Press Releases/News Alerts
May 04, 2009
IFAC President Robert Bunting Says Government Bailouts Bring International Public Sector Accounting Standards to the Forefront
Speaking at the Higher Education Forum of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) in Miami, FL, on April 26, 2009, Robert L. Bunting, President of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), described the enormous changes happening as a result of the global financial crisis and explained why convergence and implementation of international standards is needed to rebuild and sustain the global financial system.
"We are rapidly moving to one world in accounting, auditing, and corporate governance," emphasized Mr. Bunting, adding, "IFAC is expediting the development of standards and guidance on key issues, such as going concern, fair value, financial instruments, and corporate governance-and other issues that have been raised as a result of the crisis-so accountants worldwide operate on a level playing field."
He pointed out that government bailouts of the financial and automotive industries are also resulting in calls for greater accountability and transparency on the part of governments, and indicated that governments can achieve this by adopting International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs). "Convergence to international public sector accounting standards, which has proceeded at a slower pace than convergence to those in the private sector, is now urgent," Mr. Bunting emphasized. Such standards are used by the United Nations, NATO, IFAC, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, are supported and promoted by the World Bank, and are already used by many governments around the world.
Mr. Bunting called on university leaders to broaden their curriculum to address the growing need for convergence to international standards: "Teaching only US GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) handcuffs students to the US economy. Academic institutions must incorporate International Standards on Auditing, IPSASs, and International Financial Reporting Standards into their accounting curriculum."
Bunting's comments on international standards were part of a presentation about the future of the accounting profession and how universities must broaden their view of what students need-and what the world needs-from accountants.
IFAC (www.ifac.org) is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of 158 members and associates in 123 countries, representing more than 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce. In addition to setting international public sector financial reporting standards through the IPSASB, IFAC, through its independent standard-setting boards, sets ethics, auditing and assurance, and education standards. It also issues guidance to encourage high-quality performance by professional accountants in business.