IFAC group starts planning for improved public sector financial reporting

28 Apr 15

An International Federation of Accountants group formed to encourage better public sector financial reporting has met for the first time to devise a global plan to improve transparency.

The Accountability Now programme has brought the accountancy profession together with civil society organisations and international bodies in a bid to improve the accountability of public finances across the world.

Speaking at the first meeting of the coalition in New York yesterday, IFAC chief executive Fayez Choudhury said poor public sector financial management could lead to economic stagnation, exacerbate social problems and widen the gulf between a government and its citizens.

‘IFAC initiated Accountability Now to help drive awareness of the critical need for high-quality, transparent, comparable public sector financial reporting, and the importance of engaging citizens in the process of holding governments to account,’ he said.

‘Some of the world’s poorest countries have the most to gain from having high-quality government reporting to better manage scarce public sector resources, attract investment, and promote accountability. IFAC will be focusing much of its efforts on helping these countries implement strategies to embrace high-quality reporting, based on International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and encourage citizens to be part of the fiscal process.’

Choudhury added that using IPSAS to understand the true costs of government services, including all assets and liabilities, was central to good government and global growth.

‘This is an issue that should be of concern to everyone, not just accountants and that’s the exciting part of Accountability Now,’ he added.

‘The coalition represents a range of different organisations with the skills and experience to help push for a better social contract between governments and their citizens, at a time when there is enormous pressure on governments to work with tighter budgets and deliver better social outcomes.’

In addition to the accountancy profession – represented in the group by both IFAC and the Big 6 accountancy firms – the coalition includes the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency, which has the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group among its members.

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