Printer Friendly

Special report: an inside look at the 5th Jerusalem Conference on Accountancy.

Virtually all the experts at the 5th Jerusalem Conference on Accountancy, held in Jerusalem, Israel, on November 17-20, agreed the forces driving the international harmonization process in the accounting profession are growing stronger. However, opinions varied on what the process actually involves and how far it should go.

The conference, sponsored by the Israel Institute of CPAs, was held just after an International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) council meeting in Israel and thus was able to bring together many top names in the accounting world from Europe, North America and elsewhere.

These included Bertil Edlund, president, and Peter Agars, deputy president, of IFAC; Eduard Salustro, president of the Federation des Experts Comptables Europeens (FEE); and International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) chairman Arthur Wyatt and his predecessor in that post, George Barthes. Among other prominent figures who presented papers or served as commentators were David Tweedie from the United Kingdom, Robert Mednick from the United States and Alan Talbot, the Australian chairman of the IFAC international auditing practices committee.

Both the large and varied international representation and the numerous local accountants attending gave generally high marks for the organization and content of the conference--which had originally been scheduled for November 1990 but was postponed because of the Persian Gulf War.

A number of views emerged on the central issue of harmonization, reflecting varying traditions and realities among countries and regions. These included such well-established issues as the need to achieve a "common language" of accounting and auditing standards and whose standards to adopt.

But these were not the only issues discussed. A paper from Amal Chakrabortti, past president of the Indian Institute of Chartered Accountants, pointed out the vast differences between the profession and its practitioners in developed and developing countries and the quite distinct challenges facing the latter countries.

From Latin America, Juan Herrera of the Dominican Republic and immediate past president of the Inter-American Accounting Association, urged IFAC to include corruption in government on its agenda, along with morality and honesty among accountants and in the business community in general.

Among U.S. accountants, Larry Weinbach, the managing partner of Arthur Andersen & Co., called for rapid and far-reaching change in the way the profession defines itself and pursues its calling. Arthur Wyatt, in his keynote address, expressed another viewpoint, saying that patience was needed, especially in light of the raised expectations that IASC progress to date had generated.

Peter Agars noted that "new" countries, meaning those in which the profession had relatively recent roots, such as Australia and Israel, were much more flexible and ready to adopt new ideas and initiatives than were "old" countries--like the United Kingdom and Holland--where the accounting profession had long-standing traditions.

When the discussions focused on diversification, a series of speakers from various countries emphasized the need for firms to actively market their services in the far more competitive environment that currently exists. A South African speaker, Peter Smith, won general kudos for explaining in detail just how this could and should be done. If his suggestions were generally adopted, there is little doubt the way most accounting firms view themselves and are viewed by their clients would change radically

PHILIP LANDAU is an Israeli journalist and commentator specializing in business and finance. In this country, he has written for the Wall Street Journal and Barron's.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Institute of CPA's
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Landau, Philip
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Remembering Leonard M. Savoie (1923-1991).
Next Article:State consumer fraud act applied to accounting firm.

Related Articles
Jerusalem accounting conference to stress harmonization.
NASBA president submits midyear report.
Rescheduled Jerusalem accounting conference opens in November.
NASBA annual meeting: mobility will drive uniformity.
NASBA annual meeting: regulators take proactive stand.
Regulators face technology's changes to accounting practice and uniform CPA exam.
Accountancy boards target reciprocity at annual meeting.
New CPE standards focusing on proficiencies, skills take effect. (news briefs).
Web conference on modernization of independence rules sponsored, white paper on new AICPA rules issued.
Happenings at board of directors' September meeting.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters