IFAC Supports US Treasury Secretary Lew's Call for Important Policy Decisions on Public Sector Finances; Calls on G-7 to Address This Critical Matter

Jun 05, 2015 | New York, New York | English

In a speech following the G-7 Finance Ministers meeting in Dresden, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew urged institutions—such as the International Monetary Fund, European Commission, and European Central Bank—to act, saying “there need to be some policy decisions implemented in Greece.”

The International Federation of Accountants® (IFAC®) agrees, but also recommends that strong—albeit sometimes difficult—policy decisions about public sector finances need to be made by international organizations and governments across the globe, and it calls on the G-7 to address these issues at its upcoming meeting. IFAC also welcomes the announcement by Greece’s Deputy Finance Minister, Dimitris Mardas, that the Greek finance ministry is moving to adopt International Public Sector Accounting Standards™ (IPSASs™). This is a small but very important step forward on the journey to full transparency and accountability.

Over recent years many countries have faced fiscal, debt, and other financial management issues, while public servants and politicians have engaged in a highly politicized war of words. However, little has been achieved to fix the fundamental problem: poor public sector financial management, transparency, and accountability.

“Improving public sector financial management and providing for better decision making requires politicians to look beyond their next term in office, and to act in the public’s—and the next generation’s—interests,” said IFAC Chief Executive Officer Fayezul Choudhury. “It is critical that policy leaders in governments and international organizations recognize the importance of enhancing public sector finances, reporting, transparency, and accountability. Without demanding the improvements that are necessary, these bodies are destined to be confronting—and debating—the same issues again in the near future.”

IFAC promotes the adoption of high-quality accrual-based financial reporting by governments around the world; IPSASs are the only internationally-accepted standards for such reporting. This reporting provides the foundation for enhanced public sector financial management along with implementation of institutional reforms to support transparency and accountability, including:

  • high-quality, timely, independently audited accrual-based financial reporting for the public sector;
  • publishing fully transparent reports on a government’s position, performance, budgets, and appropriations to allow for proper scrutiny—particularly ahead of elections; and
  • well-defined, publicly available principles for fiscal management and control, with full transparency to demonstrate that principles are being followed.

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. IFAC is comprised of over 175 members and associates in 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing approximately 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.


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