The World Bank in a bid to uplift auditing and accounting standards with international standards and strengthen the capacity of the country to improve its financial infrastructure granted US$ 500,000 to the Institute ofChartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA) recently.
CA Sri Lanka President Sujeewa Rajapakse addressing the gathering at the official announcement of the grant last week emphasised that the grant supports activities aimed at improving transparency and accountability by strengthening corporate and public sector governance.
World Bank Director Operations Services and Quality, South Asia Region Onno Ruhl told the Business Times, on the sidelines of this launch, that a strong national accountancy profession operating under a regime of transparency and oversight is a key enabler in business development and economic growth. "These capacity-building projects provide a faster and more assured way to strengthen this profession and the World Bank recognises the benefits of a strong profession to individual nations," he added.
The grant channelled through the bank's Institutional Development Fund (IDF) will cover the implementation of an audit quality assurance programme, an initiative to assist and educate small and medium sized practices, a programme to increase awareness and adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and to help the adoption of Sri Lanka Public Sector Accounting Standards (SLPAS).
"Improving transparency and accountability are critical to improving the investment climate, building investor confidence and strengthening corporate and public sector governance. The IDF grant supports activities aimed at achieving these results through strengthening financial reporting and auditing standards and practices," Mr. Rajapakse said.
While highlighting the significance of small and medium enterprises in the growth of the country's economy, Mr. Rajapakse noted that the World Bank grant will help improve the quality of Small and Medium (SME) audits by strengthening the skills and competencies of small and medium audit practitioners who primarily carry out audits of SMEs. He added that every necessary step will be taken to strengthen the financial reporting of SMEs by improving the awareness and skills in IFRS for SMEs among SME accountants.
"It is really important to understand how important accounting is for the growth agenda of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka needs to improve transparency and accountability in order to continue to attract FDI as transparency policies are the cornerstone of the spurt of growth that the country is aiming to have. The proper implementation of these standards at all levels will inspire great confidence and act as insurance for investors," Mr. Ruhl added.