The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the operational and financial viability of professional accountancy organizations (PAOs) around the world. In April, IFAC and the ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA), an IFAC Network Partner, collaborated to convene a virtual conference for AFA members to discuss the impacts of COVID-19. Convening PAOs with the support of regional partners has been a regular occurrence at IFAC with similar efforts done for the Latin American region, Africa region, and Southeast Europe.
Due to government mandated office closures and requirements to work from home in many jurisdictions, PAOs have had to adapt to utilizing virtual conferencing platforms to conduct business and interact with their members. While some PAOs have postponed CPD training, live conferences, and examinations, many have moved training online. Many PAOs have put together COVID-19 hubs for members that serve as the main connector between a PAO and its members and provide technical advice and other support.
Examples of guidance include:
- Institute of Indonesian Chartered Accountants guidance on financial reporting implications of COVID-19 (in Bahasa Indonesia)
- Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants bulletin on accounting implications arising from COVID-19
- Malaysian Institute of Accountants Frequently Asked Questions on auditing
- Thailand Federation of Accounting Professions technical and regulatory compliance advisory notice (in Thai)
PAOs have embraced going digital and even report that online events have attracted a higher attendance rate than in-person events as their members are more inclined to undertake training virtually. PAOs also indicate that contingency planning is underway to handle social distancing in the long-term. PAOs have also reviewed policies around membership dues and CPD training requirements to alleviate the stress on members. This include extending due dates for payments, offering reduction of dues plans, and extending the time required to complete CPD hours.
“It is even more important now for AFA as an IFAC Network Partner, together with the ASEAN PAOs, to show leadership and unity,” said Wan Tin, AFA President. “This joint virtual meeting is an important platform of sharing and a show of intent that we are responding to COVID-19 together as one.”
“AFA member organizations are showing their strength and resilience in responding to challenges that come with COVID-19,” said Aucky Pratama, AFA Executive Director. “Together, we are providing ASEAN accountants with access to updates and resources, as well as facilitating their continuous learning under these challenging times.”
According to Arjuna Herath, IFAC PAO Development Committee chair, “AFA coming together with IFAC to facilitate discussion among member PAOs to make an assessment and explore solutions to continuing challenges, I am sure was very valuable to the PAOs and all who participated. This, I believe, lays a foundation for a collective region wide response to the most critical challenges facing the profession in the context of COVID-19.”
Further resources are available from AFA PAOs on AFA’s website.