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IFAC Focuses on Mentoring as Means to Strengthen Profession

Jan 16, 2008 | New York | English

An active and well-established professional accountancy organization plays an essential role in promoting high quality practice in its country or jurisdiction. An important means to build strong accountancy organizations in developing countries is through collaboration and mentoring relationships with more established professional bodies. As part of its strategy to develop the accountancy profession worldwide, the International Federation of Accountants' (IFAC) Developing Nations Committee has released new guidance, entitled Mentoring Guidelines for Professional Accountancy Organizations, to support the development of collaborative and mentoring relationships between professional accountancy organizations.

The guidelines focus on supporting mentoring relationships designed to help accountancy organizations achieve compliance with IFAC's Statements of Membership Obligations (SMOs). The SMOs provide benchmarks to current and potential IFAC members to assist them in ensuring high quality performance by professional accountants. They require IFAC members to promote convergence to international standards and to have in place quality assurance and disciplinary programs.

"Experience has shown that mentoring relationships between professional accountancy organizations is one of the most effective means to strengthen the profession, particularly in developing economies," states Ignatius Sehoole, Chairman of the Developing Nations Committee. "These guidelines capture the experience and good practice of many IFAC members who have participated in this type of work in the past, and the committee hopes they will encourage other IFAC members to contribute to the development of the profession."

The new Mentoring Guidelines are also intended to help professional bodies in developing countries build sustainable capacity and to facilitate the sharing of accumulated knowledge between established professional bodies and organizations at an earlier stage of development. Various stages of mentoring are outlined in the document, including considerations before setting up a relationship, involving other entities such as government and aid agencies, and managing possible risks. The guidelines also include a sample Memorandum of Understanding. 

IFAC is the global 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 is comprised of 157 members and associates in 123 countries, representing more than 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry and commerce. Through its independent standard-setting boards, IFAC sets international standards on ethic, auditing and assurance, education, and public sector accounting. It also issues guidance to encourage high quality performance by professional accountants in business.