Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday urged the global accounting community to focus energies on developing transparent accounting processes, stating that this was essential for “building trust”, creating sustainable livelihood for people and sustainable manufacturing and services.

She also asked accountants to adhere to fair and transparent practices even while highlighting that independence of chartered accountants is “very important” for the trust and integrity of financial statements. 

Responsibility of CAs

Sitharaman highlighted that the responsibility of chartered accountants is not limited just to the shareholders as statutory filings and audit reports are public documents and they are relied upon by various stakeholders including financial institutions, governments and common retail investors. 

“The world congress of accountants must look at how best to bring trust among stakeholders through the practices with which the world accountancy profession is likely to lead us to,” Sitharaman said in her virtual address at the World Congress of Accountants (WCOA) 2022, being held in India for the first time ever and also in hydrid mode for the first time.

The well-trained global accountancy professionals should come up with formulations with which world can be better governed, transparently governed and governed for sustainability, she added.

Sitharaman’s remarks on the need for accountants to focus on ethics and bringing back trust is significant as the WCOA 2022 is themed on “Building Trust Enabling Sustainability”.

On transparency

In the process of talking about transparency, the fundamental requisite for corporate governance is “accounts” which ensure transparency, clarity and accountability in a company’s financial affairs, she said. “The accounting profession itself therefore has to be ethical”, Sitharaman added.

The diligent and ethical conduct of accounting profession itself can benefit multiple stakeholders, she said.

Sitharaman also said that the WCOA would do well to deliberate on issues around Trust, ethics, diversity and sustainability and also adoption of new technology. She highlighted that adoption of new technology is necessary for transparent accounting system.