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United Nations Adopts IFAC's International Public Sector Accounting Standards

Sep 5, 2006 | New York | English

The General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) has approved a financial management reform program that calls for the adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs) by the UN. The adoption of IPSASs is viewed as critical to maintaining and enhancing the credibility, transparency, and authority of the financial processes and transactions of the United Nations.

"The reform program enables, for the first time, the UN and its many agencies to have a comprehensive and consistent view of their financial position and performance. This will, in turn, enable the UN to manage more effectively, and to be fully accountable for, the resources entrusted to it," states IFAC President Graham Ward.

IPSASs are developed by the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board, an independent standard-setting body within the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). The standards set out the requirements for financial reporting by governments and other public sector organizations. The standards may be downloaded from the IFAC website at

As a result of the UN's decision to use IPSASs, the UN will move from a system of modified accrual to full accrual, which provides a more comprehensive financial picture.

Chief Executive Ian Ball states: "Public sector entities, such as the United Nations, that have undertaken a financial management reform program incorporating full accrual financial reporting are better able to manage their finances, and demonstrate by their actions their commitment to transparency."

The President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, issued a Statement on the Adoption of the Resolution on Management Reform in which he said: "...We have taken a step to make the Organization more efficient and effective. We have begun consolidating a culture of accountability, transparency and integrity in the Secretariat (of the UN)."

IFAC is the worldwide organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC's current membership consists of approximately 160 professional accountancy bodies in 120 countries, representing more than 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry and commerce. In addition to setting public sector accounting standards through the IPSASB, IFAC, through its independent standard-setting boards, also sets international standards on ethics, auditing and assurance, and education. It also issues guidance to encourage high-quality performance by professional accountants in business.