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A proper scrutiny of accounts by an independent and strong audit function is critical if the public is to be re assured that money is being spent wisely and that the organisation represents value for money. There is also a challenge in educating the public about the audit process – and in making it more transparent – again to rebuild the confidence of the public where there is a belief that public funds are not being spent in the best possible way, particularly at a time when greater demands than ever are being placed on the public sector
—Gillian Fawcett, head of public sector, ACCA

Whistleblowing laws and policies must be promoted by finance professionals working in the public sector around the world, to ensure that communities can have full confidence in how their taxes are being spent, a new report by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has said

Finance professionals have a critical role to play in building public trust by championing the cause of developing anti-corruption procedures and cultures, says ACCA’s report Setting high professional standards for public services around the world which has been updated for 2013.  

Along with working with other stakeholders to help eradicate fraud and corruption cultures in the public sector, through education, fraud- awareness programmes and training in forensic accounting  the report says: ‘We believe that a single action that finance professionals can take is to promote the importance and adoption of whistleblowing legislation and policies with governments around the world.’

Gillian Fawcett, ACCA’s head of public sector said: 'It is critical that finance professionals feel able to speak out about genuine concerns that fraud behaviour or corrupt practices are taking place without fear of serious repercussions for them. In the UK, a range of scandals, including in the health, social care and police sectors, would never have come to light unless public sector staff had felt able to raise concerns. It is vitally important that finance professionals feel empowered to highlight issues where public money raised through taxation is misspent or misused – and that those responsible can be held to account.'

The report also calls for proper separation between the accounting and auditing functions within all governments. In some countries that does not exist, which impairs accountability and transparency, since the auditors who check the reports prepared by the accountants should be separate and independent.

'A proper scrutiny of accounts by an independent and strong audit function is critical if the public is to be re assured that money is being spent wisely and that the organisation represents value for money. There is also a challenge in educating the public about the audit process – and in making it more transparent – again to rebuild the confidence of the public where there is a belief that public funds are not being spent in the best possible way, particularly at a time when greater demands than ever are being placed on the public sector,' said Gillian Fawcett.       

Ends

For more information, please contact:

Colin Davis, ACCA Newsroom
+44 (0) 207 059 5738
+44 (0) 7720 347713
colin.davis@accaglobal.com

Notes to Editors

  1. The report can be found via the 'Related Links' section, left of this article.
  2. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. 
  3. We support our 154,000 members and 432,000 students in 170 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 80 offices and centres and more than 8,400 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. 
  4. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.