Ifac’s Action Plan for Fighting Corruption and Economic Crime. In Cooperation with the International Bar Association and with the Support of the World Economic Forum’s Gatekeeper Task Force. 2022 contains significant milestones in modern history. The global emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, and policymakers, businesses, and the accountancy profession can renew their focus on longer-term issues.
At the same time, new political, social and economic crises emerge around the world, often with little warning. But with every passing day, we continue to approach 2030. And comprehensive global progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains an aspiration for many.
Time is of the essence if we are to deliver meaningful progress on the SDGs by 2030. In our annual G20 Calls to Action, IFAC has focused on the need to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future, including support for international sustainability standards, and the need to champion high-quality public financial management (PFM). These are important answers to “How?” As in, how can we meaningfully accelerate progress on the SDGs?
It is important to look more deeply and understand what is holding us back. 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 SDGs—all seventeen of them. To quote the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “Corruption is a severe impediment to sustainable economic, political, and social progress for countries at all levels of development.” IFAC—as the voice of the global accountancy profession—agrees. Indeed, the United Nations estimates that USD 5 to 7 trillion worth of annual investment is needed to achieve the UN SGDs. At the same time, USD 3.6 trillion is lost to corruption each year. The math just doesn’t add up.
We have an important role to play. The global accountancy profession is well placed within, and as advisors to, business, the public sector, and society to help fight these crimes. Just as importantly, the profession is also well placed to support an ecosystem of key actors and policymakers that strive to counter corruption and economic crime at the global and domestic levels. By leading in these two roles, the global accountancy profession serves the public interest as enablers of the UN SDGs in every country.
Our Action Plan for Fighting Corruption and Economic Crime provides a framework for how we can enhance the accountancy profession’s role in combating corruption and economic crimes, thereby advancing the UN SDGs. It is meant to evolve over time with new supporting actions and initiatives. While many of the actions will be conducted by IFAC, it is an action plan for the whole profession. IFAC hopes that professional accountancy organizations (PAOs), IFAC Network Partners, and individual professional accountants support this Action Plan and continue to engage on how to maximize the profession’s contributions. We have developed our Action Plan in close coordination with the International Bar Association (IBA), with inspiration from their Legal Profession’s Strategy for Fighting Corruption and Economic Crime. This collaboration reflects the significant depth and breadth of both professions’ involvement across business, the public sector, and society. Simply put, our impact is stronger working together.
Finally, as detailed in the Action Plan itself, partnership is a core tenet. We would like to thank the IBA and the World Economic Forum’s Gatekeeper Task Force, as well as the other important global organizations that have shown their support. We also thank our member organizations, the Forum of Firms, and the over three million professional accountants who are already fighting corruption, economic crimes and illicit financial flows, every day. We look forward to continued engagement on these issues in the months and years ahead.
Kevin Dancey, IFAC CEO
IFAC’S ACTION PLAN FOR FIGHTING CORRUPTION AND ECONOMIC CRIME
Five Pillars Supporting An Ecosystem
Corruption, economic crimes and their related illicit financial flows are significant obstacles to achieving the UN SDGs, and a sustainable future more broadly. The global accountancy profession is well placed in business, public practice, the public sector, and society to fight these crimes directly, as well as indirectly by supporting an ecosystem of key actors and policymakers, thereby serving the public interest as enablers of the UN SDGs, in every country worldwide.
IFAC’s Action Plan for Fighting Corruption and Economic Crime (Anti-Corruption Action Plan) consists of five pillars. These are broad enough to provide a consistent framework for actions to support the Action Plan as it evolves over time. The boundaries between the different pillars are not meant to be clear cut. Our support for the IESBA Code, for example, is relevant to each pillar—reflecting its central importance to accountancy as a global and trusted profession.
The five pillars are founded on the need for a whole-ecosystem approach, with the global accountancy profession as a core part and contributor to that ecosystem. Other key actors include political leaders, government agencies, civil servants, business leaders, and company management and those charged with governance, global policymakers, law enforcement, other regulated professionals (such as lawyers), and individual citizens and taxpayers.
