‘I wish to be able to list more credible, trustworthy NGOs when I am asked to make recommendations about them. A financial accountability system is key to making NGOs legitimate in the eyes of everyone.’ So said Sukich Udindu, APPC’s new Governing Council member for Thailand.
In mid-January, 50 people from Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand met in Bangkok to discuss the key issues and challenges that must be taken up if NPO accounting standards are to be actively promoted in the region. The participants – NPO directors, finance managers, government regulators and accountants – described the perspectives of their individual countries and found a number of points of agreement.
The principal one of these was, quite simply, that there must be accounting standards. The group felt that consensus building among key sectors in the different societies in the region would guarantee acceptability of those standards.
Although some of the countries represented had already reached multi-sectoral consensus on the matter, the group agreed on the importance of drafting a document that lays out both the conceptual framework and the specific issues faced by NPOs. This should take account of the International Accounting Standards. The group recommended that one of the outcomes of the project should be to submit a proposal for NPO financial accounting systems to the International Accounting Standards Board. It was agreed that APPC should hire a project manager to draft an issues paper as a first step towards developing a set of standards.
Many participants felt this regional meeting had been useful. For APPC, working with the support of Ford Foundation on this project, it was a crucial step towards meeting donors’ calls for increased credibility and transparency of NPOs in the region which, in turn, would mean increased support for them.
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