13th January 2014
Accountants have an increasingly important role to play in emerging markets, helping to stabilise the world economy through their expertise. That is the view, at least, of Brenda Lee Tang, head of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Caribbean.
She believes that accountants can act as a vital bulwark against corruption, bringing integrity to public life. “They are trained to provide strategic insight and practical knowledge. If you’re looking for examples of how the accountancy profession delivers value for business, then the global financial crisis is a good place to start,” she told the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.
Companies have relied on accountants and finance professionals more than ever before in recent years as the markets and businesses went through economic and financial uncertainty, she told the news provider.
Increasingly, the accountancy profession as a whole has grown in stature, according to Ms Lee Tang, who thinks that they are instrumental in the delivery of services that defend and grow public resources, whether those are financial, environmental or human.
Accountants, she adds, must step in to make a positive difference to public life, rather than acting for purely commercial reasons. “In this way, accountants can play a key role in business. They can help balance risks and rewards. They can help businesses create value in a sustainable way that benefits everyone,” she concluded.
Her comments come after concerns were raised at a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development event about the accounting infrastructure in emerging nations. Speakers at a recent panel discussion stressed that many developing countries lack sufficiently robust accounting infrastructures to enable them to apply international standards, and that such standards are frequently necessary to ensure confidence from potential foreign investors.
“Building an effective accounting and reporting infrastructure requires the development of appropriate policies and regulations, a strong institutional base, and adequate resources,” saidUNCTAD secretary-general Mukhisa Kituyi. “One particular area of the accountancy infrastructure challenge is building the necessary human resources.”
Certainly, there is a picture emerging that sees accountants play a much wider role in business and society.