These actors all must work together in an increasingly global—yet still largely domestic—policy framework of treaties, legislation, and regulations.
1 Harnessing the Full Potential of Education and Professional Development
2 Supporting Global Standards
3 Contributing to Evidence-based Policymaking
4 Strengthening Our Impact through Engagement and Partnership
5 Contributing Our Expertise through Thought Leadership and Advocacy
IFAC’S ACTION PLAN FOR FIGHTING CORRUPTION AND ECONOMIC CRIME
THE ANTI-CORRUPTION ECOSYSTEM
Financial Intelligence Units
Other Regulated Professions
Those Charged with Governance
WHY THE ACCOUNTANCY PROFESSION?
The accountancy profession can be an essential driver of strong and sustainable government institutions, financial markets, economies, and society. A strong accountancy profession, comprised of highly-trained ethical accountancy professionals, enhance transparency and accountability in the public and private sectors, underpins financial sector and economic development, and contributes to poverty reduction and shared prosperity. The accountancy profession’s capacity to address constraints to sustainable growth—including corruption and related economic crimes, but also poor public sector governance and financial management—ready to be a central driver of sustainable development.
Connecting to Impact
IFAC’s Anti-Corruption Action Plan aligns with IFAC’s Strategic Plan, including our vision for the global accountancy profession—that the profession be recognized as essential to strong, sustainable organizations, financial markets, and economies—as well as IFAC’s purpose as an organization: to serve the public interest by enhancing the relevance, reputation, and value of the global accountancy profession.
IFAC’S ACTION PLAN FOR FIGHTING CORRUPTION AND ECONOMIC CRIME
Organizing the Anti-Corruption Action Plan into five pillars has two primary objectives. First, it provides a narrative structure for what the global accountancy profession already does and connects this to the anti-corruption and economic crime agenda. This helps the profession and other stakeholders understand our role. Second, and more importantly, the structure and organizing principles will inspire the profession—IFAC, PAOs, firms of all sizes, and individual professional accountants (including those who work in business or in government)—to build on our contributions with new or expanded activities that strengthen our positive impact.
Just the Beginning
The initial actions set out in this Action Plan are just a starting point. It is important to note that many of the actions focus specifically on money laundering, given the clear links between money laundering and corruption. That said, the Anti-Corruption Action Plan is broad in scope, touching on the interrelated crimes of corruption, money laundering, bribery, fraud and tax evasion. We encourage professional accountancy organizations and other stakeholders to engage with IFAC as we move forward.
The Action Plan also brings to life IFAC’s new Impact approach, which better focuses and articulates to IFAC staff and key stakeholders how we create value. IFAC’s Impact Approach will be discussed in greater detail in our forthcoming Strategic Plan, putting the fight against corruption and economic crime in the broader context of IFAC’s activities.
Enhancing Business, Professional and Public Sector Integrity—as embodied in this action plan—is a key focus area under IMPACT 3, Strong and Sustainable Economies and Markets.
“ Corruption and money laundering are intrinsically linked.” –The Financial Action Task Force, 2010
WHISTLEBLOWERS & SECURITY
IFAC staff engaged extensively with stakeholders both within and outside of the accountancy profession in developing this action plan. One of the key concerns that came up again and again is security. Whistleblowers, and those who speak truth to power, are subject to very real threats to safety. Sadly, this far too often results in violence. The accountancy profession’s ability to make an immediate impact on security issues is very limited. However, by supporting an ecosystem and culture of transparency and integrity, professional accountants and PAOs can help drive change over time, reducing the severity of the security issue.
