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IFAC calls for swift action from G20

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has written to G20 ministers calling for improvements to government transparency and accountability as a means toward global fiscal sustainability.

“Governments require that private sector companies report high-quality financial information to their investors and stakeholders. It’s time for the public sector to practice what it preaches,” IFAC chief executive Ian Ball said.

In its letter IFAC recommended G20 ministers should:

  • Encourage governments to adopt accrual-based accounting;
  • Improve transparency and accountability of stimulus programs and bailouts; and,
  • Adopt international standards to improve the quality of financial information.

“The problems associated with public finance and government debt requires a coordinated, international approach that global leaders have been slow to address, Ball added.

“Sovereign debt concerns in European countries illustrate the stark implications and urgency of this issue – confidence in sovereign debt has been seriously damaged by accounting and auditing failures. These failures have occurred not only on the national level but also on the regional, state and local levels.”

IFAC also called on the G20 to demand their governments provide a comprehensive picture of fiscal performance and position, urging the accounting profession to take leadership.

“The accountancy profession is in a unique position to inform and support governments and provide a practical and technical understanding of many issues related to the crisis,” IFAC wrote.

The next G20 meeting will take place on 26-27 June in Toronto, Canada.

 

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