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IFAC Hosts Global Forum on Challenges and Opportunities Facing Small and Medium Entities

Jul 24, 2006 | New York | English

Earlier this month, over 130 people from 35 countries attended the International Federation of Accountants' (IFAC's) first global forum focused entirely on small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs) and small and medium accounting practices (SMPs). Co-hosted by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants, the forum provided an opportunity for national and regional accountancy organizations, representatives of SMEs and SMPs, and international standard setters, among others, to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing SMEs and SMPs and programs and initiatives that could best support them.

Participants identified two significant challenges facing SMEs and SMPs: SMEs need financial reporting standards that are appropriate for their users' needs and reduce the associated cost of compliance; and, in an increasingly globalized economy, SMPs should continue to explore new ways to support the growth and accountability of SMEs.

"Small- and medium-sized enterprises drive economic growth, foster innovation and provide employment in developed and developing countries around the world. IFAC fully recognizes this role and is committed to supporting them at an international level," emphasizes IFAC President Graham Ward. "The outcomes of the forum will be considered at the IFAC Board meeting in September so that we can proceed with acting on the recommendations that were presented."

IFAC SMP Committee Chair Sylvie Voghel, who also chaired the forum, outlined IFAC's approach to supporting SMPs. "The SMP Committee is taking a two-pronged approach to helping SMEs and SMPs converge and comply with international auditing and accounting standards. On the one hand, we are helping to shape the form and content of those standards and on the other, we are dedicated to providing practical assistance to SMPs and SMEs that have to use them."

Current projects include publishing an International Standards on Auditing Guide for SMEs and developing a web-based knowledge resource for SMPs. Additionally, IFAC regularly responds to exposure drafts of international standard setters where an SMP or SME focus is needed. For more information about IFAC initiatives to support SMPs and SMEs, visit its website at All presentations made at the SMP Forum are also available from the IFAC website through the SMP Committee home page.

IFAC is the worldwide 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's current membership consists of approximately 160 professional accountancy bodies in 120 countries, representing more than 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry and commerce. IFAC, through its independent standard-setting boards, sets international standards on ethics, auditing and assurance, education, and public sector accounting. It also issues guidance to encourage high-quality performance by professional accountants in business.