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

  • Encourage governments to adopt accrual-based
  • 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

“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.