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Central and South East Europe Regional Forum for Professional Accountancy Organizations (co-organized with IFAC)

1 June 2012, Vienna

Jointly with IFAC, the CFRR organized a regional forum in Vienna for professional accountancy organizations (PAOs) from the REPARIS countries on 1 June. The forum discussed two main topics: how professional accountants could improve their ability to provide services that businesses, especially SMEs, valued and what the accounting profession in the REPARIS countries needed to do in order to create a sustainable structure for the profession serving the public interest.

To the REPARIS program page

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Professional accounting and audit service providers , especially those in small and medium practices (SMPs) have historically tended to rely on audits as a key revenue source. However, regulatory change means that many of the smaller businesses that SMPs tend to work with will no longer be obliged to carry out audits. This has encouraged many SMPs to develop new services to supplement the shrinking volume of audit work. Speakers from IFAC and the European Federation of Accountants (FEE) emphasized that accountants generally enjoyed a reputation for competence and integrity with their clients. They discussed how SMPs could use this credibility to become "trusted business advisers", offering additional services to help their clients run their businesses more effectively. Such a change in focus posed management challenges for SMPs, especially in the areas of IT and marketing, but IFAC was developing a range of tools that PAOs could use in assisting their members. For SMPs engaged in audit work, the forum focused on issues relating to implementing quality assurance, and support services and tools available to help them to keep pace with regulatory and standards changes. The forum noted that growing numbers of accountants were in demand for positions in both private and public sector enterprises, and one of the key challenges facing the profession in the region was responding to the professional needs and support services of these members.

The second part of the forum addressed the issue of sustainability for the PAOs in the region. As Tatjana Todorovska from Macedonia's Institute of Certified Auditors (ICARM) emphasized, PAOs from small countries were having to deal with major changes in the regulatory framework, including the introduction of public oversight and quality assurance (QA) of auditors and the need to provide support to SMPs in implementing ISAs and many other areas, with only very limited resources. Liam Coughlan from the CFRR illustrated the scale of these challenges, showing how the Central and South East Europe Economies were characterized by fragmentation, with a large number of relatively smaller PAOs. At the same time, they faced a need to establish the reputation of the profession as serving the wider public interest. In response, the PAOs in the region would need to generate new sources of income, to be selective in importing QA and other systems from abroad and to be willing to work closely with the PAOs in neighboring countries.

Links of interest

Links of interest

Recent IFAC publications aimed at equipping PAOs to support accountants and auditors.

Topics of relevance to accountants in business:

IFAC support for role of SMPs in adding value to client enterprises:

IFAC support for SMPs in auditing and quality control:

The above links represent a relatively small selection of the resources made available by IFAC and its standard setting committees that will be of interest to accountants, auditors, PAOs and audit regulators in the region. Frequently there are non-English language versions available also.

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