Accountants Must Embrace Change and Seize Opportunities, say World Accounting Bodies CEOs

Kuala Lumpur (November 12, 2010) – Chief executive officers of accounting institutes from around the world shared their visions on the accountants of the future at the recently concluded World Congress of Accountants 2010 held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The World Congress closed on Thursday with the final plenary session titled “Accountants in the Next Decade – Embracing Change and Seizing Opportunities,”which asked the following questions:

– How has the recent global economic crisis changed the environment for the accountancy profession?
– What impact will increased globalization have on the profession?
– How should the audit evolve to meet new needs?
– How might the skills and competencies of accountants change in the years ahead?
– Will accountancy still be an attractive option for young people in the future?

“The clear consensus among the panel was that increased globalization and the recent financial crisis have placed the profession squarely in the spotlight,” said Ian Ball, Chief Executive Officer of IFAC.  “Professional accountants play a key role in reporting on financial results and providing assurance on those reports, which is particularly important in this challenging time.”

“Going forward, the profession is certain to continue to evolve,” continued Ball. “For example, integrated reporting—which encompasses an organization’s economic, social, and environmental results—will become the norm, and the profession will play a key role in providing assurance on non-financial results, as well as embedding these results into strategy and performance management. As we lead this transformation, we will need to enhance our collective skills and competencies. We expect these changes will increase the profile of the profession and help us continue to attract the best and brightest to the profession.”

Chaired by Mr. Ball, the plenary session panel also included Alex Malley, CEO, CPA Australia; Barry Melancon, President & CEO, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Michael Izza, CEO, Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales; Helen Brand, CE, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants; and Charles Tilley, CEO, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

The 18th World Congress of Accountants, hosted by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants and IFAC, was held November 8–11, 2010, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Featuring the theme Accountants: Sustaining Value Creation, the World Congress offered four plenary sessions and 35 concurrent sessions featuring 183 high-profile speakers from over 40 countries and from organizations including the World Bank, Transparency International, the Financial Stability Board, the European Commission, the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators, and the International Accounting Standards Board, among others. A record-breaking number of delegates attended – over 6,000 from 134 countries – including professional accountants, international regulators, standard setters, government officials, and corporate leaders. These delegates came together to discuss, share, and debate ideas and global solutions to the issues affecting the profession in the interest of the global economy, investors, and businesses, such as:

– Integrated reporting and sustainability;
– Trends in the roles and responsibilities of professional accountants;
– XBRL and the communication of business information;
– Governance and international standards;
– The role of and challenges for small and medium practices;
– IFRS and the convergence of accounting standards; and
– Islamic finance.

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