HARNESSING THE FULL POTENTIAL OF EDUCATION AND 1 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Education and professional development are foundational. The modern concept of accountancy has developed into a full academic discipline and corresponding organized profession, and the journey to become a professional accountant today requires years of intensive study, practical experience, assessments and qualifications through a PAO. This professional journey has evolved from a narrower focus on core technical knowledge to a broader focus on skills, competencies, and lifelong learning. This evolution has brought complex topics like the measurement and reporting of complicated financial instruments and greenhouse gas emissions squarely into the wheelhouse of professional accountancy. Formal accountancy education and professional development may include three key phases (in addition to practical experience): an academic foundation, pre-qualification training and assessment through, or with the support of, a PAO, and continuing professional development. To maximize the accountancy profession’s contribution to the fight against corruption and economic crime, it is crucial that we consider how to best harness these phases to ensure that professional accountants have the skills and competence required to play their part. In the context of a broader ecosystem approach to fighting corruption and economic crime, the issue of education goes far beyond training professional accountants. A well-informed public is one of the most important tools in fighting corruption and economic crime, and it is critical that the profession does what it can to support broader education efforts. Conduct a global stock-take of the extent to which corruption and money laundering topics are part of pre-qualification training and assessments and continuing professional development in different jurisdictions worldwide. This data should serve as the foundation for further work with IFAC’s International Panel on Accountancy Education (IPAE) for better integration of corruption and economic crime topics into accountancy education, particularly with respect to anti-money Laundering. Continue to support PAOs in educating individual professional accountants with resources like
Exploring the IESBA Code and
AML: The Basics, (based on the FATF’s Guidance for a Risk-Based Approach for the Accounting Profession), as well as the broader wealth of resources on the IFAC Knowledge Gateway. This includes supporting translations into additional languages and additional practical guides on relevant corruption and economic crime topics. Noting the important link between developing public sector financial management and the fight against corruption, support for capacity building through IFAC’s Memoranda of Understanding with development partners like GAVI and The Global Fund, USAID, and the broader group of MOSAIC signatories (Memorandum of Understanding to Strengthen Accountancy and Improve Collaboration), as well as initiatives like the African Professionalization Initiative, to ensure that highly skilled and ethical professional accountants fill critical roles in government, business and society in countries where they are needed most. ACTIONS AML Education Stock Take Public Sector Capacity Building Educational Resources for PAOs and Professional Accountants.
Support the transition to International Public Sector Accounting Standards to ensure high-quality accrual accounting is implemented in public sector entities worldwide through resources like Pathways to Accrual and Train the Trainer. Based on the understanding that a well-informed citizenry is one of the best defenses against economic crime, enhance participation in financial literacy initiatives such as the International Organization of Securities Commissions’ (IOSCO) World Investor Week and the OECD’s International Network for Financial Education, as well as support for critical tax education and tax morale work by the OECD and others. Raise awareness of the importance of anti-corruption and anti money laundering compliance to those charged with governance (TCWG), including an information/ awareness toolkit aimed at audit committees. Provide a forum for IFAC member organizations to share experiences and best practices related to developing specialized qualifications and certifications related to corruption and other economic crime topics, and assist their members to develop the skills and competencies to combat them.
Exploring Specialized Qualifications Public Sector Resources Those Charged with Governance Financial Literacy and Tax Education HARNESSING THE FULL POTENTIAL OF EDUCATION AND 1 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING: THE BASICS Installment 1: Introduction to Anti-Money Laundering for Professional Accountants WHAT IS MONEY LAUNDERING? Money laundering is the process that turns dirty money into funds that appear lawful and can therefore be spent as if they were from legal sources. Money laundering legitimizes the proceeds of crime and allows drug gangs, human traffickers and other criminals to expand and benefit from their operations. It is estimated that the potential annual scale of money laundering may exceed $1 trillion USD globally* * United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime What is this guide? This series is meant to help professional accountants enhance their understanding of how money laundering works, the risks they face, and what they can do to mitigate these risks and make a positive contribution to the public interest. It is meant to be accessible and easy to-use. As a result, it cannot cover every issue or local requirement. Instead, it addresses key issues for professional accountants. What is Money-Laundering