Accounting standards expert highlights public interest, inclusive process in standard setting

Published: 24 October 2016

International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board Chair Ian Carruthers talks about the latest developments on the IPSAS at a forum held at the Commission on Audit.

The Chairperson of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) emphasized the importance of involving public interest and a more inclusive process in setting international standards.

IPSASB Chair Ian Carruthers talked about the latest developments on the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) at a forum held at the Commission on Audit (COA) recently.

The forum was attended by COA senior officials and auditors as well as Board of Accountancy Chairperson Mr. Joel Tan-Torres and representatives from the Department of Budget and Management and local government units. Under the auspices of the International Federation of Accountants, IPSASB is the independent international body that sets accrual-based standards used for the preparation of general purpose financial statements by governments and other public sector entities. Through these standards, IPSASB aims to enhance the quality, consistency, and transparency of public sector financial reporting worldwide.

Mr. Carruthers said the board established the Public Interest Committee (PIC) in 2015 to ensure that standard setting follows due process and reflect the public interest. He stressed the need for the process to reflect its impact on various stakeholders and to have an integrated system of accountability. “The success of implementation is getting the information used in decision-making,” he observed.

Mr. Carruthers said the standard setting process had become more inclusive as they get more responses for the exposure drafts, take into account the experiences of various countries as they adopt IPSAS and to encourage more interaction and debate as more countries are planning to adopt the IPSAS.

Over 40 countries have already applied accrual IPSAS and international organizations such as the entire United Nations system and the European Commission are reporting on IPSAS bases. The Philippines, through the COA, also harmonized a number of international standards with the Philippine Public Sector Accounting Standards.

When asked about the challenges that the COA face in adopting the standards, Mr. Carruthers suggested creating a forum and getting the right people around the table to discuss how the guidelines can work in the Philippine setting.

Currently, the IPSASB is working on the IPSAS for revenue and no-exchange expenditure, financial instruments, heritage, infrastructure assets and leases, among others. #