A Look Inside IFAC’s Global Forum on Challenges and Opportunities Facing SMEs

Earlier this month more than 130 people from 35 countries attended the International Federation of Accountant’s (IFAC’s) first global forum focused on small and mid-sized entities (SMEs) and small and medium size accounting practices (SMPs).

“Small- and medium-sized enterprises drive economic growth, foster innovation and provide employment in developed and developing countries around the world. IFAC fully recognizes this role and is committed to supporting them at an international level,” IFAC President Graham Ward emphasized in a prepared statement. “The outcomes of the forum will be considered at the IFAC Board meeting in September so that we can proceed with acting on the recommendations that were presented.”

The forum was co-hosted by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and the Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants and provided an opportunity for national and regional accountancy organizations, representative of SMEs and SMPs, and internationnal standard setters, among others, to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing SMEs and SMPs and programs and initiatives that could best support them. Participants identified two significant challenges facing SMEs and SMPs:

  • SMEs need financial reporting standards that are appropriate for their users’ needs and reduce the associated cost of compliance.
  • SMPs should continue to explore new ways to support the growth and accountability of SMEs.

IFAC SMP Committee Chair Sylvie Voghel, who also chaired the forum, outlined IFAC’s approach to supporting SMPs. “The SMP Committee is taking a two-pronged approach to helping SMEs and SMPs converge and comply with international auditing and accounting standards. On the one hand, we are helping to shape the form and content of those standards and on the other, we are dedicated to providing practical assistance for SMPs and SMEs that have to use them.”

Current projects include publishing an International Standards on Auditing Guide for SMEs and developing a web-based knowledge resource for SMPs. Additionally, IFAC regularly responds to exposure drafts of international standard setters where an SMP or SME focus is needed. For more information about IFAC initiatives supporting SMPs and SMEs visit www.ifac.org.

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