Rome, Italy (WCOA 2014). IFAC outgoing president Warren Allen has presented IFAC former chief executive for ten years and CIPFA current chairman Ian Ball with the IFAC Gold Service Award.
This award was established in 2010 to recognise outstanding individual contributions to the accountancy profession, including protecting the public interest; exemplifying professional conduct and ethics; exceptional quality of work; and/or, contributions to a particular project or initiative.
Presenting the award, Allen praised Ball for his 10 years at IFAC’s helm contributing to improve the profession’s relevancy and his leadership through the financial crisis, as well as his advocacy for good financial management by governments.
Receiving the award Ball said it was special to be presented with this award especially in Italy for two reasons, one personal and one historical. "My father came to Italy during World War II and fell in love with the country, the people and the language, so much that when he retired he taught Italian in Wellington, New Zealand."
Ball admitted that his father never taught him Italian but at least instructed him the correct pronunciation of Luca Pacioli, an Italian friar who authored the first book published on double entry accounting in 1494.
"Although Pacioli is considered the father of double entry accounting, this was common practice in Italy for 2000 years before he first published his writings," Ball said. "Unfortunately some governments have lost their ways since those times."
He concluded his acceptance speech by quoting Jacob Soll who wrote in his book The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations:
"From Renaissance Italy, the Spanish empire, and Louis XIV’s France to the Dutch Republic, the British Empire, the early United States, effectively accounting and political accountability have made the difference between a society’s rise and fall."
"Over and over again good accounting practices have produced the level of trust necessary to found stable governments and vital capitalist societies, and poor accounting and its attendant lack of accountability have led to financial chaos, economic crimes, civil unrest, and worse."
Last year Ball was recognised by The Accountant and sister publication International Accounting Bulletin as one of the 50 most influential people in the profession in the Global Accounting Power list. In 2013 he was awarded the International Accounting Bulleting Lifetime Achievement Award.