risk? Money laundering presents professional accountants with three key risks. Accountants may: • Be used to launder money (e.g., by holding criminal proceeds in a bank account or taking a role in an arrangement that disguises the beneficial ownership of criminal proceeds) • Be used to facilitate money laundering by another person (e.g., by creating a corporate vehicle to be used for money laundering or by introducing a money launderer to another professional adviser) • Suffer consequential legal, regulatory or reputational damage because a client (or one or their associates) is involved in money laundering having failed to spot the red flags and report it Why should accountants care? The fight against money laundering is not just a compliance exercise. Economic crime, including money laundering, affects more citizens, more often than any other security threat. Money laundering corrodes wider society, whether from illicit investments in high-value property, drugrelated violence in disadvantaged neighborhoods, or the trauma caused by human trafficking and modern slavery. The criminals responsible exploit some of the most vulnerable in our communities, and bring illegal drugs and violence to our streets, damaging the fabric of society. As a public interest profession, we must play our part to keep our societies safe. As gatekeepers to the financial system, professional accountants are the first line of defense to prevent these illicit funds finding their way into the economy. ACTIONS Educational Resources
Global standards are the cornerstone of the accountancy profession and are one of the unique features that set the profession apart from non-professional service providers. Support for global standards has been a central activity for IFAC since our inception in 1977. Support for global standards will continue to be a core part of IFAC’s purpose following the implementation of the Monitoring Group reforms, which will see the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) and the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) gain greater structural independence from IFAC. The global standards developed by IESBA, IAASB and the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) are applied by professional accountants and others the world over every day, in business and the public sector as a basis to safeguard public trust and confidence in their work. They provide frameworks for addressing fraud, responding to non-compliance with laws and regulations, and ensuring that the use of public funds is transparent. Each set of standards has an important role to play in the Anti-Corruption Action Plan. In particular, the IESBA’s International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) sets professional accountants apart from other service providers and is a core, distinguishing foundation of the profession. IFAC’s support for global standards goes beyond the IESBA Code, the International Standards on Auditing (ISAs), and the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations, for example, provide the critical framework for a coordinated global response to money laundering, and IFAC supports the adoption and implementation of the FATF Recommendations in every jurisdiction worldwide. At the same time, other global standards will have an important role to play as well. Notably, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, which the ISSB will develop and approve. The ISSB, building off of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards and Integrated Reporting (<IR>) Framework, and working with jurisdiction-specific initiatives and organizations like the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), can drive harmonization of corporate reporting related to corruption, bribery and related topics. Continue support for adoption, implementation and enforcement of the IESBA Code, including reinforcing the importance of the five fundamental principles and, in particular, highlighting the NOCLAR (Non-Compliance with Laws and Regulations) standard and its important role in supporting a comprehensive whistleblowing ecosystem. This also includes a commitment to supporting an effective post-implementation review of NOCLAR, which the IESBA plans to commence in 2023. Support for the IESBA Code must also include an emphasis on the expectation of professional accountants to encourage and promote an ethics-based culture in their organization. Work with IFAC member organizations to explore how IFAC can more directly integrate support for the FATF Recommendations into their efforts, including ways we can best monitor progress. NOCLAR Post-Implementation Review FATF Recommendations and the IFAC Mission SUPPORTING GLOBAL 2 STANDARDS ACTIONS
Continue support for the adoption and implementation of accrual accounting in the public sector and, in particular, the IPSAS. This includes an increased focus on demonstrating how global public sector accounting standards are crucial to increased transparency and accountability, and alongside the important work of supreme audit institutions (SAIs), can lower incidences of corruption. Advocate to policymakers and regulators that the provision of services performed by non-professional service providers that present a heightened risk with respect to economic crime (such as tax, company formation, etc.) be subject to a level playing field comparable to regulated professional accountants and practitioners subject to a strong ethical code and quality management requirements. Support the ISSB initiative based on SASB standards and the <IR> Framework, in coordination with GRI, to establish a global baseline for sustainability-related disclosures, which should ultimately include social and governance factors such