By Barry Cooper, ACCA President
The growth of Islamic finance brings a need for harmonising its standards with those of IFRS.
Towards the end of last year, I was delighted to take part in ACCA’s International Assembly. We heard from some outstanding speakers and looked at a number of key issues, including the progress being made on globalisation of standards and the increasing role played by emerging economies in the standard setting process.
These discussions chimed with a report, Global alignment, produced by ACCA and KPMG which called for consistency and harmonisation in the way in which Islamic financial institutions report, and for the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the Islamic finance industry to work together to develop guidance and standards, and to educate the investor community on key issues.
It also suggested the IASB consider issuing guidance on the application of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) when accounting for certain Islamic financial products; that it review the needs of the report users with leading Islamic finance standard setters and regulators; and that Islamic financial institutions should form an expert advisory group to help develop standards.
There have already been signs of progress. IASB chairman Hans Hoogervorst told the International Assembly that the IASB was considering establishing an Islamic finance advisory committee. This is an excellent start but, given the growing importance of Islamic finance, everyone involved in the sector needs to work to ensure that the sector operates to consistent and harmonised standards.
This post first appeared in Accounting and Business International, January 2013