PracticeConsultingFacing up to a financial crime fight

Facing up to a financial crime fight

There is nothing unusual in the OECD issuing statements about its fight against money laundering. But as it made its most recent statement last week, in which it named 15 rogue states it is refusing to delete from its blacklist, it also published another report - about accountants.

Accountants, it said, have a ‘special’ role to play in the fight against money laundering by providing capital markets with ‘transparent, credible information’. And it is a worthy role. But the importance of providing of transparent, reliable financial information goes beyond this.

It is the key to investor confidence, and therefore the very lifeblood of economic growth and stability.

Next month a meeting of a little-known body called the International Federation of Accountancy Development is due to meet in London. It was set up in 1997 after James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank, criticised the profession, as the Asian crisis took off, for not doing enough to enhance the accounting capacity and capabilities in developing nations.

IFAD aims to promote the provision of this sort of information throughout the world.

The talks which led to the ill-fated birth of the Cognitor concept are a sign that accountants around the world have been suffering something of an identity crisis.

But given the importance of reliable worldwide financial transparency, here is a vital role for accountants that will last into the future. Accountants should take the bull by the horns, and give full backing to IFAD and any similar initiatives.

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