Study finds broad IPSAS uptake in the Caribbean

4 Apr 17

Almost all Caribbean nations have adopted IPSAS or are in the process of doing so, according to a recent study.


A poll carried out by the International Federation of Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean found 60% of countries in the region have already adopted the standards, and the remainder are at various stages of the implementation process.

The survey formed the foundation of a study, published at the end of March, that examined the status of public financial management reforms in the Caribbean. It assessed each country’s accounting basis and public finance reporting standards, the recognition basis for budgeting, and the external audit requirements for public financial statements.

Jasmine Davis, ICAC president, explained that the study aimed to establish the potential for crossover and collaboration between institutions.

“Study participants identified areas where stakeholder groups could partner to step up to knowledge sharing and collaboration between governments, the accountancy profession, and other stakeholders in the Caribbean.”

She expressed the hope that “these partnerships may give rise to improved public financial reporting, better informed public decision making, better quality of public services, better management of assets and liabilities, better public financial management, increased accountability, and, ultimately, enhanced trust of citizens in government.”

Overall, the study indicates that many countries in the region are in the process of switching from cash-based accounting to accruals-based. It predicts that two-thirds of Caribbean nations will use accurals when the reform processes have been completed.

Of these, 60% will use IPSAS, while the remainder will be using other international accounting standards based on these. Fayez Choudhury, IFAC chief executive, said that this suggests that most Caribbean nations "recognize the importance of high-quality, reliable, and transparent public financial accounting and reporting arrangements and are gradually implementing reforms to achieve these desired outcomes".

However, for the preparation of the budget, most governments in the region (60%) still use the cash basis, with only Belize changing over to accruals. 


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