A Teacher’s Guide to Using the IFAC Global Knowledge Gateway: Part 2 – The Geography of Content

Eli R. Khazzam | October 30, 2015 |

This is the second of a three-part series of articles to provide teachers with an overview of how to integrate resources from the IFAC Global Knowledge Gateway into their syllabi, research for projects and papers, and provide some ideas for out-of-the-box lessons to help inspire students to experience the accountancy profession in different ways.

A critical part of education is based on providing students with both theoretical and hands-on materials. The first kind of knowledge can generally be obtained from textbooks, scholarly articles, and traditional texts that are, and have been, widely agreed-upon by academia over time. The second type of knowledge can be more difficult to select with respect to the legitimacy, quality, and long-term relevance of information. It is also always changing. This “flowing content” is where the primary value of the Gateway lies. The content in each of the 10 topic areas on the Gateway are far from static with new resources and news, vetted and categorized by staff, added daily. Many Gateway contributors come to IFAC via our member organizations—experts, practitioners, policymakers, and management accountants from professional accountancy organizations all over the world.

A User’s Geography of the Gateway

Information on the Gateway is organized into 10 broad topics, under which many more subtopics exist. Users can also use the search function, incorporating variables such as keywords, dates, and type of content.

AUDIT & ASSURANCE

What’s Here:

Content on the adoption, implementation, and development of international standards, including information on audit, review, compilation, agreed-upon procedures, quality control, and other assurance.

Why is this Relevant to Students?

Accountancy students will enter into a world where many international standards are converging and jurisdictions are no longer in regulatory isolation. As auditors, they will likely become exposed to transnational perspectives on the issues confronting multinational corporations. The Gateway provides cutting-edge information on the new international regulatory infrastructure and how international standards increase the comparability, consistency, clarity, credibility, and transparency of financial information. The Gateway is also an excellent source for introducing students to the International Standards on Auditing, which many countries have adopted today as the primary standard. 

Topic Overview

Resources

Discussions (including video interviews)

News

 

BUSINESS REPORTING

What’s Here:

Content on improving the usefulness of reported information for internal and external stakeholders. Find information on non-financial, public sector, regulatory, sustainability, and integrated reporting. This also includes International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), GAAP, IFRS for Small- and Medium-Sized Entities (SMEs), XBRL, and information about the financial reporting supply chain.

Why is this Relevant to Students?

In addition to seeing how some of the financial reporting standards are applied in businesses today, students should have the opportunity to consider some of the potential pathways their careers can take. There are a variety of financial reporting and non-financial reporting standards emerging in the world today, including integrated reporting, which provides one complete picture of an organizations, including environmental and social variables. 

Topic Overview

Recommended Resources

Discussions (including video interviews)

News

 

ETHICS

What’s Here:

Content on how the accountancy profession is reinforcing ethical practices and encourage an ethical workplace. Find information on codes of conduct, ethical dilemmas, independence, and the relationship between ethics and culture.

Why is this Relevant to Students?

In the post-financial crises world, business ethics is increasingly part of a wider trend recognizing corporate social responsibility as a driver of sustainable organizational success. A growing number of organizations believe that corporate responsibility and ethical practices lead to sustainable value creation, well beyond viewing ethical practices as a means to avoid penalties or fines. Accountants are important gatekeepers in providing high quality information, facilitating transparency, and as a participant in the corporate governance arrangement. The Gateway is also an excellent source for introducing students to the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants by providing many additional aids and articles on the Code. 

Topic Overview

Recommended Resources

Discussions (including video interviews)

News

 

FINANCIAL LEADERSHIP & DEVELOPMENT

What’s Here:

Discover how the profession is responding to the changing expectations of society and organizations, and preparing for leadership roles. Find information on career development, finance function effectiveness, finance leadership, learning and education, professional accountancy organization development, and the role of the CFO.

Why is this Relevant to Students?

Many accountants aspire to finance leadership roles, such as CFO or controller, which often involve responsibility in all financial aspects of the organization. Today, they require increasingly specialized knowledge and technical skills in areas such as financial reporting, tax, and treasury. Beyond this, financial leaders require knowledge regarding how accounting fits into the bigger picture of changing technology such as cloud computing, big data, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence; changing societal expectations, such as environmental impacts, human rights, and the sustainability of public resources; and public policy, such as regulation reforms, international laws, taxation, and trade. On the Gateway, students have the chance to learn about these areas and how they impact the accountancy profession. 

Topic Overview

Recommended Resources

Discussions (including video interviews)

News

 

GOVERNANCE

What’s Here:

Content on how entities make decisions, execute them, monitor results, and make improvements to the systems. This section contains information on corporate governance, organizational culture, public sector governance, and how organizations are integrating governance into different functions and areas.

Why is this Relevant to Students?

The recent financial and economic crises exposed many corporate governance weaknesses. Students entering the financial world must be cognizant of how professional accountants are often involved in planning, implementing, executing, evaluating, and improving governance in the organizations they serve, and in the organizations that turn to them for guidance and services. They will be interacting with boards of directors, shareholders, stakeholders, and, in some cases, regulators. Even today, as textbooks are being written, many aspects of governance are changing around the world. Governance is becoming more integrated in both private and public sectors and the underpinning theories are coalescing. The Gateway offers a growing archive of articles and resources currently on the subject that can expose students to these changes as they happen to help them make sense of processes underway. 

