Convergence and recruitment
remain key issues for profession

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has released
the results of its inaugural global leadership survey, which has
highlighted the widespread importance of convergence to a single
set of global standards. A total of 143 presidents and chief
executives from 115 IFAC member bodies and associates in 91
countries, as well as six regional accountancy bodies, participated
in the survey.

Survey respondents pointed to three issues most affecting the
global accountancy profession: the perception of the profession’s
integrity by the public and regulators; staying current with
professional practices; and supporting SMEs.

The study revealed that most leaders will focus on attracting new
talent into the profession, particularly from regions such as
sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, North Africa and North
America, where the most pressing staff shortages exist. One key
finding of the survey was the importance of convergence to single
sets of both international accounting and auditing standards.
Respondents ranked convergence to International Standards on
Auditing at the same high level of importance as convergence to
IFRS. Other key findings included the negative impact on national
economies due to a limited supply of qualified accounting
professionals; the ongoing significance of auditor liability; and
the importance of support from the global profession for

Approximately one-third of survey respondents said their countries
were applying International Public Sector Accounting Standards
(IPSAS). Leaders of accountancy bodies in countries that do not
apply IPSAS said that if their governments did adopt these
standards, it would lead to increased economic growth and

Most leaders expressed optimism for 2008, which was attributed to
the availability of human and financial capital, and the growth of
SMEs. Potential threats to economic growth included a lack of
investor confidence in capital markets, corruption and energy