IFAC sets out anti-corruption guidance for accountants

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has issued an action plan to help accountants combat money laundering, fraud, and corruption

The Action Plan for Fighting Corruption and Economic Crime establishes more than 30 specific actions for the accountancy profession, relating to education, evidence-based policy, global standards, partnership, and thought leadership.

Actions include further work with accountancy education, raising awareness of the importance of anti-corruption compliances, and working with organisations to directly integrate support for accounting standards and transparency.

IFAC’s action plan consists of five pillars, broad enough to provide a consistent framework over time. These include:

-         harnessing the full potential of education and professional development;

-         supporting global standards;

-         contributing toward evidence-based policymaking;

-         strengthening impact through engaging and public partnership; and

-         contributing expertise through thought leadership and advocacy.

The plan will build on the profession’s reach across public practice, business, and the public sector to contribute against corruption. It will also indirectly support the integrity and transparency in business and government, as well as effective global and domestic policymaking.

The pillars are designed to build on contributions within the profession to help strengthen its impact, addressing related economic crimes, poor public sector governance and financial management.

To maximise the profession’s fight against corruption, IFAC believes it to be crucial to consider how to best harness education and training to ensure that professional accountants have the skills and competence required to play their part.

The firm plans to conduct a global stock-take of the extent to which corruption and money laundering topics are part of pre-qualification training, as well as provide a forum for IFAC member organizations to share best practices related to corruption and other economic crime topics.

It also hopes to conduct a review of anti-corruption in corporate reporting by large, listed companies, to better understand the extent to which companies report on their anti-corruption efforts.

Kevin Dancey, IFAC CEO, said: ‘Corruption and related economic crimes, such as money laundering, bribery, tax evasion and fraud, are significant obstacles to economic growth and human development and, ultimately, to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals – all 17 of them.

‘Our action plan illustrates some time tested and some new ways that make it clear that the global accountancy profession is a central ally in the fight. We look forward to working with our member organizations and other partners to make a real difference and drive positive change.’

Taking inspiration from the International Bar Association’s (IBA) Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Legal Profession, the plan was developed in close coordination with the IBA, as well as extensive engagement across IFAC’s 180 member organisations.

ICAEW strongly welcomed the new action plan, stating that accountants play a crucial role in the fight against economic crime.

David Gomez, ICAEW’s senior lead, ethics, said: ‘We believe that accountants play a key role in the fight against economic crime, so we’re pleased to support IFAC’s anti-corruption plan which sets out specific actions for accountancy bodies to take with tackling corruption and economic crime.

‘At ICAEW, we’re continuing to engage with government on economic crime and cooperate transparency, while we are also ensuring our members are aware of these issues as part of their CPD.

‘Increased transparency measures, appropriate funding and resources for law enforcement agencies are vital to combat corruption, and so we will continue to work with international accountancy bodies, politicians and regulators to tackle these crimes.’

IFAC plans to release an update on the implementation of the action plan in its 2023 integrated annual review. For more details, the full report can be found here.

Max Austin |Reporter, Accountancy Daily 

Max Austin is a reporter at Accountancy Daily.If you have any news stories, please email me at: ...

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