as anti-corruption reporting. This also includes support for any future public sector sustainability-related reporting standards under the IPSASB. Continue support for the adoption and implementation of the International Standards on Quality Management (ISQMs) and the ISAs, including highlighting the auditor’s responsibilities in an audit of the financial statements both as it relates to fraud (especially by creating awareness of the IAASB’s project to revise its fraud standard), and to the consideration of laws and regulations. Support for IAASB standards includes a recognition of the role that high quality assurance standards play in ensuring consistency and quality of reported environmental, social and governance (ESG) information, particularly with respect to corruption and economic crime issues. Quality Management and Assurance Role of IPSAS and SAIs Support ISSB Global Baseline Level Playing Field Across All Gatekeepers SUPPORTING GLOBAL 2 STANDARDS ACTIONS 2021 STATUS REPORT INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC SECTOR FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY INDEX ACCRUAL IN 2020 ACCRUAL VS 2018 30% +6% 165 JURISDICTIONS DISCLAIMER This Tool is designed to assist practitioners in the implementation of ISA 540 (Revised), Auditing Accounting Estimates and Related Disclosures, but is not intended to be a substitute for reading the standard itself. Furthermore, a practitioner should utilize this Guide in light of his/her professional judgment and the facts and circumstances involved in each particular audit. It should also be noted that the examples provided are not exhaustive and do not represent every aspect of auditing accounting estimates, but are provided to help guide the auditor through some specific scenarios rather than through every situation that may be encountered on an audit. IFAC disclaims any responsibility or liability that may occur, directly or indirectly, as a consequence of the use and application of this Tool. Introduction For entities of all types and sizes, management often has to make accounting estimates when monetary amounts in financial statements cannot be directly observed. Accounting estimates all have some degree of estimation uncertainty due to inherent limitations in management’s knowledge or due to data that give rise to inherent subjectivity and variation in the measurement outcomes. Along with being subjective, accounting estimates may also be complex. These characteristics of accounting estimates have important implications for the financial statement audit, because the effects of complexity, subjectivity or other inherent risk factors on the measurement of these AUDITING ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES: ISA 540 (REVISED) IMPLEMENTATION TOOL THE STATE OF PLAY IN REPORTING AND ASSURANCE OF SUSTAINABILITY INFORMATION: UPDATE 2019-2020 DATA & ANALYSIS JULY 2022 Global Standards Resources
CONTRIBUTING TO EVIDENCE-BASED POLICYMAKING
Evidence-based policymaking is the process of using high-quality information to inform policy decisions. The accountancy profession is, at its core, about creating and verifying high-quality, decision-useful information. Professional accountants do this every day, the world over, within and as advisors to business and the public sector, acting in the public interest. This pillar of the Anti-Corruption Action Plan is about ensuring that global policy is as effective and efficient as possible. It starts with our support for the global standards discussed above, which provide a foundation for evidence-based policy by facilitating transparency and enhancing the accountability of policy makers for their decisions. It continues by leveraging the profession’s comparative advantages—like the profession’s ethical core and its deep competencies in areas like tax and corporate financial and sustainability reporting—and identifying ways in which we can fill data gaps and advance important conversations. As issues, priorities, and important policy questions evolve over time, the accountancy profession will be there to inform decision-makers. We look forward to hearing from a diverse range of stakeholders on areas where the profession can produce valuable data to drive the greatest positive impact. Conduct a thematic review of anti-corruption in corporate reporting by large, listed companies, following on IFAC’s groundbreaking State of Play series, to better understand the extent to which companies report on their anti-corruption efforts. Contribute to the global understanding of the levels of corruption (corruption perception) across jurisdictions through a global corruption survey for accountants, in partnership with a parallel survey of lawyers by the IBA. Continue to contribute crucial data on the extent of adoption and implementation of accrual accounting by governments worldwide through our International Public Sector Financial Accountability Index. Continue to explore the connection between a highquality accountancy profession and levels of corruption, as well as broader indicators of economic development, including through our Nexus series and related research. Continue our work to understand public attitudes toward tax through our Trust in Tax reports (focused at G20 and non-G20 jurisdictions) to support global tax education and domestic revenue mobilization initiatives, as well as the development of national tax/revenue strategies. ACTIONS Anti-Corruption Reporting Thematic Review Trust in Tax Surveys Global Gatekeepers Survey Monitoring Transition to Accrual in the Public Sector Quantitative Analysis and Research
STRENGTHENING OUR IMPACT THROUGH ENGAGEMENT AND PARTNERSHIP
