Ministry Mulls New Accountancy Body

The Justice Ministry is exploring a revolution in the accountancy field by introducing a new body that would incorporate, inter alia, the Israel Accounting Standards Board, which would have the legal authority that the current board lacks.

Sources believe the preparatory work behind setting up such a body would take about a year. In the meantime, the Standards Board and the Accountants' Council would continue operating as usual.

Such a new entity has impressive supporters, including Aharon Abramavitz, director general of the Justice Ministry (and also head of the Accountants Council), and the Deputy Attorney General Didi Lachman-Messer. These two instigated talks on the subject, bringing in chairman of the Securities Authority Moshe Terry, who was also supportive.

Currently, the Securities Authority has the right to investigate accountants when there is suspicion of criminal activity. However, it has no status to investigate ethical issues, which lies with the Accountants Council.

"I support [the new body] in principle, subject to stringent checks of the decision-making process and the granting of appointments to members of the new body to be set up," Terry said.

The Justice Ministry responded, "There is no intention to abolish the Israeli Accounting Standards Board and to transfer its authority to the Accountants Council in its present guise.

The Justice Ministry, responsible for the arrangements of the accountancy profession, is exploring ways to determine the situation, and to promote the matter, with the full consultation of all interested parties, such as the Securities Authority and the Accountants professional bodies and, of course, the Finance Ministry."