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‘Published accounts will always be like bikinis’ Back  
‘Published accounts will always be like bikinis - much more interesting for what they conceal than for what they reveal -regardless of more exacting accounting standards,' one of the unique expressions used by Charlie McCreevy In the six months since he assumed the role of Internal Markets Commissioner. Here we reprint some more of his words of wisdom.
On accountancy practices
‘Published accounts will always be like bikinis - much more interesting for what they conceal than for what they reveal -regardless of more exacting accounting standards.’
McCreevy took up the role of Internal Markets Commissioner in December 2004.

On the future for the EU
‘They say that in any relationship, love either deepens or dies. So it is within the EU. We must move forward or risk breaking up.’

On the EU’s strategy for financial services
‘But let me assure you, we are not going to base our policy on the Wild West and the survival of the fittest in the Last Chance Saloon. We will come forward with ideas in our Green Paper on our future strategy in financial services due to be published in May’.

On his chosen career path
‘But I am certainly happier to have qualified as an accountant than I think I would be if I had qualified as an economist. I don’t know why I veered towards accountancy rather than economics. Maybe because I could never see value in working for a qualification that would equip me to tell people tomorrow why the things I predicted yesterday didn’t happen today. Although having gone into politics subsequently, I did come to realise the value of being able to explain why the things that were promised the day before the election couldn’t be delivered the day after it.’

On regulation in the US
‘European industry has expressed growing concern about the de-listing and deregistration requirements in the US. Companies get the impression that entering the American capital market is like entering the famous Hotel California: “you can check in any time you like, but you can never leave”. To be fair, SEC is picking up on this issue now.’

On the funds industry
‘Second, we need to take fresh look at asset management. The FSAP stock-taking exercise has revealed that the current single market framework for investment funds is in need of considerable improvement. To be honest, it’s a bit of an old banger.’

On financial services integration
‘But I am also grateful for the more proactive role of the financial services industry. We are dependent on your input to tell us where you believe things are not working.... I appeal to you and all of the financial industry to be more active than in the past to help the Commission. If everyone behaves like blushing virgins in the corner – the prince, the prize will go elsewhere!’

On rating agencies
‘The rating agencies put issuers on watch. I want them to realise that it is they who are now on watch.’

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