The accountancy profession thrives on partnership, whether within firms, throughout a business or public sector entity, or in the context of relationships with clients. This extends more broadly throughout the profession, amongst PAOs, standard-setting boards, regulators and with IFAC. Partnership is the basis for the AntiCorruption Action Plan. The Action Plan was born from the relationship between IFAC and the IBA in recognition of the similarities between our professions, as well as our shared commitment to the fight against corruption, as embodied in our Joint Anti-Corruption Mandate. It is also informed by the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Unifying Framework for Gatekeepers, which highlights that, “effectively harnessing gatekeeper potential to combat illicit financial flows presents an opportunity to reduce the massive cost of corrupt behavior and capitalize on the efficiency of honest markets.” IFAC, our member organizations, and the profession at large have countless relationships with other organizations that have a role in fighting corruption and economic crime. The Anti-Corruption Action Plan calls on us to consider our engagement and partnerships with other organizations at a higher level with a view to driving impact in the fight against corruption and economic crime. The Anti-Corruption Action Plan was developed with feedback and input from a number of our key global engagement partners. Our success depends on strong, continued engagement and partnership going forward. Enhance our efforts to engage with and support PAOs and PAO-related Network Partners to better understand their needs and share experiences and best practices, including developing a domestic engagement toolkit for PAOs to engage with domestic policymakers in their jurisdictions, with a view to developing their own jurisdiction-specific anti corruption strategies. Strengthen IFAC’s engagement with the FATF on key anti-money laundering policy issues, including participation in FATF Private Sector Consultative Forums. Build on the IFAC-IBA Joint Mandate Against Corruption, combining the strengths of the accountancy and legal professions in the fight against corruption and economic crime. IFAC also encourages PAOs to build strong relationships with their local legal profession / bar association and identify and align on areas of common interest. ACTIONS Domestic Engagement Toolkit for PAOs Partnership with Legal Profession Focus on AML and the FATF
Continue engagement with leading private sector and civil society partners such as the WEF PACI, Business at OECD’s AntiCorruption Committee, the Basel Institute of Governance, and Transparency International. Continue to engage with core accountancy and related stakeholders like the Forum of Firms, Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), and Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), to ensure that corruption and economic crime issues remain a shared focus. Increase our focus on engagement with the donor community and development partners, including the MOSAIC signatories and others, to drive smart approaches to capacity building in the public sector to support stronger public financial management. Redouble our commitment to engagement with key policymakers and in multilateral policy fora like the OECD and B20, and continuing our engagement with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with a focus on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), and other relevant global institutions like the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI). Global Policymakers Donor Community and Capacity Private Sector and Civil Society Building Accountancy-related Stakeholders STRENGTHENING OUR IMPACT THROUGH ENGAGEMENT AND PARTNERSHIP ACTIONS Engagement Resources
CONTRIBUTING OUR EXPERTISE THROUGH THOUGHT LEADERSHIP AND ADVOCACY
The final pillar of the Anti-Corruption Action Plan is ensuring that the global accountancy profession’s views are clear, and our voice is heard. With over three million professional accountants touching a wide breadth of businesses and public sector entities worldwide, the accountancy profession’s collective experience and expertise are unmatched. It is crucially important that such experience and expertise be a part of policymaking at the global and local levels. IFAC, as the voice of the global accountancy profession, has long advocated for smart regulation. Smart regulation is proportionate, strikes the right balance between cost and benefit across all parties, and importantly, maximizes efficiency, effectiveness, and impact. It is also global to the extent possible, minimizing regulatory fragmentation and unnecessary cost. At the same time, new technologies continue to emerge, creating new risks and opportunities and testing the fitness of existing regulations. Considering the importance of the fight against corruption and economic crime as foundational in delivering on the UN SDGs, smart regulation on relevant issues is a must. Update IFAC’s Point of View on Fighting Corruption and Money Laundering to address recent developments with respect to the OECD Anti-Bribery Recommendation, tax practice, the role of the profession in supporting collective action, and establishing connections with broader sustainability, among others. Continue to support IFAC’s Knowledge Gateway, which serves as a central hub for thought leadership and critical resources with relevance to the accountancy profession and beyond, including on the anti-corruption and economic crime topics addressed by this Action Plan. Advocate for the global accountancy profession’s perspective on policy issues related to money laundering, beneficial ownership transparency, whistleblower protection, and other key components of the fight against corruption and economic crime, in consultation responses and various consultative fora. This includes additional focused thought leadership on whistleblowing. ACTIONS Updating IFAC Point of View Thought Leadership on Whistleblowing and Other Topics IFAC Knowledge Gateway
