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(New York, December 8, 2008)

To mark the beginning of World Accountancy Week, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has released the results of its 2008 Global Leadership Survey. This year's survey sought the views of leaders of accountancy institutes worldwide on the current credit crisis and other top issues for the profession. Chief executives and presidents of 110 accountancy organizations* worldwide responded to the survey. The majority of these organizations have been actively engaged, like IFAC, in identifying and executing appropriate responses to the crisis, supporting their members in understanding applicable international standards, and working with regulators, business groups and others to find solutions. Many of these initiatives are featured on IFAC's website in its new page on the global financial crisis (http://www.ifac.org/financial-crisis/).

"According to survey respondents, the credit crisis is resulting in increased awareness of the value of professional accountants and the services they provide," says IFAC Chief Executive Ian Ball. "It is now up to the profession to continue to meet the expectations of those that depend on our work and to contribute to rebuilding confidence in financial markets."

Leaders of accountancy organizations reported an increased trend in the need for services that are related in some way to the crisis. For example, in the coming year they expect their members in public practice to be more involved in corporate recovery and insolvency services, assurance services (other than audit), as well as risk and compliance related work. Members employed in business and industry are also expected to be more involved in risk management, as well as in the areas of corporate social responsibility and sustainability, internal control, and governance and compliance work.

Respondents believe that the most important issues for the accountancy profession in the coming year are:

  • Addressing the needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and small and medium practices (SMPs);
  • Meeting expectations to identify and prevent fraud;
  • Dealing with the changing regulatory landscape; and
  • Transitioning to International Standards on Auditing.
They also believe it is increasingly important to address the transition to International Financial Reporting Standards, auditor liability issues, the use of new technologies like XBRL, and corporate social responsibility issues.

Recently-appointed IFAC President Robert Bunting has indicated that addressing the needs of SMPs and SMEs will be a priority for IFAC over the next two years.

"The survey confirms that meeting the needs of SMPs and SMEs is a global concern and a global goal. These entities are among those likely to suffer significantly from the current financial crisis yet they are among the least at fault. We must look for ways to mitigate the effect of the crisis on SMPs and SMEs," emphasizes Mr. Bunting.

Other survey results point to an increase in the attractiveness of the profession to students. According to survey respondents, the factors positively influencing students are the career options available and earning potential. However, leaders of accountancy institutes indicated that the two factors having the most negative impact on the attractiveness of the profession are work/life balance and legal liability. Most respondents indicated that they have initiatives in place to address these issues.

During World Accountancy Week, December 7, 2008 to December 13, 2008, accountancy institutes will be communicating the benefits of pursuing a career in accountancy and the role of professional accountants in contributing to economic growth and development.

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 is currently comprised of 158 professional accountancy bodies in 122 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 of ethics, auditing and assurance, education, and public sector accounting. It also issues guidance to encourage high quality performance by professional accountants in business.

