The International Federation of Accountants found wide support for its activities in the results of a strategy survey that polled member organizations on IFAC’s strategic plan for 2016–2018.

IFAC identified several key global trends that have implications for the profession and asked survey respondents to comment on them. These trends, which will help shape IFAC’s strategy and activities going forward, include the increasing pace of change of information technology; the volume and complexity of regulation; the need for transparency and accountability in the public sector; the shrinking tolerance for corruption; the changing structure of education; changing demographics and competition for talent; shifts and uncertainty in economic power; increasing economic interconnectedness; the desire for international harmonization and simplification of taxation rules; the shifting focus from short-term to long-term organizational sustainability; and increased stress on natural resources.

The survey respondents agreed that these are all key areas affecting the accounting profession and identified additional trends, including attracting and retaining talent and the impact on recruiting, training and development; big data’s impact on accountancy; cybersecurity as an increasingly high priority and key risk; the impact of regulation on small and midsize practices and entities; and the role of the profession in corporate governance, fighting corruption, and money laundering.

There was virtually unanimous agreement among member organization respondents that IFAC’s vision remains appropriate. A significant majority of respondents agreed that IFAC is effective or highly effective in its areas of global comparative advantage—those areas in which it is uniquely positioned to spearhead initiatives because they demand a global reach, freedom from commercial interests, and the ability to create dialogue and debate. These roles include being a natural facilitator, trusted intermediary, credible convener and influential voice. In addition, a substantial majority said IFAC’s current allocation of resources achieved an appropriate balance among the various priorities.

“The results of this survey indicate strong support for IFAC’s strategic objectives, key areas of focus, and activities,” said IFAC CEO Fayez Choudhury in a statement. “As we move forward with developing IFAC’s Strategic Plan 2016–2018, the insights provided will help us hone our comparative advantages and identify areas for new or intensified activities in response to key global trends—including big data, cybersecurity, and social issues, such as taxation policies—for the benefit of our member organizations and in the public interest.”

The survey results showed a high level of support for all of IFAC’s current activities. All activities were rated as being “important” or “very important” by an average of 89 percent of respondents,  indicating they believe these activities effectively and efficiently achieve IFAC’s vision and strategic objectives, leverage its global comparative advantages, and respond to key global trends.

Respondents also weighed in on proposed activities that IFAC is considering for the future. These activities—from sharing knowledge on emerging trends affecting the profession to identifying knowledge gaps in relevant areas and forming collaborations to address them—leverage IFAC’s global comparative advantages and were welcomed, with an average of 86 percent of respondents rating them “important” or “very important.”

The results endorsed IFAC’s activities to speak out on behalf of the global accountancy profession, with an average of 95 percent of respondents saying IFAC’s current activities in this area are “important” or “very important.” Proposed future actions in this area—including substantially intensifying efforts to promote the value of the profession and speak out on regulatory issues, intensifying collaboration with member organizations on public policy and regulation, and leveraging the IFAC brand to help promote member organizations to key national stakeholders—were also heartily endorsed, with an average of 90 percent calling them “important” or “very important.”

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