The Pan African Federation of Accountants has approved a resolution to adopt international accounting and auditing standards.

The PAFA General Assembly voted earlier this month during a meeting in Tunisia to adopt International Financial Reporting Standards, along with IFRS for Small and Medium-sized Entities, also known as IFRS for SMEs.

In addition, the PAFA voted to adopt a variety of other accounting and auditing standards promulgated by various standard-setting bodies that operate under the auspices of the International Federation of Accountants. Those include the International Standards on Auditing developed by the International Auditing and Assurance Board, International Public Sector Accounting Standards developed by the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board, International Education Standards developed by the International Accounting Education Standards Board, and the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants developed by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants.

PAFA comprises 39 professional accountancy organizations from at least 34 countries across Africa. The group launched last year with a meeting in Senegal (see Pan African Federation of Accountants Launches).

Both the International Accounting Standards Board and the International Federation of Accountants welcomed PAFA’s adoption of international standards. The IASB noted that while some PAFA members have already adopted IFRS or are taking steps towards doing so, the board hopes that the PAFA policy will encourage others to follow. “This is a very positive move by PAFA member states to work collectively for the adoption of both IFRSs and the IFRS for SMEs across Africa,” said IASB chairman Hans Hoogervorst in a statement. “By improving clarity and comparability for existing and prospective investors, I believe that our standards have the potential to be of substantial economic benefit across the continent.”

IFAC CEO Ian Ball also welcomed the move. “ISAs provide the framework against which the auditor examines a company’s financial statements and judges whether they can be relied upon by investors, capital market participants, and policymakers,” Ball said. “The adoption of IPSASs, along with international standards on education and ethics, is particularly important in Africa, and so this resolution by PAFA is an important milestone. A sound financial infrastructure—in the form of high-quality, recognized standards in auditing, ethics, public sector accounting, and related regulation—is the only way that sustainable economic development is truly achievable as Africa seeks a larger role in the global economy.”

PAFA’s resolution reflects strong support for IFAC’s Statements of Membership Obligations, which form the basis of the IFAC Member Body Compliance Program. SMOs serve as a framework for credible and high-quality professional accountancy organizations focused on serving the public interest. PAFA’s resolution underscores the SMO requirements for IFAC members and associates to adopt and support implementation of international standards and maintain adequate enforcement mechanisms to ensure the professional behavior of their individual members.

The SMOs are issued under the IFAC Board’s authority, and the Compliance Advisory Panel, together with IFAC Compliance staff, is responsible for reviewing their continuing relevance and sufficiency.

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