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Project and Investment Appraisal Requires Greater Rigor

New Guidance from IFAC Helps Manage Complexities

Aug 14, 2013 | New York, New York | English

The Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) Committee of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the global organization for the accountancy profession, today released International Good Practice Guidance, Project and Investment Appraisal for Sustainable Value Creation.

The guidance supports the accountancy profession’s facilitation of sustainable organizations, financial markets, and economies by providing guiding principles to manage the complexities of performing a robust project and investment appraisal. Greater rigor in the appraisal and decision process can be achieved by using the principles as a benchmark against which to assess an organization’s current practice.

“In today’s world, it is no longer sufficient for investment decisions to be appraised on financial criteria alone. While this guidance reinforces the importance of rigorous and robust project and investment appraisal, it does so  with a specific emphasis on facilitating long-term decision making and incorporating economic, environmental, and social considerations,” said Roger Tabor, chair of the PAIB Committee. “The revised guidance also sets out the critical role professional accountants in business play in advising on the application of financial principles and theory that are being tested during this current period of market instability.”

Accountants in business play a crucial role in helping organizations ensure a systematic and analytical approach to project and investment appraisal. In practice, fundamental principles of corporate finance are often breached, leading to the destruction of value for shareholders and other stakeholders. Far too frequently, decisions ignore the costs and benefits associated with wider external impacts—social (e.g., labor practices), economic (e.g., in communities), and environmental (e.g., pollution). By introducing greater rigor, organizations can assess all important aspects of a project or investment.

“Traditionally, project and investment appraisal is taught and discussed in purely financial terms, which helps an organization focus on decisions that create the most economic value,” said Athalanallur Natarajan Raman, chair of the PAIB Committee Sustainability Advisory Group. “To create sustainable value, it is essential to also take into account every aspect of the project or investment and consider all facets of sustainability.”

About International Good Practice Guidance
International Good Practice Guidance (IGPG) issued by the PAIB Committee cover areas of international and strategic importance in which professional accountants in business are likely to engage. In issuing principles-based guidance, IFAC seeks to foster a common and consistent approach to those aspects of the work of professional accountants in business not covered by international standards. IFAC seeks to clearly identify principles that are generally accepted internationally and applicable to organizations of all sizes in commerce, industry, education, and the public and not-for-profit sectors. Previously issued IGPGs are available on the IFAC website, including Preface to IFAC’s International Good Practice Guidance.

About the PAIB Committee
The PAIB Committee serves IFAC member bodies and professional accountants worldwide who work in commerce, industry, financial services, education, and the public and the not-for-profit sectors. Its aim is to promote and contribute to the value of professional accountants in business by increasing awareness of the important roles professional accountants play, supporting member bodies in enhancing the competence of their members, and facilitating the communication and sharing of good practices and ideas.

About IFAC
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. It is comprised of 173 members and associates in 129 countries and jurisdictions, representing approximately 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.


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