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Membership of a trade bloc brings benefits but also responsibilities, and accountants can help with both sides of the balance sheet, writes ACCA president Martin Turner

This article was first published in the June 2014 International edition of Accounting and Business magazine.

One of ACCA’s great strengths is its ability to give a truly international perspective on pressing issues.

This was very much in evidence in the recent ACCA President’s Debate, which took place in Athens, Greece. Supported by our friends at the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Greece (SOEL), the debate brought together distinguished experts to explore the issues facing Greece as it takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union.  Its conclusions should be of interest across the world as more countries join international trade communities or single markets.   

Our discussions centred around the view that the European project should strive to evolve into a community of shared values with a ‘common destiny’ for all its citizens and with social, economic and fiscal policy having a big part to play in this process. Our debate also looked at what needs to be done to assist the economy and achieve growth for all members of the EU.

My contribution to the debate was that it was not just the content of state budgets that need to change, but the way in which those budgets work in the first place. This means that national budgets need to be better co-ordinated at the European level, exhibiting a coherent flexible strategy underpinned by teamwork.

I also said that ACCA believes that Europe needs to continue to build relationships across boundaries and continents. This would not just be beneficial to Europe’s economic growth, but also help to make it a more rounded and adaptable continent in an ever changing world.

The bottom line is that being a member of a body such as the European Union can bring great benefits, but it also requires a shared sense of responsibility and commitment to each other. This does not mean that national interests should be entirely ignored, but placed in the context of the interests of the wider community.

It is ACCA’s view that improvements and progress can be made for all countries only by working together, and with the support of strong fiscal, social and economic policies.

ACCA members, who are ideally qualified to work across national boundaries, therefore have a critical role to play in delivering opportunities for all in a new-look economy.

Martin Turner FCCA is a management consultant in the UK health sector

Last updated: 29 May 2014