Continue to make corruption and economic crime a key focus area in IFAC’s annual G20 Call to Action, and highlight the importance of fighting corruption to achieve the UN SDGs. Advocate for expansion, where appropriate, of the membership bases of PAOs to bring more accountants in business and the public sector into PAOs, to recognise the importance of professionalism and ethical behaviour for all those who are part of the broader accounting and finance ecosystem. Continue to support the WEF Unifying Framework for Gatekeepers, including emphasizing the importance of a level playing field and ensuring that services presenting a higher-risk for economic crime— particularly money laundering— are subject to comparable regulatory frameworks. Unifying Framework for Gatekeepers G20 Call to Action Expanding PAO Membership Base
CONTRIBUTING OUR EXPERTISE THROUGH THOUGHT LEADERSHIP AND ADVOCACY ACTIONS
Four priorities, two actions, one goal: A more sustainable, inclusive and prosperous economy and society. As the world continues to battle the COVID pandemic, cause for optimism is emerging. But the pandemic has reinforced the notion that we cannot simply hope for a better future, we must build it—and there is no time to waste. The four priorities from our 2020 Call to Action remain central to building that better future. Delivering on these will take a concerted effort from policymakers, businesses, other organizations, investors and individuals. Beyond these four priorities, IFAC calls on the G20 to focus on two key actions—where the global accountancy profession is a strongly committed partner—that will move the needle on sustainability, inclusivity, and prosperity. 1 2 3 4 RECOMMIT TO GLOBAL COLLABORATION Working together through global institutions is the only way to solve the challenges of the 21st century. FOCUS ON PUBLIC SECTOR TRANSPARENCY AND INTEGRITY The social contract between citizens and governments is under stress; transparency and integrity are essential for trust. RESIST REGULATORY FRAGMENTATION The cost of fragmentation is enormous; society simply cannot afford it—particularly with respect to global issues like climate change and sustainability. ACCELERATE SUSTAINABILITY AND INCLUSIVENESS Time is running out to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals; governments, business, and all other stakeholders must play their part. Four Priorities Two Actions IFAC G20 Call to Action 2021
Copyright © 2021 by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). All rights reserved.
SUPPORT THE IFRS FOUNDATION INITIATIVE ON SUSTAINABILITY STANDARDS CHAMPION PUBLIC FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT Achieving a more sustainable and inclusive economy with the necessary speed requires mobilizing the private sector and governments to work together. The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors have identified the critical role of high-quality and comparable data and disclosures in mobilising sustainable finance. The B20 Finance & Infrastructure Task Force recognizes the same. Momentum is growing around developing a global baseline of sustainability standards, with the IFRS Foundation poised to deliver. IFAC strongly supports this crucial work. IFAC encourages all jurisdictions to embrace the IFRS Foundation’s initiative to achieve timely and coordinated progress on a global system for sustainability disclosures, vitally enhancing their consistency and reliability. Global policy makers have a unique opportunity to avoid costly regulatory fragmentation, build a comprehensive global system for corporate reporting, and deliver on the sustainability agenda. We must seize this opportunity. IFAC and the accountancy profession stand ready to be part of the solution. At the heart of public sector transparency and integrity— and prosperity for all individuals—is public financial management (PFM). A robust PFM system means that resources are appropriately allocated against public policy objectives that are in the public interest. Governments must endeavour to achieve the most with the resources they have, while minimizing loss through waste, fraud, or corruption—highquality PFM makes this happen. IFAC calls on the G20 to set an example for all jurisdictions worldwide in championing a continued focus on high-quality PFM, which is founded on: Commitment—from political leaders and senior management within public sector entities. Framework—which is comprehensive, interconnected, principles-based and outcomes-focused. Standards—such as accrual standards, as recognized by the B20 Integrity & Compliance Task Force, in particular the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and any future public sector sustainability standards. People—with the appropriate training, skills, and ethics. APPROACHES TO BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP TRANSPARENCY: The Global Framework and Views from the Accountancy Profession
IFAC CALLS ON THE G20 TO STAY FOCUSED ON THE FUTURE IN THE GLOBAL COVID-19 RESPONSE. The challenges raised by COVID-19 are unprecedented in the modern era; so too have been the responses from G20 governments. The short-term focus on the pandemic has been rightfully all encompassing. At the same time, we must not allow the immediate needs of the recovery to derail progress on other urgent global priorities. We are at an inflection point: staying focused on the future while responding to COVID-19 is critical to strong, sustainable economies and realizing the opportunities of the 21st century for all.
