Accountancy services

While accounting and auditing services constitute the core activities of accountancy firms, a wide range of additional services may also be offered, most notably merger audits, insolvency services, tax advice, investment services and management consulting. The internal expertise developed by the profession in regard to information technology has resulted in accountancy firms becoming among the world's largest suppliers of such consultancy services.

Demand for accountancy services results from both mandatory legal requirements, such as financial reporting, as well as clients seeking advice on various issues, for example taxation. Although individuals are also consumers of accountancy services, the majority of work involves services to enterprises.


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Market access negotiations were conducted on accountancy under the Uruguay Round. A Ministerial Decision on Professional Services on 4 April 1995 established the Working Party on Professional Services (WPPS) and gave priority to work on the accountancy sector. In May 1997, the Guidelines for Mutual Recognition Agreements or Arrangements in the Accountancy Sector were adopted, followed in December 1998 by the Disciplines on Domestic Regulation in the Accountancy Sector. In April 1999, the WPPS was replaced by the Working Party on Domestic Regulation.


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Current commitments and exemptions

For consolidated information on countries’ commitments and exemptions on accountancy services go to the services database. If you are seeking the commitments of a specific WTO member, go to “Jump to a specific sector for a given Member”, select Professional Services from the sector dropdown list, select the Member of interest and click “go”. To see a table showing which Members have made commitments in accountancy services choose “See which Members have made commitments in a specific sector”, select Professional Services and click “go”.


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Current negotiations  

Accountancy is included in the new services negotiations, which began in January 2000. The principles of trade in accountancy services are contained, as for all services, in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS — see Article VI)


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Additional information

Search Documents Online
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  • Guidelines and decisions on disciplines relating to the accountancy sector adopted by the Council for Trade in Services (Document code S/L/* and “varies keywords”)  > search
  • General documents of the Working Party on Domestic Regulation on the Disciplines for the Accountancy Sector (Document code S/WPDR/* and keyword “accountancy”)  > search
  • General documents of the Working Party on Professional Services on the Disciplines for the Accountancy Sector (Document code S/WPPS/* and keyword “accountancy”)  > search
  • General documents on accountancy services (Document code varies)  > search

You can perform more sophisticated searches from the Documents Online search facility by defining multiple search criteria such as document symbol (i.e. code number), full text search or document date.


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Some useful links 

International Federation of Accountants

International Accounting Standards Board

Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR)

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Journal of Accountancy