Практика МСФЗ 27 липня, 2020

«Ideally, society should see the profession as crucial to the fight against corruption and money laundering»

The activities of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) have intensified, and we see important initiatives in the areas of globalization of reporting, the fighting against financial crime, the dissemination of ESG-approaches, and the improvement of SME accounting.
Joseph Bryson, IFAC's Director of Quality and Development, shares his thoughts on current issues in the development of the accounting profession.



Joseph Bryson Director, Quality & Development at IFAC


You think that the accounting profession has great prospects. The guarantee of this is the effective usage of new technologies by accountants. What percentage of accounting community be able to successfully adapt to the new economic reality?

J. B.:  Yes, I think the accountancy profession, including both accountants and auditors, has great prospects, especially as an inclusive, multi-pathway vocation for people with any background. I don’t think any single competency or skillset provides a “future-proof” guarantee. The key to adapting is adaptability, which requires a concerted focus and intention to learn and develop skills that serve the needs of clients, stakeholders, the labor market, and the economy. The accountancy community or workforce can be segmented in multiple ways. We can look at the age demographics or where people are in their career. We can also look at the type of work people do. Another important segmentation to consider is whether an accountant has a professional designation and is a member of a professional accountancy organization, and specifically a member of IFAC. Maintaining a professional accountancy designation as a member of an IFAC member means that the accountant is constantly updating skills for the market through continual professional development or CPD and, very importantly, is being held accountable to the international Code of Ethics. In my view, the best way for an accountant to ensure her or his greatest chance for success is to belong to an institution that is committed to quality, progress, and ethics.

 The rapid spread of anti-money laundering requirements exacerbates ethical issues for accountants. Some accountants are concerned about their new role in this environment. Will this lead to a change in the perception of the profession by society?

J. B.:   Ideally, society should see the profession as crucial to the fight against corruption and money laundering. IFAC believes strongly that serving the public interest by fighting corruption, including money laundering, is central to the accountancy profession’s activities. IFAC sets out it’s point of view in Fighting Corruption and Money Laundering, which includes comments to the G20’s Anti-Corruption Action Plan 2019-2021. Recently, IFAC and CPA Canada produced a report analyzing best approaches to beneficial ownership transparency, which is introduced in an article As Financial Crimes Grow during the Pandemic, Accounting Groups Address Key Piece of AML Action.

 The IFAC is also developing international standards for accounting education. Are International Accounting Education Standards a Universal Way? Is it necessary to take into account different levels of economic development of countries and different national traditions?

 J. B.:  IESs assist professional accountancy organizations, regulators, employers, academics, and students as principles for professional accountants’ learning and development. They provide IFAC member organizations and other stakeholders with a common reference point or benchmark. Globally accepted standards should minimize differences among countries and jurisdictions, thus reducing international differences in the requirements to qualify and work as a professional accountant. In addition, they should increase the opportunity for mobility of labor, and in doing so, contribute to the global economy. It is necessary when adopting and applying the IES, as with any international standard, for those authorities responsible to take into consideration the economic context and needs. For example, advanced financial accounting competencies such as those required around initial public offerings for capital markets may not be one that is needed for some jurisdictions. The IES account for this and provide guidance that the competency framework and learning outcomes should be designed to support the needs of the economy where the professional accountants work. The World Bank recently produced a useful guide called Competency-Based Accounting Education, Training, and Certification: An Implementation Guide to help national standard setters. For information on how the various jurisdictions and IFAC members are adopting the IES, I encourage readers again to visit our website. I also encourage readers to use the IFAC Accountancy Education E-tool that helps accountancy education stakeholders navigate and access key principles and related implementation support in the last para.

№ 7, 2020  (с. 18)
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