ACCELERATE SUSTAINABILITY AND INCLUSIVENESS The COVID crisis is a wake-up call to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and inclusive global economy and achieve the United Nations’ SDGs. Business and Government both have a role to play and must rise to the occasion. For Governments, this means, for example, an economy with opportunity, embracing diversity and access to education for all, and an economy that sustains our environment, delivering on crucial commitments. For business, this means an integrated, multi-stakeholder approach to the way they operate and govern themselves with a focus on long-term value creation by incorporating integrated reporting principles.
FOCUS ON PUBLIC SECTOR TRANSPARENCY AND INTEGRITY The COVID crisis has driven an enormous increase in public sector spending. Now more than ever, integrity and transparency in the public sector are central to the social contract between governments and citizens. IFAC calls on the G20 to step up its efforts to deliver on the G20 Anti-Corruption and Anti-Money Laundering Action Plans. Upholding integrity also takes a trusted global tax system and sound public financial management. It continues with credible public sector reporting that supports transparency and long-term sustainable decision-making. IFAC urges the G20 to adopt accrual accounting at all levels of government and International Public Sector Accounting Standards.
RECOMMIT TO GLOBAL COLLABORATION The line between local and global problems continues to blur; we are in this together. And the challenges we face are all interconnected. Accordingly, global institutions for cooperation and crisis-management—both public and private sector—are more important than ever. These institutions must be agile: the next unprecedented crisis could be just round the corner. While crises affect us all, their impacts are unequal. Multilateralism in support of building back better for those most in need is the foundation for future global resilience and a pathway towards creating a fairer and more prosperous world for all. G20 leadership must commit to working together through global institutions to anticipate and mitigate the global problems of the 21st century.
RESIST REGULATORY FRAGMENTATION Regulatory fragmentation costs the global economy more than $780 billion a year, and the cost is borne disproportionately by small- and medium-sized enterprises. We simply cannot afford so much waste. IFAC calls for policymakers across the G20 to prioritize regulatory cooperation and harmonization so that all enterprises can thrive, and to enhance mechanisms for continuous and systematic crossborder dialogue between national regulators to improve consistency in international regulations and standards. Regulations play a central role in connecting the economy to sustainability. We urge all stakeholders to agree on a global framework to non-financial reporting incorporating integrated reporting principles.
Copyright © 2020 by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). All rights reserved.
MOVING FORWARD, TOGETHER G20 Call to Action 2020 Thought Leadership Resources
The publication of the Anti-Corruption Action Plan is just the beginning. While fighting corruption and economic crime have always been core components of the accountancy profession, this Action Plan gives that role greater clarity and emphasis. IFAC’s Impact approach firmly connects this back to IFAC’s purpose.
The many actions discussed span currently ongoing activities with renewed emphasis, new initiatives for the near term, and new initiatives further into the future. We expect these actions to evolve over time with input from our member organizations and many global partners. As a first step, we will include an update on the implementation of this Action Plan as part of IFAC’s 2023 Integrated Annual Review.
The accountancy profession cannot solve the problem of corruption alone. This Action Plan is an open invitation to engagement and partnership with all anti-corruption stakeholders to work together on this crucial mission. We look forward to hearing from you and working together.
September 19, 2022 Published by The International Federation of Accountants.