Newsletters & eNews
Apr 11, 2013
New York, New York
SMP eNews: Sustainability Challenges and Opportunities
Welcome to IFAC's Small and Medium Practices (SMP) Committee eNews.
In This Issue:
STANDARDS AND REGULATION
RESOURCES AND EVENTS
Small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs) might think that sustainability is only relevant to large companies. Maybe they think they cannot afford to be sustainable, that measuring and managing environmental performance amounts to a costly and unnecessary burden. Moreover their accountants, both those employed by the business (accountants in business) and those providing services to the business (accountants in practice), will tell you it is a hard sell getting SMEs to embrace sustainability. However, SMEs that integrate sustainability into their core business strategy can benefit from lower costs, reduced risk, and new opportunities. And their accountants, typically operating in SMPs, can play a key role in their journey.
SMEs and the Benefits of Sustainability
SMEs are crucially important to the health and stability of the global economy: they account for over 95% of all businesses and for the majority of private sector gross domestic product (GDP), wealth and employment creation, and social and environmental impacts. Meanwhile, there is immense pressure on the natural environment and a recognition that finite resources are fast depleting. Today, SMEs are increasingly being faced with pressure to measure and manage their impact on the environment. They are an integral part of the supply chain where there is a growing demand for sustainability management both from customers and suppliers, especially for those SMEs seeking to secure contracts with governments or larger companies. SMEs also need to ensure they have access to the resources they need to be able to continue offer their products and services in the future.
That said, many SMEs may still feel they can delay addressing sustainability issues. Our global SMP poll indicates there are other more urgent issues preoccupying businesses, including economic concerns and keeping up with new standards, prompting sustainability to slide down their list of priorities. This may explain why few SMPs are presently offering sustainability services. But in the longer term, the sustainability issue is here to stay.
The second edition of the Good Practice Checklist for Small Business is now available. This multi-part checklist features a new standalone section on environmental management. Other sections cover financial and strategic management tasks and regulatory requirements, among others. The checklist is meant primarily for SMPs as a marketing or diagnostic tool to help them determine the advice a small business client may need, and also to help them in managing their own businesses. Six translations of the checklist have either been completed or are in progress. See the Translations Database for more information. To access additional SMP resources (all free of charge) see the curated sustainability links on our Delicious page and the SMP area of the IFAC website www.ifac.org/SMP.
STANDARDS AND REGULATION
The comment period for the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB)’s Consultation Paper, A Framework for Audit Quality, will close on May 15, 2013. Through the proposed framework, the IAASB aims to raise awareness of the key elements of audit quality, encourage stakeholders to explore ways to improve audit quality, and facilitate greater dialogue on the topic. The SMP Committee plans to submit a comment letter and encourages individual SMPs to comment as well. See also the At-a-Glance Summary.
The SMP Committee provided comments to the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) on its auditor reporting project prior to their February meeting. See the IAASB February Meeting Page for the agenda papers, highlights, and podcast. In advance of the IAASB April Meeting, the committee will provide further comments on this project as well as the IAASB’s work addressing disclosures, International Standard on Auditing (ISA) implementation monitoring, and International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000.
The IAASB is seeking comments, insights, and views from all stakeholders to help shape its future direction for 2015 and beyond via the Strategic Review Survey. Responses to the survey will inform the development of a formal Consultation Paper to be issued in late 3013. The SMP Committee plans to submit a response and encourages individual SMPs to comment as well.
In early March, the committee responded to the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA)’s online survey, which was conducted as part of the IESBA’s strategic review to develop its strategy and work plan for the period 2014-2016. The survey has now closed and the IESBA will consider the survey responses in upcoming meetings.
In 2012, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) issued a Request for Information (RFI) to begin its comprehensive review of the International Financial Reporting Standard for Small- and Medium-Sized Entities (IFRS for SMEs). The objective of the RFI was to publicly consult on whether amendments are required to the standard. Last month, the IASB began to discuss issues relating to the scope of the standard, including whether or not the standard should be used by publicly accountable entities. See the IASB’s March Meeting Page to access the agenda papers and audio recording. See a summary of decisions in the March IASB Update.
The 2013 IFAC SMP Forum will be held in Kampala, Uganda, on June 5, 2013, and jointly hosted with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) and the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA). Each IFAC member organization may send up to ten delegates, who should be those responsible for SMP/small- and medium-sized entity (SME) affairs at their organization. Registration forms have been sent to IFAC member organizations. If you are an individual member of an IFAC member organization and wish to attend, please register your interest with your organization as soon as possible, as the deadline for registration is April 30, 2013. More information will be posted at www.ifac.org/2013SMPForum as it becomes available.
The next World Congress of Accountants (WCOA) will be hosted by the Consiglio Nazionale dei Dottori Commercialisti e degli Esperti Contabili (CNDCEC) in Rome, Italy, in 2014. Themed 2020 Vision: Learning from the Past, Building the Future, the 2014 WCOA will be held November 10-13 at the Auditorium Parco della Musica. More than 4,000 professionals from all over the world will convene at this can’t-miss IFAC event, held every four years. WCOA 2014 will look back to explore the evolution of the accountancy profession and forward to showcase the innovations that will set the tone for the future.
The WCOA also affords an unparalleled opportunity for organizations and firms to share their projects and visions with the world by taking advantage of one of our carefully crafted sponsorship packages. There are numerous options so you’ll be able to select the one that best suits your organization’s unique strategy and goals. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Dimarco@wcoa2014rome.com.