The chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting (CIPFA hosted more that 40 finance leaders and standard setters from around the world to discuss the challenges of setting international standards for financial reporting for not profit organisations (NPOs).
NPOs, including charities and non-governmental organisations, increasingly work across international borders with grants from government, private donors and international foundations.
In this global environment NPOs can face multiple international grant and regulatory regimes which are often made more complex by the lack of an agreed approach to financial reporting for the sector.
The seminar - which was attended by delegates from as far afield as Japan, Sierra Leone, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Zimbabwe - was designed to gain a better understanding of the financial reporting practices of NPOs.
Research last year by the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB) showed that the majority of NPOs surveyed (72%) indicated that they thought it would be useful to have international standards for financial reporting - although respondents interpreted the term "standard" in different ways.
Ian Carruthers, CIPFA's Standards Chair, said: "We were delighted to host this seminar on what is a critical issue for many NPOs around the world.
"Many NPOs now operate across the globe and face a myriad of international regulatory and legislative demands.
"We know that the majority of NPOs would welcome some form of international reporting standards but there is no consensus yet on what that should be like.
"The issue will no doubt benefit from further research and analysis but the seminar was an important step in helping to inform the debate and identify potential ways forward."
The seminar was held on Monday, 5th October at CIPFA's City of London headquarters in Mansell Street.
The CCAB survey received more than 600 replies from 179 countries around the world and was carried out by Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Dundee, with support from other academic institutions in New Zealand and Ireland.
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