Magazine article Public Finance

Still Counting after 30 Years

Magazine article Public Finance

Still Counting after 30 Years

Article excerpt

The International Federation of Accountants is 30 this year. All over the world, its 2.5 million accountants have been joining in the celebrations, which culminated in this week's Ifac Council meeting in Mexico City.

CIPFA was one of the founding members of the federation in October 1977. Along with 62 other professional accountancy bodies from 51 countries, it signed the constitution establishing Ifac at the Eleventh World Congress of Accountants in Munich.

Thirty years later, the federation has 155 member bodies in 120 countries.

From the start, CIPFA has been an active contributor to Ifac's standards development work. Today, three institute members sit on Ifac boards: the chair of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board, and members of the Professional Accountants in Business Committee and the Developing Nations Committee. Ifac chief executive Ian Ball is also a CIPFA member.

The federation has two clear commitments over the coming years - continuing to strengthen public confidence in the profession and encouraging innovation and flexibility so the profession can respond to the future demands that society will place upon it.

Furthermore, it wants to be recognised as the international standard-setter in auditing and assurance, education, ethics and governmental financial reporting and to be the international voice of the accounting profession.

When we consider the impact Ifac has had over the past 30 years, these objectives do appear realistic. The federation initiated the development of International Financial Reporting Standards. Although the International Accounting Standards Board is now independent, IFRS are increasingly a global requirement.

The introduction of International Standards on Auditing has also brought greater consistency in the profession. In the UK, ISAs were uniformly adopted in the public and private sectors from 2005. This means that public service audit in the UK is now in accordance with Ifac standards.

The standards set by the IPSASB are now increasingly influencing developments in public sector accounting. Notably, the UK Accounting Standards Board took account of its work when developing its Sfafemenf of Principles for Financial Reporting: Interpretation for Public Benefit Entities. CI PFA was a significant contributor to this work.

Operationally, all members of Ifac are required to sign up to the Statement of Membership Obligations. …

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