-profession conflict in accountancy. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 67-68, 102040. (doi: 10.1016/

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This paper adds to the literature on historic and current claims to a public interest mandate by professional accountants and their accountancy bodies by examining the insights offered by an analysis of continuing professional development (CPD) policies in the accountancy profession. The accountancy profession claims that these policies serve the public interest. Drawing on public interest theory, the paper examines how the profession has defined and limited the public interest via, and in relation to, CPD and the implications of the CPD policies when considering the profession’s claims to serve the public interest. The CPD policies of twelve professional accountancy bodies are reviewed. This reveals multiple dualisms (input or output, relevant to profession or relevant to current role, individual or employer-focused) and broad spectra (from more reflective to more prescribed and from core to peripheral accounting fields) resulting in multiple permutations that render CPD difficult to conceptualise. The result is that CPD in the accountancy profession exhibits contradictions that result in policies that are logically incoherent. The blurred distinction between a professional accountant’s responsibility as a member of a profession and as a person carrying out an occupational role limits the scope of CPD to adequately protect the public interest.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Paisey, Professor Catriona
Authors: Paisey, C., and Paisey, N. J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Accounting and Finance
Journal Name:Critical Perspectives on Accounting
ISSN (Online):1095-9955
Published Online:23 April 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Critical Perspectives on Accounting 67-68: 102040
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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