No Long Weekend For International Accountants

While most Americans were enjoying a long Memorial Day weekend, more than 300 delegates of the banking, finance and accounting industries around the world gathered for the World Accounting Summit held this year in Dubai. One of the main topics of discussion at this first meeting is the global alignment of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and their implications for improved corporate governance.

“Having a multiplicity of accounting, auditing and other standards around the world is against the public interest,” Graham Ward, President of the U.S.-based International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) told AME Info. “A multiplicity of accounting creates confusion, encourages error and facilitates fraud. The cure for these ills is to have a single set of international standards, of the highest quality, set in the public interest by an international expert body, which transparently consults with and recognizes the legitimate interests of the international community.”

In his statement opening the World Accounting Summit, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) president Obeid Al Tayer described the accounting industry as the “backbone of business” according to AME Info.

IFRS have been adopted by more than 100 countries so far, including all countries listed in the European Union. During the course of the Summit, the challenges and benefits of IFRS will be discussed from multiple perspectives including: banks, regulatory agencies, business and, of course, accounting.

IFRS would go a long way in rebuilding the credibility of an industry that has still not fully recovered from the international corporate scandals of Enron, WorldCom, Parmalat and others, if it is properly developed and enforced. Noting that work remains in restoring public confidence, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, President of the Arab Society of Certified Accountants, called for effective regulation of the accounting profession.

“The reforms proposed so far are based on the traditional model of the accounting profession, which has, as [sic] at its roots, the concept of self-regulation. I believe that the movement away from self-regulation is inevitable and instead of resisting it the profession should embrace it, otherwise we will face continuous demands for more regulation and a plethora of regulatory bodies,” Abu-Ghazaleh told the Khaleej Times.

The World Accounting Summit concludes June 1.

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