SAFA’s first regional seminar on Public Financial Reporting opens in Colombo on November 3, 2016
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 SAFA’s first regional seminar on Public Financial Reporting opens in Colombo on November 3, 2016

Recognizing the importance of high quality public financial reporting, the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) which represents over 350,000 professional accountants in the SAARC region conceived a regional seminar series on Enhancing Public Financial Reporting to Promote Growth in South Asia. The first edition of the series opened today in Colombo and continues throughout November 4 with technical sessions presenting the perspectives of four important stakeholder groups: users of public financial reports, professional accountancy organizations, preparers of public financial reports, and external auditors. The theme of the first edition is “Implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and the path to accrual accounting”.

Over 200 delegates from across South Asia have convened in Colombo to discuss the importance of high quality financial reports in the public sector.

SAFA President Naeem Akhtar Sheikh said “we are pleased to present at this seminar the findings of a research study jointly conducted by the World Bank and the SAFA Committee on Governmental and Public Sector Enterprises Accounting comparing public financial reporting practices in the region to international standards. We look forward to fruitful discussions over the next two days with public policy makers, government accountants and supreme audit institutions on how together we may take public financial reporting in South Asia to the next level.”

“High quality and robust public financial reporting systems are essential to improve transparency and accountability in the public sector,” said Samia Msadek, Director of the World Bank’s Governance Global Practice. “Policy makers need to make informed strategic decisions on how best to allocate scarce public resources, to create the necessary fiscal space for development, and to create an investment climate that will boost jobs and economic growth. The sovereign debt crisis has also increased the legislature and public pressure for more transparency in the public sector through robust and comprehensive financial reports.”

The seminar, hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and supported by the Asian Development Bank and The World Bank Group, has been strongly endorsed by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). IFAC President Olivia F. Kirtley, who knows the region well and was in Colombo last year, commented: “I congratulate SAFA, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, and our international development bank partners, for convening this event. Transparent, accountable, high-quality information is the bedrock of world-class public financial management. It is essential to delivering better, more sustainable, public services for citizens in the world’s fastest growing region. In the public interest, IFAC – and the professional accountancy organizations we represent globally – are committed to supporting IPSAS implementation around the world. It is a major reform that will yield dividends for citizens over many years.”

 About SAFA

South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) is an Apex Body of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) and an Acknowledged Accountancy Grouping of IFAC comprising of ten accountancy bodies in South-Asian Region namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives. Afghanistan and Bhutan where no accountancy body exists have been given Observer status. SAFA has undertaken the leadership role in providing a new direction to the accountancy profession within the region and this Apex body has nearly 3,50,000 members assimilated its membership bodies.