Global Accountancy Leaders Weigh In on Key Trends, Proposed IFAC Activities for 2016–2018

Jul 10, 2015 | New York, New York | English

The International Federation of Accountants® (IFAC®), the global organization for the accountancy profession with members and associates in 130 countries, today released the results of its 2015 strategy survey. The survey obtained the views of member organizations (including members, associates, affiliates, regional organizations, and accountancy groupings), Forum of Firms members, and other stakeholders to inform the development of IFAC’s Strategic Plan 2016–2018.

“The results of this survey indicate strong support for IFAC’s strategic objectives, key areas of focus, and activities,” said IFAC CEO Fayez Choudhury. “As we move forward with developing IFAC’s Strategic Plan 2016–2018, the insights provided will help us hone our comparative advantages and identify areas for new or intensified activities in response to key global trends—including big data, cybersecurity, and social issues, such as taxation policies—for the benefit of our member organizations and in the public interest.”

Key Global Trends

As the voice of the global accountancy profession, IFAC drives awareness of key trends and issues and the accountancy profession’s role in them, engages with member organizations and other stakeholders to generate discussion and debate, asserts the profession’s view, and advocates for the public interest. IFAC has identified a number of key global trends that have implications for the profession and asked survey respondents to comment on them. These trends, which will help shape IFAC’s strategy and activities going forward, include:

  • increasing pace of change of information technology;
  • volume and complexity of regulation;
  • need for transparency and accountability in the public sector;
  • shrinking tolerance for corruption;
  • changing structure of education;
  • changing demographics and competition for talent;
  • shifts and uncertainty in economic power;
  • increasing economic interconnectedness;
  • desire for international harmonization and simplification of taxation rules;
  • shifting focus from short-term to long-term organizational sustainability; and
  • increased stress on natural resources.

Survey respondents agreed that these are key areas impacting the accountancy profession and identified additional trends, including:

  • attracting and retaining talent and the impact on recruiting, training, and development;
  • big data’s impact on accountancy;
  • cybersecurity as an increasingly high priority and key risk;
  • the impact of regulation on SMPs/SMEs; and
  • the role of the profession in corporate governance, fighting corruption, and money laundering.

IFAC’s Global Comparative Advantages

There was virtually unanimous agreement among member organization respondents that IFAC’s vision remains appropriate. In addition, a significant majority of respondents agreed that IFAC is effective or highly effective in its areas of global comparative advantage—those areas in which it is uniquely positioned to spearhead initiatives because they demand a global reach, freedom from commercial interests, and the ability to create dialogue and debate. These roles include being the natural facilitator, a trusted intermediary, a credible convener, and an influential voice. In addition, a substantial majority said that IFAC’s current allocation of resources achieved an appropriate balance among the various priorities.

Activity Areas 2016–2018

The survey results showed a high level of support for all of IFAC’s current activities. All activities were rated as being “important” or “very important” by an average of 89% of respondents,  indicating that they believe these activities effectively and efficiently achieve IFAC’s vision and strategic objectives, leverage its global comparative advantages, and respond to the identified key global trends.

Respondents also weighed in on proposed activities that IFAC is considering for the future. These activities—from sharing knowledge on emerging trends affecting the profession to identifying knowledge gaps in relevant areas and forming collaborations to address them—clearly leverage IFAC’s global comparative advantages and were welcomed, with an average of 86% of respondents rating them “important” or “very important.”

The results resoundingly endorsed IFAC’s activities to speak out on behalf of the global accountancy profession, with an average of 95% of respondents saying that IFAC’s current activities in this area are “important” or “very important.” Proposed future actions in this area—including substantially intensifying efforts to promote the value of the profession and speak out on regulatory issues, intensifying collaboration with member organizations on public policy and regulation, and leveraging the IFAC brand to help promote member organizations to key national stakeholders—were also heartily endorsed, with an average of 90% calling them “important” or “very important.”

About the Survey
The IFAC Strategy Survey surveyed officers (generally presidents and chief executive officers) from IFAC’s members, associates, affiliates, regional organizations and accountancy groupings, as well as Forum of Firms members and selected other stakeholders. The survey results include data from respondents representing 85 member organizations—almost 50% of IFAC’s membership—who took the survey from March 21, 2015 to April 30, 2015. The full survey results are available on the IFAC website.

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 2.8 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.


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