Trust restoration
Edelman Research Results

Edelman Research Results

South African Chartered Accountants lead in global trustworthiness

SAICA is proud to announce that South African Chartered Accountants [CAs(SA)] have earned the top position in a groundbreaking global professional trust survey conducted by Edelman, a respected research firm, on behalf of Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW).

Over 1 300 participants in eight global markets took part in the survey including South Africa, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Fieldwork was conducted between the 30th of March and the 6th of June 2023.

This is a major accolade for SAICA and the profession that continues to work tirelessly to maintain and improve auditing and professional services standards, as well as promote ongoing transformation seen as vital to the growth of the South African economy. We believe the ranking will go a long way to enhance the market standing of our members as well as attract new talent to the profession.

In the research, SAICA is also recognised as one of the world’s leading accounting institutes, providing a wide range of support services to its members and associates.

The survey from its inception in 2018, says trust in Chartered Accountants worldwide has exhibited remarkable growth, spiking by seven points since 2021. While trust in other global financial professions has been wavering, Chartered Accountants have managed to carve a niche for themselves, and this is particularly noteworthy in South Africa where the trust score has moved from 85% to 96% in the past two years.

Here is a summary of the results:

Methodology and Sample

The research was conducted by Edelman DxI, an independent market research firm, in partnership with CAW.

How: 15-minute online survey

Who we spoke to: Financial decision makers (Director+) within businesses

Where: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand

When: Fieldwork was conducted between 30th March and the 6th of June 2023

Sample size: 1,351 total participants across 8 markets:

  • England = 400
  • Wales = 101
  • Scotland = 150
  • Republic of Ireland = 200
  • Northern Ireland = 50
  • South Africa = 200
  • Australia = 125
  • New Zealand = 125

Trust is made up of 4 strategic dimensions

Trust in CA designations

Chartered Accountants trusted to shape the future of business

0% indicates that the institute did not take part in the research that year.

Trust in CA institutes

0% indicates that the institute did not take part in the research that year.

Trust in auditors

Percentage who say the value CAs provide could not be replaced by automated systems

Percentage of business decision-makers who say CAs help businesses to navigate economic uncertainty

View the full press release

Chartered Accountants trusted to shape the future of business

The latest Edelman Trust Barometer reveals a significant increase in trust (85%) in Chartered Accountants amid ongoing economic uncertainty, making them trusted advisors alongside nurses. 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.

78% of businesses view Chartered Accountants as crucial in addressing economic challenges. To meet these growing expectations, Chartered Accountants need to engage in broader discussions about resilience and digital transformation. They are seen as data guardians (81%) responsible for data integrity and helping businesses combat misinformation (77%).

Professional bodies and governments' collaboration can enhance their ability to tackle data-related issues. Additionally, Chartered Accountants are expected to be tech-savvy navigators (81%), necessitating universal training and resources for technology adoption.

Furthermore, trust in accountants is increasingly tied to their advocacy on social and environmental issues. ESG considerations are now central to business strategies, and Chartered Accountants must be well-prepared to engage in purpose-led conversations. 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. This evolving landscape demands Chartered Accountants to step up, speak out, and expand their role as trusted advisors.

Trust: Making the Difference

Foundations & impacts of Chartered Accountants’ trusted roles in society

The Chartered Accountancy profession, spanning nearly two centuries, prioritises accuracy, integrity, and the public interest. In today's tech-driven world, trust extends to non-financial data like sustainability. This publication spotlights how Chartered Accountants maintain trust among stakeholders. They uphold ethical standards, emphasise education, and adapt to evolving business and tech trends. Chartered Accountants are steadfast in serving the public interest and sustaining earned trust, as shown by the Edelman Trust Barometer.

Evaluating trust in the accountancy sector for chartered accountants

Given the growing scrutiny of the accountancy profession, this study was conducted to assist CAW in understanding and monitoring public perceptions. Across four waves, the study has evolved:

  • In CAW1 2018, it established a solid baseline and assessed the trust landscape.
  • CAW2 2019 offered recommendations for enhancing trust in members and Chartered Accountancy Professional Bodies.
  • CAW3 2021 delved into trust levels and the expectations of business leaders regarding Chartered Accountants and Professional Bodies in the context of COVID-19 and Brexit.

Now in its fourth iteration, the study concentrated on current topics relevant to the business world. These topics included economic uncertainty, the cost-of-living crisis, addressing misinformation, digitalization, automation, and the increasing importance of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations.

SAICA did not take part in CAW2 in 2019.