The latest Edelman Trust Barometer, published today (Wednesday 18 October) to coincide with Global Ethics Day, found that of a range of professions, 89% of respondents in England said they trusted Chartered Accountants; only nurses ranked slightly higher, at 91%.
Trust in ICAEW has reached its highest rate, up 10 points to 79% since the research was most recently carried out in England in 2021. 
During economic uncertainty and the cost-of-living crisis, Chartered Accountants have also been important to most English businesses, the research found. Seven in 10 organisations said they had used Chartered Accountants to help them navigate uncertainty in this period, highlighting that the profession’s position as trusted businesses leaders has been consolidated in the past two years. 
Researchers found significant increases across almost all drivers of trust in England, across characteristics relating to integrity, purpose, ability and dependability.
Meanwhile, trust in chartered accountants and accountants more generally has also increased among respondents in England. 
Globally, the research found that trust in Chartered Accountants has reached 85% and is the only profession – aside from nursing – to see an uplift in trust. Trust in Chartered Accountants is now at its highest level since the survey began.
The research, commissioned by ICAEW in conjunction with Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) and other professional bodies, found that 78% of businesses view Chartered Accountants as crucial in addressing economic challenges. They are seen as data guardians by 81%, and responsible for data integrity and helping businesses combat misinformation by 77%.
Three-quarters of respondents suggested that Chartered Accountants are vital to businesses given the growth of misinformation, and 81% said members of the profession should be tech savvy.
Michael Izza, Chief Executive of ICAEW and Chairman of CAW, said:
“It is clear that the role of the Chartered Accountant has evolved far beyond the traditional numbers; they are trusted business leaders and advisors.
“Their expanding roles encompass resilience, data integrity, technology, and net zero transition, reflecting the evolving needs of businesses in today’s dynamic environment. Professional bodies play a crucial role in equipping their members to excel in these expanded capacities, thereby cementing their position as indispensable pillars of trust in the business world.
“As companies in England continue to grapple with inflation and high interest rates, it’s evident from this research that ICAEW members have played important roles to help navigate businesses navigate uncertainty, and I am pleased to see the trust that is placed in our members.”
Business leaders are now urging accountants to extend their role beyond finance by guiding on resilience, ethics, data integrity, and navigating AI, technology, and ESG matters, CAW said, with trust in accountants increasingly tied to the profession’s advocacy on social and environmental issues. Professional bodies can play a pivotal role in supporting their members as vocal advocates for ESG, providing resources, and fostering partnerships to ensure ethical considerations drive decision-making, it added.
To meet these growing expectations, Chartered Accountants need to engage in broader discussions about resilience and digital transformation.
Notes to editors:
CONTACT: ICAEW media office at email@example.com or 07557 161315
- In 2021, trust in ICAEW stood at 69%.
- 83% of respondents said Chartered Accountants have the skills to navigate a new operating environment in the future, while 82% said Chartered Accountants play a vital role in helping businesses adapt to new challenges.
- The number of respondents trusting accountants increased from 73% to 83% between 2021 and 2023; trust in Chartered Accountants increased from 72% to 89% in the same period.
- The research was conducted by Edelman Dxl, with 1,351 people interviewed in England, Wales, Scotland, Singapore, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Interviews were carried out between 30 March and 6 June 2023.
- There were 400 respondents in England.