Organising a Worldwide Accountancy Profession with the help of a Website: IFAC.ORG
This paper is concerned with analysing the growing role of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) in governing the world of auditing. Whereas the setting of standards for auditing has previously been the task of national authorities, that responsibility has now been passed to a large degree to IFAC, as the meta-organisational body for professional associations of accountants around the world with headquarters in New York and a well-developed, active website, IFAC.ORG. This major change in the locus of authority has occurred rapidly, and here we analyse how, during the last decade, traditional professional authority in standard setting at the national level has been reconfigured at a global level. The global governance of professional accountants (and especially auditors) is emerging through the close interaction of three overlapping groupings or networks, namely: IFAC, the big 4 audit firms and international regulators. The Big 4 and international regulators now have their own committees in IFAC itself, with the latter exercising oversight over IFAC’s standard setting procedures from within, in a process that we describe as “embedded oversight”. Legitimising ‘private sphere’ standard setting in the public sphere crucially involves the use of concepts of ‘public interest’ and ‘transparency’. IFAC’s activities are justified or ordained as being in the public interest while transparent standard setting processes seek to demonstrate and reinforce this commitment. In recent years, the role of IFAC’s website has become increasingly significant in such processes and commitments to public interest and, in focusing on its usage, this paper asks how should we regard what could be classified as an ‘internet powered’ form of democracy?
- Business and Economics
The 8th interdisciplinary Perspectives on Accounting Conference, IPA