There are such persons as liars, damned liars and experts, and there are accountants, bad accountants, and worse accountants. (Debate on the introduction of the Public Accountants Registration Act, New South Wales Parliament, 1944, p. 856) Both the state and the professions have an important interest in safeguarding the quality of service and the protection of the public with respect to the provision of professional services. In the main, the states focus on professional performance and accountability, and the professions emphasise the maintenance of quality and improvement in the skills of members. With respect to the accounting profession the state has taken two basic approaches to improving professional performance and accountability. The first approach, through imposed competencies embedded in various state registration Acts, regulates a minimum level of performance. The second approach addresses the issue of accountability through the imposition of specific standards of conduct, sanctions and reporting requirements ...