With the social media era upon us, and the abundance of different digital platforms, news is accessible to anyone and everyone with just a tap. Hence, with this much information accessible to the public the question arises, is it all true? Does it give the whole picture?
Freedom of speech and consequently media, is one of the most basic human rights and the foundation our society has been built on. More than ever, clients and the public demand to be included in the debate over accountability and reliability within the financial sector.
The media gives them this power of becoming aware of the risks associated with inaccurate reporting. It is the right of the people to know the results of the use of public resources.
The accountancy profession has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent times. There has been widespread criticism due to the lack of scepticism, with the media reporting extensively on allegations of financial misconduct.
With the wealth of information and the overwhelming quantity of news outlets available, it has become increasingly difficult to lay out all facts and give a truthful and honest picture to the public.
With various media outlets reporting the same news in several different ways and their tendency to sensationalise news, it is natural to expect a certain level of inaccuracy in the details provided. Hence, it has become more and more essential for the truth to be heard.
There is no denial of the need for scrutiny or the importance of media in all our lives or even holding our profession liable for the mistakes made, however it is crucial that the correct information is made available to the public.
The only way to protect the truth is transparency.
The profession needs to use the media to their advantage and take control of the narrative of the accountancy industry. The industry as a whole, need to acknowledge their shortcomings, learn from their mistakes and try their best to go forth and do better. They must be accountable to the public by providing access to information that restores public confidence.
It is time to step up and reform by making significant changes in leadership and governance.
More than any other profession, accounting is synonymous with quality, integrity, objectivity and independence. Hence, it is the responsibility of the legislators, regulators, standard‐setting bodies, the business community, and the accounting profession as a whole to restore the public’s faith.
This industry simply does not work without the public’s trust.