Topic Overview

Recommended Resources

Discussions (including video interviews)

News

 

ISLAMIC FINANCE

What’s Here:

Content on Islamic finance—the ethical principles, standards, regulations, features of Islamic finance designed to increase awareness of this growing area of finance globally.

Why is this Relevant to Students?

The world is no longer completely dominated by Western-style financial practices and principles. As new economies emerge as key players in the international marketplace, Islamic finance is taking its place within many different nations—both Muslim and non-Muslim. Professional accountants working in business, especially those in the finance sector, are increasingly required to apply Sharia principles in finance and investment decisions. Similarly, many accounting firms provide advice to organizations and individuals to support Sharia-compliant finance. Islamic finance is constantly reshaping itself to accommodate the demands of modern societies. The Gateway provides students with a practical introduction to the world of Islamic finance covering how it is applied in accounting and auditing, banking, governance, financial management, insurance, and capital markets. 

Topic Overview

Recommended Resources

Discussions (including video interviews)

News

  

PERFORMANCE & FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

What’s Here:

Information on how to improve organizational performance through better support for strategic and operational decision making. This includes information on access to finance, business intelligence, corporate finance, cost management, IT, performance management, predictive analytics, project and investment appraisal, and treasure and cash management.

Why is this Relevant to Students?

The rapid pace of change in society today necessitates that accountants become hands-on strategists and innovative decision makers. Accountants are no longer limited to ensuring financial performance alone; they must also understand how to use business intelligence and create value in much broader respects. New technologies are transforming cost models every day. Access to finance is becoming more dynamic and complex. In addition, accountants need to be able to apply, and in many cases, create new forms of metrics and predictive analytics to assess the performance of the organizations they guide or serve. The Gateway offers students a window into what’s happening and why—an opportunity to hear from the individuals as it happens. 

Topic Overview

Recommended Resources

Discussions (including video interviews)

News

  

PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

What’s Here:

This section provides support to practitioners in managing and growing their practices. Learn about strategy and planning, practice models, business development, marketing, networking and networks, human resource management, information technology, risk management, succession planning, and more.

Why is this Relevant to Students?

Many students will join or create their own accounting firms. They will learn that, in addition to the technical skills required to be an accountant, they will also need many additional business skills. They will need to understand building and maintaining client relationships and how to manage many facets of operations and administration, especially those who join and eventually become partners in small- and medium-sized practices. This can be especially exciting for students to consider: to see that their careers as accountants will involve the opportunities to exercise their skills in many different areas of management and building a business. 

Topic Overview

Recommended Resources

Discussions (including video interviews)

News

  

RISK MANAGEMENT & INTERNAL CONTROL

What’s Here:

Content on addressing uncertainty in setting and pursuing the organization's objectives, including information on cybersecurity.

Why is this Relevant to Students?

Accounting is one of many professions today that is on the front line of risk management. Organizations face a wide range of uncertain internal and external factors that may affect their survival and success, whether they are strategic, operational, or financial. With increasingly globalized economies and markets, a crisis in one nation or region can impact far more than those living and working in the immediate area. As students become equipped with the technical skills of accounting and finance, they should also be equipped with a sixth sense for risk management and possess an awareness of the many threats that can impact the organizations they guide and serve. The Gateway can help prepare students to understand these threats, which is an ongoing process of education. 

Topic Overview

Recommended Resources

Discussions (including video interviews)

News

  

SUSTAINABILITY

What’s Here:

Content on how organizations are integrating sustainability into management, reporting, and assurance practice. This includes information on accounting for sustainability, corporate social responsibility, natural capital valuation and measurement, and sustainability assurance, management, strategy, and development.

Why is this Relevant to Students?

Today, most students are aware of environment and social responsibility, much of which is passed to them through mainstream culture and the popular media. The connection between accountancy and these issues is becoming stronger and increasingly relevant. The importance of sustainability, and all issues encompassed under this term, are gaining wide recognition and are increasingly embraced by international institutions, governments, regulators, and growing numbers of investors, stock exchanges, and organizations. The Gateway provides students with opportunities to learn how the fields are coming together and how they can apply their skill sets to address many sustainability issues. 

Topic Overview

Recommended Resources

Discussions (including video interviews)

News

In part three of this series, I take a closer look at the types of resources on the Gateway and provide some suggestions to teachers and students on how and in what context they can be used for homework exercises, general research, research, student team projects, and to support lectures and presentations. 

Issues and Insights

Eli R. Khazzam

Senior Professional, Economic Development & Emerging Technologies.

Eli R. Khazzam is a senior professional focused on economic development & emerging technologies. Previously, Mr. Khazzam was the Editor-in-Chief of the IFAC Global Knowledge Gateway and had various roles working as a Governance Manager and Senior Technical Manager of Public Policy and Regulation at IFAC. Prior to joining IFAC, he was an Executive Director at Liquid Metrics, LLC., a research and consulting firm specializing in community-based economic development and public policy issues. See more by Eli R. Khazzam

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