Small and midsized accounting firms need to do more to help small businesses cope with the economy in countries around the world, according to international accounting leaders.

More than 200 delegates from over 45 countries converged in Istanbul, Turkey on Monday for the fifth SMP Forum of the International Federation of Accountants’ Small and Medium Practices Committee.

The conference was held in cooperation with the Union of Chambers of CPAs of Turkey, the Expert Accountants' Association of Turkey, and the Fédération des Experts Comptables Méditerranéens. The conference featured a keynote address from IFAC president Göran Tidström, and presentations from the World Bank and the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.

Delegates from IFAC member bodies convened to discuss, debate, and share best practices on a range of topics, including the challenge for small businesses in keeping up with the complicated and rapidly changing regulatory environment and the many ways that small and midsized accounting practices can partner with small businesses to build and sustain value. The forum also included breakout sessions on implementing the IESBA Code of Ethics, the IAASB’s future projects for SMPs, and resources and tools to support this sector.

In his opening remarks, Tidström indicated that small- and midsized entities are a public interest issue. They represent two-thirds of employment globally, and comprise 95 percent of entities, according to the OECD. “Therefore,” he said, “keeping the wheels of the SME sector turning is critical, as they are the engine of the global economy.” 

“SMPs can help SMEs thrive by providing them with a broad range of services, including strategic and business advisory services, IT and financial reporting systems support, risk management and fraud prevention services, and financial, tax, and HR advisory services,” Tidström added. “The IFAC SMP Committee supports SMPs in developing and maintaining their competencies to provide these services, in addition to traditional compliance services.”

“This event continues to provide us with a unique opportunity to unite the global SMP community to focus on the issues that are the most relevant to this sector,” said Sylvie Voghel, chair of the IFAC SMP Committee. “The attendance here today is testament to professional accountancy organizations’ commitment to their SMP members. The SMP Committee is committed to building the capacity of SMPs, and we look forward to translating what we have learned here today into tangible outputs.”

For more information, visit the International Center for SMPs on the IFAC Web site. Presentations from this year’s forum, as well as videos, will be available on the site.

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