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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Accountants must serve the public interest, says international head during Riyadh Forum
RIYADH: The president of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), In-Ki Joo, said that the code of ethics and working for the public interest are very important elements to being an accountant.
Speaking during the three-day Saudi Accountants Forum in Riyadh, Joo said: “The code of ethics is the heart of the profession, and we behave based on that. (Accountants) have to think of what is the best for the public interest, not just about building their business with clients.”
He explained that if a client asks to do something illegal, even if the accountant is paid by the client, the accountant should refuse to do this for this reason. “Even if a client pays me, I'm not working for him or her 100 percent,” he said.
Joo did not plan to major in accounting. In fact, he got a C in his introduction to accounting course so he had to major in accounting to understand it better.
When he became the president of IFAC, he had a formal board meeting every three months. “We make sure all our activities are in line with our mission and … our vision and in line with our strategic objectives,” he said, adding: “As a president, my role is to represent the global accounting profession and engage with the member of organizations around the world such as the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants (SOCPA) to address concerns and issues and make sure everything we do is in the public interest. That's very important.”
Part of Joo’s responsibility is to work with SOCPA and discuss how to improve their education program to become a better international competitive accountant. “I think we can help in that regard if SOCPA is ready for that,” he said.
Joo pointed out that SOCPA is a leading member organization in the region. Yet, they have refrained from participating in international activities.
“It is important to share knowledge. You will not understand where your position is, where other countries are going, unless you engage to improve…So engaging in international activities is very important,” he said.
Joo, who is the first IFAC president to visit Saudi Arabia, said that he wanted to see what is happening in the Kingdom. “I’m really inspired and excited about your initiatives and your establishments. However, I'm urging you to be involved in international or global bodies like the IFAC, but also I'm urging you to get involved in regional ones. You are leaders, but you cannot grow alone. You have to grow together. So, in order to grow, you have to work with businesses on a global level to help regional organizations.” he said. “Also reaching to your neighbors to help them to establish a professional organization.”
He said that accounting should be a major force in Saudi Arabia’s vision. “I think that accounting is well equipped to participate and achieve your goals of Vision 2030,”
“In order to have a successful vision, the important thing is to focus on accounting infrastructure. It is necessary to have a strong and healthy infrastructure. Yet, it does not guarantee your economic growth. But without a strong accounting infrastructure, you will never achieve Vision 2030. It’s a necessary condition, but it doesn’t guarantee your success or failure,” he said.
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