The main aims of the workshop were:
- To report to key stakeholders on progress in implementing the mandate for the REPARIS program which had been endorsed by the Ministerial Conference in December 2009;
- To facilitate the exchange of information about the latest developments in the relevant areas of the EU acquis communautaire;
- To seek the views of the particiapants about the planned schedule of activities under the REPARIS program for 2010/11
The event was attended by senior officials from REPARIS countries, representatives of donor organizations, including the Austrian Development Agency, and technical experts from the CFRR and other specialist organizations.
The workshop was moderated by John Hegarty, Head of the CFRR, and opened with a presentation from Etienne Wenger, an advisor to the CFRR, explaining the advantages of the “communities of practice” (CoP) approach to shared learning. After this introduction, staff from the CFRR outlined how the CoP approach was being applied in the REPARIS program to the topics of Accounting Education, Financial Reporting and Audit and Oversight, each of which now have their own communities of practice which are operating well. The presenters described the issues that each CoP was facing and approaches that they adopting to resolve them. Other CFRR staff described how technological aids, such as the CFRR website and the adoption of wikis by the CoPs, were being used to improve the interaction between program participants and CFRR staff, and to make the flow of information between them easier.
Ardiana Bunjaku, the Executive Director of the Society of Certified Accountants and Auditors in Kosovo (SCAAK), then gave a presentation illustrating how the REPARIS program had had a concrete impact in influencing the development of Kosovo’s law on financial reporting and auditing.
The workshop then turned to the issue of financial reporting standards for small and medium-sized enterprises. Michael Wells' from the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation (IASCF) gave a presentation on the background and principles behind the IASB's simplified reporting standard for smaller firms, the IFRS for SMEs. Mr Wells presentation was complemented by the presentation from Saskia Slomp, from the European Financial Advisory Group (EFRAG) on the challenges facing a country which wanted to implement the IFRS for SMEs. She focused particularly on the issue of the incompatibilities between the requirements of the EU acquis and the IFRS for SMEs. This is a particular issue for REPARIS countries. Juan-Maria Arteagoitia-Landa from the European Commission’s Internal Market directorate general gave on overview of the development of the EU acquis on statutory auditing and discussed some of the issues surrounding its implementation.
The meeting succeeded in meeting its aims, with participants rating highly both the speakers and the organization of the event. They particularly appreciated the frankness of the advice from the European Commission official on the need for all countries seeking accession to the EU to transpose the acquis into their national legislation.
The officials present expressed their continued support for the REPARIS program. They also made some concrete suggestions as to how the program could be improved in order to involve senior decision-makers in each of their countries more closely in REPARIS events. It was agreed that the next Senior Officials workshop would be held in Brussels in the second half of 2010, with the aim of developing a clearer view of the European Union's policy agenda in the financial reporting field.
"Overview of developments and implementation of the
acquis communautaire relating to the statutory audit"
Juan Maria Arteagoitia, Policy Officer, Audit Policy Unit,
Directorate General Internal Market and Services, European Commission
"EFRAG and SME: Accounting in Europe"
Director of the European Financial Advisory Group (EFRAG)