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Equipping Accountants for Sustainability Reporting: IFAC Proposes Enhancements to International Education Standards

Changes Also Proposed to Modernize Standard on Assessing Professional Competence

Apr 24, 2024 | New York, New York | English

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has unveiled proposed changes to the International Education Standards (IESs) that embed sustainability—from analysis to reporting to assurance—across aspiring professional accountants’ training.

IFAC CEO Lee White emphasized the significance of the proposed changes, stating, “Investors and other stakeholders need sustainability reports and disclosures that are on par with the high-quality, decision-useful financial reports that accountants already deliver. To be future-fit, accountants must develop the right competencies to meet this need. The proposals provide a robust framework for the profession to develop capable accountants who produce, report, and assure sustainability information.”

Key proposals include:

  • Emphasizing working with experts and in multi-disciplinary teams;
  • Introducing key sustainability reporting concepts, such as systems thinking, value chains and scenario analysis;
  • Referencing relevant sustainability reporting and assurance standards; and
  • Creating a new assurance competence area and learning outcomes.

Additionally, IFAC has proposed changes to IES 6, Initial Professional Development – Assessment of Professional Competence, to modernize the standard to align with current good practice and clarify previously-existing requirements. This includes introducing new principles emphasizing integrity, authenticity, equity, and inclusion. These changes will aid professional accountancy organizations, universities, and training programs in evaluating candidates’ readiness for the professional accountant role.

To help its stakeholders and the accountancy profession understand the proposed changes related to sustainability, IFAC will hold global webinars on May 21. Visit the IFAC website for additional details and to register.

IFAC encourages all stakeholders to provide feedback on both set of proposed changes by July 24, 2024, using the Response Templates 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 180 members and associates in more than 135 jurisdictions, representing millions of professional accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.