* Note to Editors - List of IFAC 2008 Global Leadership Survey Participants

Accountancy Institutes

Country:Name of Organization:
AlbaniaInstitute of Authorized Chartered Auditors of Albania
ArgentinaFederación Argentina de Consejos Profesionales de Ciencias Económicas
ArmeniaAssociation of Accountants and Auditors of Armenia
AustraliaCPA Australia
AustraliaNational Institute of Accountants in Australia
AustraliaThe Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia
BangladeshThe Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh
BelgiumInstitut des Experts-comptables et des Conseils fiscaux
BelgiumInstitut des Réviseurs d'Entreprises
BoliviaColegio de Auditores de Bolivia
BotswanaBotswana Institute of Accountants
BrazilInstituto dos Auditores Independentes do Brasil
BrazilConselho Federal de Contabilidade
BulgariaInstitute of Certified Public Accountants of Bulgaria
CameroonOrdre National des Experts Comptables du Cameroun
CanadaThe Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
CanadaCertified General Accountants' Association of Canada
Cayman IslandsCayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants
ChinaChinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants
ColombiaInstituto Nacional de Contadores Públicos de Colombia
Costa RicaColegio de Contadores Públicos de Costa Rica
CyprusThe Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus
Czech RepublicChamber of Auditors of the Czech Republic
EstoniaAudiitorkogu (Estonian Auditing Board)
FijiFiji Institute of Accountants
FinlandHTM-tilintarkastajat ry - GRM- revisorer rf
FranceConseil Supérieur de l'Ordre des Experts-Comptables
FranceCompagnie Nationale des Commissaires aux Comptes
GeorgiaGeorgian Federation of Professional Accountants and Auditors
GermanyInstitut der Wirtschaftsprüfer in Deutschland e.V.
GhanaInstitute of Chartered Accountants - Ghana
HaitiOrdre des Comptables Professionels Agrees d'Haiti
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of People's Republic of ChinaHong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants
IndiaThe Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India
IndiaThe Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
IndonesiaIndonesian Institute of Accountants
IranIranian Association of Certified Public Accountants
IraqIraqi Union of Accountants and Auditors
IrelandThe Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland
IsraelInstitute of Certified Public Accountants in Israel
ItalyConsiglio Nazionale dei Dottori Commercialisti e Degli Esperti Contabili
JapanThe Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants
KazakhstanChamber of Auditors of the Republic of Kazakhstan
KenyaInstitute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya
KoreaKorean Institute of Certified Public Accountants
KosovoSociety of Certified Accountants and Auditors of Kosovo
LebanonLebanese Association of Certified Public Accountants
LesothoLesotho Institute of Accountants
LithuaniaLithuanian Chamber of Auditors
MalawiThe Society of Accountants in Malawi
MalaysiaMalaysian Institute of Accountants
MalaysiaMalaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants
MaltaThe Malta Institute of Accountants
MexicoInstituto Mexicano de Contadores Públicos, A.C.
MoldovaAssociation of Professional Accountants & Auditors of the Republic of Moldova
NamibiaInstitute of Chartered Accountants of Namibia
NepalThe Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal
New ZealandNew Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
NigeriaThe Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria
NorwayDen Norske Revisorforening
PakistanInstitute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan
PakistanInstitute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan
PolandAccountants Association in Poland
PolandNational Chamber of Statutory Auditors
RomaniaChamber of Financial Auditors of Romania
RomaniaCorpul Expertilor Contabili si Contabililor Autorizati din Romania
RussiaThe Institute of Professional Accountants of Russia
Saudi ArabiaSaudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants
SenegalOrdre National des Experts Comptables et Comptables Agréés du Sénégal
SerbiaSerbian Association of Accountants and Auditors
SingaporeInstitute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore
SloveniaThe Slovenian Institute of Auditors
South AfricaSouth African Institute of Professional Accountants
South AfricaThe South African Institute of Chartered Accountants
SpainInstituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España
SwazilandSwaziland Institute of Accountants
TanzaniaNational Board of Accountants and Auditors - Tanzania
TunisiaOrdre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie
TurkeyExpert Accountants' Association of Turkey
TurkeyUnion of Chambers of Certified Public Accountants of Turkey
UgandaInstitute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda
UkraineUkrainian Federation of Professional Accountants and Auditors
United KingdomAssociation of Accounting Technicians
United KingdomInstitute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
United KingdomThe Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
United KingdomThe Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
United KingdomThe Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales
United KingdomThe Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
United StatesAmerican Institute of Certified Public Accountants
United StatesInstitute of Management Accountants
United StatesNational Association of State Boards of Accountancy
11 AnonymousResponses from Members and Associates
Regional Accounting Organizations and Groupings

Eastern Central and Southern African Federation of Accountants
Interamerican Accounting Association
Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants
Eurasian Council of Certified Accountants and Auditors
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean
The Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa

Jennifer DiClerico
Head of Communications

Prepared by IFAC's Communications Department. Contact communications@ifac.org for further information.
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