BIZweek n°252 9 aoû 2019
BIZweek n°252 9 aoû 2019
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  • Parution : n°252 de 9 aoû 2019

  • Périodicité : hebdomadaire

  • Editeur : Capital Publications Ltd

  • Format : (260 x 370) mm

  • Nombre de pages : 8

  • Taille du fichier PDF : 3,7 Mo

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VENDREDI 09 AOÛT 2019 BIZWEEK ÉDITION 252 LA TOUR ‘ACCOUNTANTS CAN SAVE THE WORLD’Integrated reporting or sustainability reporting ? Climate change, environment protection, child labour… How are accountants related to these topics which do not necessarily find a way in the ledger, be it on the debit or credit side ? Surely there must be something wrong, are we tempted to say, with the theme of the Forum of Accountants organized this week by the Mauritius Institute of Professional Accountants (MIPA). How are accountants going to save the world ? profession has the most significant role to play in sustainable development », says « The Nooredin Mohit, Chairman of the Mauritius Institute of Professional Accountants (MIPA) at the Opening Ceremony of the Forum of Accountants under the theme ‘Accountants can save the world’. Eight out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations lie within the responsibility of accountants. During his Keynote Address, the Attorney General, Maneesh Gobin, raised a few key questions – as published on his Facebook Page  : « Who is driving the project of saving the world ? Is it only a conference theme ? Who will make the rules ? Who will take on the leadership role in saving the world and who will transformthe International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) into International Sustainability Reporting Standards (ISRS) ? » He also affirmedthat in order to save the world, businesses should be conscious about the extent to which their business model impacts on the environment - this ranges from the daily trash generated by a business (from the waste paper basket to the electricity consumption) to the overall carbon footprint of the business. Another issue which sustainability reports should include is human rights. If the businessis employing child labour shouldn’t the accountant highlight this in his report ? Important questions which bring us to the issue of sustainability reporting. Company boards, executives, and management are investing more and more time and resources on issues of sustainability - such as carbon (greenhouse gas emissions), energy efficient technology, water use, cleantech, and biodiversity, to name just a few. An important part of the global push towards sustainability practices involves a need to account for, and report on, sustainability - sometimes referred to as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting. IR versus SR On the other hand, Integrated reporting is seen as the basis for a fundamental change in the way in which organisations are managed and report to stakeholders. Sustainability Reporting is about communicating the organisation’s approach to managing its key environmental and social issues. It is about communicating publicly how the company assesses which environmental and social issues are most significant to the company (« materiality ») , how these issues are managed and how the company is performing against each of these key issues (performance data). Integrated reporting is one step further – about communicating, how the company manages its long termvalue creation by taking an integrated approach to both traditional risks and these wider sustainability risks. Instead of reporting on financial performance and sustainability performance separately, or even within the same AR, Integrated Reporting intends to show how the company integrates environmental & social thinking into its business. « Sustainability reporting relates to one important aspect of a company’s performance, without which an integrated report would be incomplete », once said Ian Ball, International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Board member & Principal Advisor and ex-CEO of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). So says the Prince of Wales In his Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) annual summit forum, in November last year, Prince Charles said the finance community is « absolutely critical » when it comes to enabling change towards sustainability, and ensuring its consideration in business decisions. One week after celebrating his 70th birthday, Prince Charles said, « I fear I have now reached the point in my life where, having tried for so long to warnof the consequences of failing to take the necessary action soon enough, I do begin to despair of the world we are bequeathing to future generations. » He added that, while « all is not yet quite lost, this really is the final call ». In order to achievethe UN’s 17 global Sustainable Development Goals, ratified in 2015, he argued that a systematic change is required within both the economy and society. « We have not been trained to act as anything else » During the Panel Discussion on the theme ‘Accountants can save the world’, Dr Satyabhooshun Gupt Domah, Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), affirmedthat the level of confidence in accountants and auditors is at its lowest ever. « How can accountants save themselves ? They follow the Code of Ethics, the reporting standards, the accounting and auditing standards. The infrastructure, the institutions, the framework are all there. Can accountants save the world ? » he asked. The MIPA Investigation Committee Member, Yuvraj Thacoor, pointed out that it is sad that accountants and auditors are only publicized when things go wrong. « We, as auditors, have been concentrating on respecting standards and issuing standards. We have not been trained to act as anything else. We expected things to evolve but not at the pace we expected. The solution is integrated reporting. We are definitely looking outside the accounting profession. But the crucial fact is that we are not trained to do what we are supposed to do now with integrated reporting. » He also suggested that the profession of external auditor is outdated, and that the role of the internal auditor is much more important despite the perception that the Internal Auditor becomes part of the management team and does not deliver. According to some of the panelists, MIPA is the body who should take the lead so that we locally benefit from international developments, even though there is already an Integrated Reporting Council, but no legal framework yet. 4
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