THE Malaysian Institute of Accountants wants the public and authorities to stop blaming auditors whenever a company collapses.  Malaysian Institute of Accountants president Abdul Rahim Abdul Hamid said the trend right now is that when a company face financial problems, the public and authorities automatically point their fingers at some of the country’s 27,000 registered accountants.

“This is uncalled for because the crime is perpetrated by some business people, company directors or the preparers of the financial statements.

“There are many parties involved and from the start they want to cheat or simply aspire to become crooks by manipulating the accounts to hide fraud activities.

“When that happens, it is not the fault of the accountants who do not prepare the financial statements,” Abdul Rahim told Business Times in an interview recently.

Abdul Rahim said the wrong picture has been painted to portray accountants as incompetent when in the first place, they do not even spend that much time in the troubled company’s office.

He said the current practice during a financial crisis is that auditors are called first to the Securities Commission, Bursa Malaysia, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission or the police when, by right, the directors and preparers of the accounts should be hauled up first.

He, however, does not deny there are some bad hats out there but the number is small.

“I’m not saying auditors are entirely free of some degree of responsibility but the public also need to be fairer to us.”

The institute is holding meetings with the Securities Commission to dispel the perception but Abdul Rahim declined to reveal details as discussions are ongoing.

He said the institute plans to hold more media briefings in the future to stop the negative portrayal of accountants.

Abdul Rahim said to be a good auditor, the person should have a strong grip on the sector which the company is involved in.

“This way, the accountant is not only good in his field but also well versed in the company’s operations such as construction, property or others.”

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