DePaul University's College of Commerce has launched the Center for Global Accountancy Education, Benchmarking and Research, which will work to improve financial accounting in the developing world by policing three specific areas: international auditing standards, financial reporting and accounting education.The center will work closely with established international aid and development agencies, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United States Agency for International Development.

In recent decades, the agencies have invested billions of dollars in the economies of the developing world, but frequently have been unable to determine whether investments yielded appropriate returns because of lax or non-existent accounting standards.

"Before you can build a developing nation's economy, you have to have a viable accounting system in place to measure whether progress is truly being made," said John Ahern, a veteran DePaul professor of accounting who will lead the center, in a statement.

The idea for the center was born out of the financial crises of Russia and Southeast Asia in the late 1990s and the corporate accounting scandals in the United States years later. KPMG will lend its proprietary database management and analysis tool to the effort to establish benchmarks.

Going forward, the center will partner with the International Federation of Accountants to benchmark individual countries' performance against international standards.

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