CCAB study reveals demand for non-profit international financial reporting standard

25 Feb 14
An international standard for financial reporting for the non-profit sector should be developed, according to a global survey of professionals in the sector.

Academic research published by the UK and Ireland’s Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies today has provided the first comprehensive and international study into financial reporting in not-for-profit organisations.

It was based on a literature review and survey that received over 600 responses from 179 counties. These came from a broad range of non-profits from large international non-governmental organisations to small community-based ones.

While a range of views was expressed, overall there was an appetite for an international standard for financial reporting in the sector, with 72% of respondents agreeing it would be useful.

This finding prompted CCAB to call for more study of what is needed in this area and further consideration of what such an international standard might look like.

‘This report clearly demonstrates that there is desire for some kind of international standard for the not-for-profit sector, though further work is needed on what form this might take,’ said Ian Carruthers, chair of the CCAB study and CIPFA’s director of policy.

‘Strengthening transparency and accountability, while potentially reducing costs through consistency in reporting requirements would go a long way in supporting NPOs, donors and those they serve around the world.’

The study was launched at the UK’s House of Commons today. Speaking at the event, CCAB chair Anthony Harbinson said: ‘The CCAB promotes the highest standards in financial transparency and governance.

‘This is why we are proud to have led the profession with this report and demonstrated the need for consistent high-quality reporting in this increasingly important area globally.’

Professor Gareth Morgan of Sheffield Hallam University, England, and Dr Louise Crawford of the University of Dundee in Scotland led the international research team. Dr Carolyn Cordery of Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand and Dr Oonagh Breen of University College Dublin in Ireland also provided input.

The CCAB is made up of five professional accountancy institutes: CIPFA; ICAEW; ACCA; ICAS; and Chartered Accountants Ireland.

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