In brief: Report sounds warning to accountants

Accountants are being warned to diversify to meet the growing competitive threat from lawyers and other professionals. A report by the Institute of Chartered Accountants 2005 working party predicts that audit work income will continue to fall with new technology and that the big six firms could become a “big five” or even a “big four” because of competitive pressure. But it identifies insolvency work as an area where lawyers will make few in-roads, and internal audit and new types of multi-disciplinary audit as providing new employment opportunities. Specialists in tax planning and corporate finance will be in particular demand, it predicts. According to the report: “Competition for corporate finance work will also come from high-quality MBA graduates and the major law firms. American experience suggests that lawyers could become a significant competitive force.”