Monday, 18 March 2013

Accounting bodies hail G20 emphasis on public sector reporting

Group of 20 in Russia
G20 finance ministers and central bank governors at last month's meeting in Russia
The Group of Twenty leading nations’ emphasis on transparent and comparable public sector financial reporting at its latest meeting has been welcomed by CIPFA and the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board. 

In a document issued after a meeting in Moscow last month, G20 finance ministers and central bank governors said achieving a stronger public sector balance sheet would require work to better assess the risks to public debt sustainability.

This included taking into account country-specific circumstances, looking at the ‘transparency and comparability’ of public sector reporting, and monitoring the impact of financial sector vulnerabilities on public debt.

They also highlighted the role of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in terms of keeping the G20 up to date on these issues.

Ian Carruthers, CIPFA’s policy and technical director, told PF International: ‘CIPFA is pleased to see the recognition the G20 has given to the importance of transparent and comparable public sector financial reporting, as well as the potential roles for the IMF and the World Bank in helping to move this important issue forward. This is another positive step towards achieving the global step-change in public financial management that we have called for.’

Ipsas Board chair Andreas Bergmann said he had expected public sector financial management to be an important issue for the current Russian presidency of the G20.

‘We are very encouraged by these developments, as we had anticipated the G20 under Russia’s leadership would view improved public sector financial management as a priority.
‘The Ipsas Board looks forward to continuing its constructive dialogue and co-operative efforts with the G20, the IMF and the World Bank.’

Writing for PF International last week, Ian Ball, former chief executive of the International Federation of Accountants, highlighted the role the G20 could play in encouraging governments to provide ‘clear, complete and transparent’ information on their public finances.

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