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IFAC FOCUS AREAS
- Accountability. Now.
- Adoption of International Standards
- Developing the Global Profession
- Global Representation and Advocacy
- Professional Accountants in Business
- Small and Medium Practices
Independent Standard-Setting Boards
The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board sets high-quality international standards for auditing, assurance, and quality control that strengthen public confidence in the global profession.
The International Accounting Education Standards Board establishes standards, in the area of professional accounting education, that prescribe technical competence and professional skills, values, ethics, and attitudes.
The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants sets high-quality, internationally appropriate ethics standards for professional accountants, including auditor independence requirements.
The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board develops standards, guidance, and resources for use by public sector entities around the world for preparation of general purpose financial statements.
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What Do We Mean by Governance?
The ultimate objective of governance is to create and optimize sustainable organizational success and stakeholder value, balancing the interests of the various stakeholders. It comprises arrangements put in place to ensure that organizations define and achieve intended outcomes.
Why is Governance Important?
Organizations strive to be competitive and sustainable over the long term; core elements of this are creating and optimizing organizational success and stakeholder value, effective resource utilization, and accountability. Governance should, therefore, be more than a compliance exercise designed with the sole purpose of satisfying regulatory requirements—it should involve both compliance and performance.
Governance encourages better organizational decision making and accountability for the efficient stewardship of resources. It is also characterized by robust scrutiny, which provides important pressure for improving organizational performance.
Effective governance affects the entire organizational cycle: strategic planning, resource utilization, value creation, accountability, and assurance. Such a holistic approach ensures that governance is not “bolt on” but “built in”—integrated into all aspects of an organization.
Successful organizations benchmark governance procedures and practices against their peers. They regularly evaluate results to ensure the continuing effectiveness of their governance practices, and adapt and improve them for future opportunities and threats as the organizations and their environments change.
Global Perspectives on Governance
The recent financial and economic crises exposed many corporate governance weaknesses—most clearly in the financial services industry—as causal factors, or at least aggravating factors.
A positive effect of these crises is that they create momentum for change. Indeed, after each new crisis there is much debate about governance actions needed for organizations to move on and avoid future social, environmental, and economic crises. This momentum for change can also be leveraged to transition from costly compliance-focused systems to more value-creating ways of governance, leading to more sustainable performance.
Currently, a large number of stakeholders—including governments, regulators, oversight bodies, standard setters, and professional bodies, as well as international agencies and organizations, such as the International Organization of Securities Commissions, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and World Bank—are debating governance challenges and solutions. Together, these organizations will have a significant impact on determining the necessary and feasible changes for organizations and economies.
The accountancy profession—including professional accountants, professional accountancy organizations, and IFAC—is also urging that organizations around the globe evaluate and improve their governance arrangements in order to achieve more sustainable social, environmental, and economic performance.
The Role of Accountants and the Accountancy Profession
Professional accountants in business are typically involved in planning, implementing, executing, evaluating, and improving governance in their organizations. Similarly, many organizations seek advice from their accounting firm on how to improve their governance. In addition, many professional accountants in business have a responsibility to provide objective and accurate information and analyses to support these activities, as well as overall responsibility in governance areas, such as external business reporting. These factors put professional accountants in an excellent position to ensure that governance is integrated throughout an organization—into its very DNA.
- UK Legislators Criticise "Sticking Plaster" OECD Tax Avoidance Reforms
August 4, 2016 - Public Finance International
- Big Win for Tax Whistleblowers as Pair Gets $17.8 Million
August 4, 2016 - Wall Street Journal
- BHS Is Theresa May’s Big Chance to Reform Capitalism–She'd Better Take It
July 27, 2016 - New Statesman
- US CEOs Back Board Diversity, GAAP Adherence in Reform Push
July 25, 2016 - New York Times
- International Framework: Good Governance in the Public Sector, Executive Summary
July 2, 2014 - IFAC, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
- Evaluating and Improving Governance in Organizations
January 31, 2009 - IFAC
- Defining and Developing an Effective Code of Conduct for Organizations
May 31, 2007 - IFAC
- Principles of Corporate Governance
January 27, 2004 - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development