We need to think global

No-one is doubting the impact that globalisation is having on our profession.
There are global standards, the major firms and their clients are being managed
on a global basis and regulators are following suit.

Given how essential the accounting profession is to the efficient functioning
of capital markets, it follows that accounting also needs to take a more global

While IFAC continues to play a part in driving the profession forward, we
need to be doing more to help our members respond to the challenges of the
global economy.

Through the creation of the Global Accounting Alliance, we aim to do just
that. It creates a structure within which its nine founding members – including
ourselves, ICAS and the ICAI as well as the American Institute of CPAs – that
can work more closely together on a number of different fronts.

The GAA is about ensuring we are capable of influencing the regulatory
agenda. The profession needs regulatory frameworks at the global level that
provide accountability without impeding business growth.

Together, we intend to lead and co-ordinate the debate on those regulatory
issues impacting the major capital markets, working with IFAC and other
international bodies. For example, one of the major issues we intend to engage
on is auditor liability reform.

It is also about ensuring we are there to support our members, regardless of
the jurisdiction within which they operate. The GAA represents more than 700,000
accountants of which 53,000 work outside their home markets. To support them, we
will work together to set up reciprocal arrangements between our respective
bodies that will provide access to training and services in the relevant

In the longer term, we expect to work more closely together to promote the
portability and international recognition of national qualifications, helping
each other to develop them in ways that will enable them to be more valuable in
global as well as national markets.

The creation of the GAA is an important step, not only for the ICAEW, for
ICAS and for the ICAI, but for the accounting profession globally. Together, we
will provide leadership that brings together the intellectual depth, as well as
the ethical rigour of our own individual institutes for the benefit of the major
capital markets.

Eric Anstee is chief executive of the ICAEW

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