International Accounting and Reporting Issues

2411-8737 (online)
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The United Nations has been contributing towards the harmonization of financial accounting and reporting standards since the 1970s. In order to address accounting and financial reporting issues on a continuous and inclusive basis, member States established the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) in 1982. The Review of International Accounting and Reporting Issues series contains the proceedings of the various session of ISAR as well as essays by leading experts on the implementation of international accounting standards and the current state of the international standard-setting process.
International Accounting and Reporting Issues - 2013 Review

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22 Oct 2014
9789210567640 (PDF)

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This volume is dedicated to the topic of human capacity development in relation to meeting the requirements for high-quality corporate reporting. Over the past four years, ISAR has been developing and refining a comprehensive approach to achieving high-quality corporate reporting: the Accounting Development Tool (ADT). The ADT dedicates one of its four pillars to the human capacity for achieving high-quality corporate reporting. There are a number of human capacity related challenges that countries face when implementing corporate reporting standards and codes developed at a global level. It also highlights trends such as the adoption and implementation of international standards and codes, the increasing regional and international cooperation among regulators of the accounting profession, and the emergence of education initiatives.
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  • Preface
    UNCTAD has been privileged to service for many years the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) which held its thirtieth anniversary session in November 2013 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Through ISAR, the United Nations has been contributing to a better understanding of the issues surrounding reliable and comparable corporate reporting with a view to assisting member States in creating conducive environment for domestic and international investment.
  • Introduction
    The International Accounting and Reporting Issues: 2013 Review is dedicated to the topic of human capacity development in relation to meeting the requirements for high-quality corporate reporting. Through ISAR, the United Nations has been contributing towards promoting more reliable and comparable corporate reporting around the world. A number of ISAR sessions dealt with topics related human capacity development and regulation in the area of accounting and reporting. For example, in one of its earlier sessions, in March 1985, ISAR examined ways and means of developing education, research and practical training in the field of accounting in member States. In 1989 and 1990, the Group of Experts conducted similar deliberations focused on the accountancy profession in Africa. In 1996, ISAR considered the regulation of the accountancy profession in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. One of ISAR's notable contributions to the professional education and training of accountants was the Model Accounting Curriculum it adopted at its sixteenth session in February 1999, which was later revised at its twentieth session in October 2003.
  • Acknowledgements
    This publication was prepared by an UNCTAD team under the overall supervision of Tatiana Krylova, Head, Enterprise Development Branch and Jean-Francois Baylocq, Chief, Accounting and Corporate Governance Section. Yoseph Asmelash, conceptualized the publication, coordinated the research and drafting, and prepared the manuscript for publication. Isabel Garza provided substantive contributions. Edvins Reisons assisted in the formatting of the manuscript. Vanessa McCarthy provided valuable administrative support. Leah Njoroge and Alexandra Gordina also made useful contributions in finalizing the publication
  • Key foundations for high-quality corporate reporting: Human resources development challenges
    There are a number of human capacity related challenges that countries face when implementing corporate reporting standards and codes developed at a global level. These challenges occur to a varying extent in all countries regardless of their level of economic development. Reorientation of existing national education systems to integrate globally developed standards and codes could take a considerable amount of time – in some cases an entire generation. Transition to a new accounting framework is challenging and a critical integral component of managing such a transition period is developing the necessary competencies in relation to implementation of the global standards. Thus, developing human resources capacity for corporate reporting in a sustainable manner requires regulatory and institutional support as well as reliable sources of funding.
  • Overview of the country case studies on human capacity development in accounting and corporate reporting
    As discussed in chapter I, member States of UNCTAD are exerting sustained efforts to achieve high-quality corporate reporting. In this respect, human capacity development has emerged as a critical area. In order to gain a better understanding of the human capacity development needs in the area of accounting and corporate reporting, the UNCTAD secretariat conducted country case studies of Chile, Denmark, Malaysia, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Russian Federation. These case studies are presented in this volume from chapter III onwards. These countries were selected from different regions of the world with a view to highlighting some regional factors that impact human capacity development in the areas of accounting and corporate reporting. Furthermore, the case study countries illustrate different legal and regulatory traditions. While Chile, Denmark and the Russian Federation follow a code law tradition, Malaysia and the United Republic of Tanzania take a common law approach.
  • Case study of Chile
    This case study presents the current status of the Chilean accountancy profession, its regulations, the accountancy development framework, explanations on how the country has been adopting international standards, the leadership role played by the superintendencies, and the Chilean PAO (Colegio de Contadores de Chile – CCCH), in facilitating this process. It discusses the educational system put in place by the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC). Various stakeholders in Chile provided essential input for preparing this case study. Further information on these stakeholders is provided at the end of this chapter.
  • Case study of Denmark
    Accountants and State-authorized public auditors, among others, constitute a key element of the human capacity chain that serves as an integral part of the process of producing high-quality corporate reporting at the local, regional and global levels. Strengthening the competencies of professional accountants, auditors and other actors working on and with the production of accounts and financial reporting, is therefore considered a central element in global efforts towards continuous improvements in corporate reporting and auditing practices.
  • Case study of Malaysia
    Since independence from the British in 1957, Malaysia's economic record has been one of Asia's best (World Bank, 2012). Once heavily dependent on primary products such as rubber and tin, Malaysia today is a middle-income country with a multi-sector economy, primarily agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction, and services. Arguably, Malaysia has reached a defining moment in its development path. It is recognized that Vision 2020 is not possible without economic, social and government transformation. Malaysia is said to be caught in the middle-income trap. In response, the Government has crafted a framework to drive change. The New Economic Model (NEM) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) constitute the key pillar to propel Malaysia to being a developed nation with inclusiveness and sustainability in line with the goals set forth in Vision 2020. The ETP is driven by eight Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRIs), forming the basis of the relevant policy measures. The NEM takes a holistic approach, focussing also on the human dimension of development, specifically, in cultivating an enabling ecosystem for human capital excellence with creativity and innovation. Clearly, globalization has created a fierce competition for talent, forcing the Government to recognize that people are the most valuable assets. To compete on a regional and global scale, efforts are currently underway to enable Malaysia to attract and retain talent.
  • Case study of the Russian Federation
    The Russian Federation is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects. At 17,075,400 square kilometres, the Russian Federation is the largest country in the world, covering more than one eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area. The Russian Federation is also the world's ninth most populous nation with 143 million people as of 2012. Extending across the entirety of northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, the Russian Federation spans nine time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms.
  • Case study of the United Republic of Tanzania
    The United Republic of Tanzania is a developing country located on the eastern coast of Africa. With a population of 44.92 million (NBS, 2013) its economy is largely dependent on agriculture which accounts for about 25 per cent of the estimated GDP per capita of US$1,700. The Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) is the only stock exchange in the country and is located in Dar es Salaam, the capital city. There are 17 companies, of which 11 companies (about 65 per cent) are domestic, listed on the exchange. The total market capitalization is US$8,876.62 million (Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange). The United Republic of Tanzania has a sizable small and medium enterprise sector. It is estimated that there are more than three million SMEs in the country (UNIDO, 2012) with a large proportion of businesses considered to be informal. SMEs and the informal sector in general are considered to be an important source of employment, absorbing about 62.5 per cent of yearly urban labour force compared to 8.5 per cent absorbed by the formal sector.
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