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IFAC Announces Plan to Revise International Education Standards for Sustainability Reporting and Assurance

Dec 11, 2023 | New York, New York | English

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) today announced plans to revise the International Education Standards (IES) to bring greater focus to sustainability reporting and assurance competence and recognize the evolving role of professional accountants in this important area. IFAC anticipates launching a public consultation on proposed revisions to the standards in Q2 2024, marking a significant milestone for the global accountancy profession’s journey to advance sustainability disclosure standards that respond to the needs of investors and other stakeholders.

Extensive stakeholder outreach and research made it clear that while professional accountants’ skills and training are transferable to sustainability reporting and assurance, there’s a need for a focus on sustainability in the IES. The planned revisions will address this, including revised and new learning outcomes needed for professional development programs to best prepare future and current professional accountants for the increasing demands for sustainability reporting and assurance.

As IFAC commits to revising the IESs, in partnership with the IFAC International Panel on Accountancy Education, it encourages professional accountants to seize the opportunity to enhance their sustainability knowledge and expertise. IFAC CEO Kevin Dancey said, “As sustainability reporting and assurance become mainstream, professional accountants have a unique opportunity to lead and bring value. Professional accountants should begin their journey now to develop or enhance sustainability reporting and assurance abilities. It is imperative that we all commit to personal professional development, ensuring that we are ready to meet the moment with the competence and due care that define our profession.”

Professional accountancy organizations have crucial roles to play helping their members as they transition to increasing market demand for sustainability reporting and assurance. Collective action is needed at the global, regional and local levels to accelerate the pace at which existing knowledge is expanded upon. IFAC encourages its member organizations to enhance current learning requirements with respect to sustainability and to recognize those courses offered by others—including the IFRS Foundation's anticipated eLearning course, which may prove useful to PAOs to offer their members as it is designed to respond to market demand to begin implementing the inaugural IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, IFRS S1 and S2.

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 180 members and associates in more than 135 jurisdictions, representing millions of professional accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.

About the International Education Standards
The International Education Standards (IESs), issued by the International Federation of Accountants, set forth the principles that professional accountancy organizations should follow to build a national accountancy profession that is fully capable of fulfilling the complex demands economies and societies place on it. The IESs are authoritative and are used by IFAC member organizations when setting education requirements for professional accountants and aspiring professional accountants.