The top concerns of global accounting leaders, according to a new survey, included the needs of small- and medium-sized practices and small- and medium-sized entities and the reputation and credibility of the profession.

Other top concerns in the 2013 survey, conducted by the international Federation of Accountants, include issues related to draft legislation in the European Union on audit firm regulation; as well as public sector financial management and sovereign debt issues; and the difficult global financial climate.

The survey examined the perceptions of members of the accounting profession and the most significant issues facing global accountancy in 2013, presenting key concerns over a range of topics.

“The sovereign debt crisis and the current financial climate have contributed greatly to the changing role of the accountancy profession,” said IFAC CEO Fayez Choudhury in a statement. “Professional accountants are now more visible, and the profile and responsibility of the profession will only continue to grow. Similar to last year, respondents continue to express their view that IFAC should seek to maintain and improve the public’s perceived views of the accountancy profession; reputation and credibility of the global profession was ranked as one of the most significant issues for 2013.”

The 2012 IFAC Global Leadership Survey of the Accountancy Profession asked officers (typically presidents and chief executive officers) from IFAC’s member bodies such as the American Institute of CPAs, as well as associates, affiliates, regional accountancy organizations and acknowledged accountancy groupings, and Forum of Firms members a variety of questions regarding the accountancy profession. The survey results include data from 113 respondents from 72 countries and jurisdictions who took the survey from October 10, 2012 to December 10, 2012.

Respondents’ highest priorities continued to be increasing the confidence in international standards, increasing their adoption, enhancing their implementation, and new standards and revision of existing standards. Indeed, contributing to the development of high-quality international standards was one of the areas where respondents said they receive greatest value from being an IFAC member or key stakeholder. Global regulatory convergence was cited as one of the top public policy areas that IFAC should take a position in and speak out on in 2013.

The average perception of the accounting profession was higher in Australia-Oceania and North America, and slightly lower in Europe. While much of the world gave high priority to high-quality services by accounting firms and practitioners, Australia-Oceania and North America favored effective implementation and enforcement of international standards. Australia-Oceania, Europe, and North America indicated that IFAC should allocate more of its resources to standards and guidance; Africa-Middle East allocated more attention to adoption and implementation; Asia allocated more to development and quality; and, Australia-Oceania and Latin America and Caribbean allocated more to speaking out.

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