Accounting Standards

ACCA and IFAC issue sustainability recommendations

The recommendations are aimed at ensuring that government responses to the crisis are sustainable and inclusive

ACCA and IFAC have together issued calls to action for both public finance professionals and governments to push for progress in progressing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whilst ensuring that Covid-19 economic recovery is “both sustainable and inclusive”. 

It comes as ACCA co-hosted two expert roundtables with IFAC on the issue of sustainable public finances in times of crisis, which saw 22 global experts, from diverse backgrounds and regions, formulate a number of policy recommendations.

These recommendations are aimed at ensuring that government responses to the crisis are sustainable and inclusive, and outline how the public finance profession “can, and should, play a pivotal role in driving national progress in achieving the SDGs”.

According to ACCA, as governments “move from saving lives to saving livelihoods”, the public finance profession can help ensure policy responses account for the human aspect of this crisis. 

It warned that as government responses to the crisis have had to be fast, some policies have led to inefficiencies, increased risks of corruption and may have exacerbated inequalities. 

It said: “The experts’ call to action was for the profession to be wary of both of these co-existing realities and to start taking note of what lessons can be learned and what we can collectively do better in the future.”

The second roundtable on SDGs focused on the important role that public finance professionals can play in holding governments to account and promoting awareness of sustainability goals. 

They have been urged to ensure that Covid-19 recovery packages “maintain momentum” in working towards SDGs, and connect financial and non-financial reporting techniques to account for broader value creation objectives beyond financials.

Mark Millar, ACCA President, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is a human crisis that has exacerbated inequalities, further emphasised climate risks and caused massive loss of lives – it’s not solely an economic crisis. 

“The public finance profession must demonstrate leadership in helping to not only build back economies, but to build back more inclusive and more sustainable economies.”

Laura Leka, senior technical manager at IFAC said: “A fundamental role of the public finance profession throughout this crisis is to promote transparency and accountability, both in the initial response and the recovery from Covid-19. 

“Preventing and minimising fraud and corruption must be high on the agendas of governments as the opportunities, incentives and pressures to commit these crimes can be heightened in times of crisis. With its ethical underpinnings, the accountancy profession will be key in the fight against corruption and should play a leading role.”

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