(Photo by Chico Ferreira, available under a Creative Commons license - CC-BY-2.0)
Droves of accountants from Latin American and the Caribbean converged in Colombia last month for the 7th staging of the CReCER conference – a knowledge sharing platform created by the World Bank to gather public and private sector decision makers and practitioners around topics, ranging from accounting standard implementation, to capital market development.
While discussing the achievements, development, and future of the accounting profession, I began to ponder the reasons for its stagnation. Despite our many efforts, we are still far from gold medal contention in the race of ‘iron clad professions’.
It was here that I remembered the last cartoon movie I watched on a plane. It was called "The CROODS"; and it occurred to me that my beloved accounting profession may slightly resemble its characters. For those of you who wisely choose to sleep or work during our lengthy travels, "The CROODS" depicts a family of cavemen who were forced to change their outlook and behavior as a result of the destruction of their home.
In my alarmed state, I wondered, "Good lord, am I a Crood? Are my fellow accountants Croods?" Do we only change our modus operandi when forced to? (Think Enron, and CLICO in Trinidad). This then begs the question: can we afford to continue to function as such, in the dynamic business environment in which we currently operate?
I posit that the accounting profession must be more forward-thinking in ensuring that the entities we are tasked with protecting are not jolted as a result of our inadequacies. In addition to keeping abreast on the latest industry changes, we must proactively engage in the dialogue.
The creation of a committee with experts various industries charged with predicting new industry developments; its effects on corporate financial reporting; and the most suitable accounting treatment, would be a step in the right direction.
The aim is for accountants to become the ‘Defenders of the Earth’ instead of intractable ‘Croods’, (I have dibs on "Wonder Woman"); and I believe that conferences like CReCER can continue to unearth ways of doing so.
As "Accounting Super Heroes", we must also recognize our responsibility to those who are smaller and less powerful. Smaller states, though willing to be compliant with the profession's standards and codes, find it difficult to do so due to insufficient resources or capacity.
In very much the same way the profession recognized that due to their inherent difference, SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Entities) needed tailored IFRS, some of the standards and codes may have to be tailored for small state professionals.
Jennifer Nero, Managing Director of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, mentioned in her presentation during the session “Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants: A foundation for Growth", that in order to help the profession's development in smaller states, a tailored small states convergence agenda, and a collaborative and interactive program are needed.
As the newly inducted 'Wonder Woman', I agree.
What do you think?