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Professional Body & Professionalism - 1

Profession, Professional, Professional Body & Professionalism is a guest post by CMA B V Prabhakar. He will discuss on how accounting bodies IMA-USA, ICWAI-INDIA & ICSI-INDIA apply the above principles.

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Profession has different meanings – employment or trade that everyone has and exercises in public. The professions are occupations that require specialized knowledge, educational training, high-level control over the content of work, organization, self, altruism, the spirit of community service and high ethical standards.

Thus, Profession is a specialized activity of labour in a society, and the person who performs it is called : professional.

The essentials of a Professional are:
  • gains the expertise through training/certification more often through college or graduate degree such as psychology, law, medicine, nursing, architecture, accounting or engineering
  • who provides a service ensuring the result with a specified quality consistently
  • maintains high ethical standards


Professional Body

A professional body is a group of people in a learned occupation who are entrusted with maintaining control or oversight of the legitimate practice of the occupation.

Professional bodies play the following roles:
  1. They impart the necessary training and professional certification to indicate a person possesses qualifications in the subject area and often membership in a professional body is synonymous with certification.
  2. They act as a learned society contributing to continuous professional development so that they update their knowledge with latest techniques to ensure they deliver a service with a specified quality consistently.
  3. They are set up to safeguard the public interest. This is what gives them their legitimacy.
  4. Professional bodies enforce standards of ethics in their profession and have disciplinary mechanism to correct any deviations from the acceptable behaviour or conduct
  5. They act as a professional association (including legitimating restrictive practices) and represent the interest of their members
  6. They provide network opportunities among its members to share their knowledge and experiences for further uplifting of the profession. This could be through conducting regular seminars, professional development programs, and conventions.
  7. They conduct research in the area of their specialisation and help members in conducting the research activities
  8. They make publications in the areas of their specialisation such as Journals, Case studies, and articles.

In other words, Professional body strive to embody and enforce professionalism among its members.


Professionalism means just not possessing skills and competence to perform the professional duties but also meticulous adherence to undeviating courtesy, honesty, integrity, objectivity and responsibility in one's dealings with clients/customers and associates, plus a level of excellence that goes over and above the commercial considerations and legal requirements.

This series will explore how different bodies continue to promote professionalism. Part 2

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