The International Federation of Accountants has convened the first meeting of a coalition of major accounting firms, civil society groups and international organizations to develop strategies to encourage high-quality public sector financial reporting, greater government transparency and accountability, and empowered citizen engagement.

The Accountability. Now. Coalition includes IFAC and the six largest international accounting firms, along with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency, whose members include the International Budget Partnership, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group, and the governments of Brazil and the Philippines.

“Poor public sector financial management can lead to economic stagnation and contraction; severe social problems that impact future generations; and a widened gulf between government and its citizens,” said IFAC CEO Fayez Choudhury in a statement. “IFAC initiated Accountability. Now. to help drive awareness of the critical need for high-quality, transparent, comparable public sector financial reporting, and the importance of engaging citizens in the process of holding governments to account.”

Choudhury noted that some of the world’s poorest countries have the most to gain from having high-quality government reporting to better manage scarce public sector resources, attract investment, and promote accountability.

“IFAC will be focusing much of its efforts on helping these countries implement strategies to embrace high-quality reporting, based on International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and encourage citizens to be part of the fiscal process,” he added. “Understanding the true costs of government services, including all assets and liabilities, is central to good government and global growth. This is an issue that should be of concern to everyone, not just accountants and that’s the exciting part of Accountability. Now. The coalition represents a range of different organizations with the skills and experience to help push for a better social contract between governments and their citizens, at a time when there is enormous pressure on governments to work with tighter budgets and deliver better social outcomes.”

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