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June 7, 2013

Editors Letter: So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu

The film The Sound of Music is stuck in my head – particularly the part where the von Trapp children sing good night to their father and his party guests before skipping off to bed in an orderly manner.

It is pretty apt that this song is fixed in my mind today, because sadly this is my last issue as editor The Accountant (TA). After more than five years working across both TA and sister publication the International Accounting Bulletin (IAB), I’m off to pastures new.

Despite not being an accountant, I have negotiated the plethora of acronyms the accounting profession is so enamoured with, and come to find the subject matter interesting and engaging. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, and have been privileged to meet and learn from some of the professions many experts and major players.

Luckily, I have worked across both TA and IAB during some of the profession’s defining moments in recent years. For example, the start of 2008’s global financial crisis, the PwC/ Satyam scandal, the launch of the European Commission’s audit reform proposals, which have gone on to influence audit debates the world over, and the launch of the world’s first draft framework for integrated reporting.

The accounting profession is a complicated and ever-changing world, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to report on, and analyse, some of the biggest issues affecting it.

One unresolved issue that I wish I could be around to report on is the continuing US IFRS adoption conundrum. In my opinion, the longer the US lingers over its decision to adopt global accounting standards, the more chance it has at being sidelined by the International Accounting Standards Board.

If it does not adopt IFRS, the US may also find that multinationals begin pulling out of its capital markets in favour of listing in other markets which do not require them to report in two different ways.

The whole point of having one set of global accounting standards is to ease unnecessary reporting burdens and improve comparability. If the US doesn’t make a decision soon, the momentum of the IFRS adoption movement could potentially be derailed and also push the US further away from global accounting.

A look inside

I leave you with an issue chock full of interesting articles, notably a report on sustainability.

Sustainability is a hot topic and has been building momentum within the profession, particularly in the past few years. As the world deals with diminishing natural resources and the effects of climate change, accountants have an important role to play in pushing the sustainability reporting agenda.

Why? Because the role of accountants has changed: now they play a central role in the strategy and performance of a business, and have the ear of the most important people in an organisation. They can build the business case for why an organisation should be reporting on their non-financial information, and then link that information to the business model.

I hope you also enjoy my final profile piece for TA as much as I enjoyed writing it. I interviewed one of Malaysia’s wealthiest businessmen Tony Fernandes, who owns AirAsia, QPR football club and the Caterham Formula One team.

He is surprisingly, despite an abundance of success, one of the most grounded men I have ever met.

Thank you all for reading and I wish you all the best for the future!

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