Posted on July 21, 2017 by
THE centenary year of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) began this week with a grand launch event in Hong Kong, my home territory. Events will take place in more than 30 countries over the next 12 months, concluding in London in November 2004, the 100th birthday of ACCA. But it will not all be about celebration.
ACCA has chosen “responsibility” as its theme for the centenary year. We will be highlighting the pivotal role played by accountants in supporting capital markets. We will also emphasise the need for responsibility as a fundamental principle under-pinning the accountancy profession.
At its core, accountancy remains about assurance and integrity. Properly applied financial reporting and auditing standards form the bedrock of economic success. Accountants are in a strong position to reassure businesses, investors, employees and the public at large that sound financial strategies and management are being pursued.
After the global corporate scandals of the past two years, and with governments working to reduce the risk of similar problems recurring, there will be constant pressure from regulators for organisations to be able to demonstrate transparency and best practice in their corporate activities.
ACCA believes that audit, coupled with new developments in non-financial reporting, will continue to play a vital role in protecting the public interest, around the world.
New regulations and standards will enable auditors to act as champions for transparency and good corporate governance. The scope of the audit will be expanded to incorporate independent views on how companies operate internal controls, how they manage risk and how they meet the challenge of corporate social responsibility.
But in addressing these new challenges, the auditing profession must demonstrate that it can justify public trust. So as well as assuring the transparency of auditee organisations, audit firms and accountancy bodies must themselves become more transparent and accountable.
To support this, ACCA is launching an initiative to contribute to the development of metrics around corporate transparency. This will include a programme of research on areas such as International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), executive remuneration, corporate responsibility, ethical practice and non-financial reporting.
ACCA has already developed and championed a new model of independent regulatory oversight — involving the democratisation of the oversight process and the professionalisation of regulatory bodies — in parts of the world where the profession has previously clung doggedly to self-regulation.
Technology has already transformed accountancy. It will continue to do so, in the realm of real-time and online reporting, increasingly handling the recording processes involved in audit and accounting. This will allow finance professionals to add value to their employers by assuming more strategic and risk-oriented organisational roles.