Being Accountable
Category: Entrepreneurs By : Justin Doebele Read : 350 Date : Thursday, May 04, 2017 - 09:38:30




Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) was formed in 1880, making it one of the oldest professional bodies in the world. At present, the ICAEW has 147,000 chartered accountant members, who are in 155 countries. The body’s main office is in London and it has local offices in Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The current president of the organization is British citizen Hilary Lindsay, 68, who is also the first academic and the second woman to hold the post in 137 years. Each presidency is for one year, which for Hilary will end in June this year—she has already been a member of the ICAEW for over a decade.

Recently Hilary was in Jakarta, for the first time, to speak at a conference entitled “Value Creation for Business Resilience in the Era of Neo-Protectionism.” Among the other speakers were BCA bank’s Chief Executive Jahja Setiaatmaja, Telkom Chief Executive Alex Sinaga and Astra Chief Executive Prijono Sugiarto. Yet, aside from the event, Hilary is trying to promote a deeper message: “The thinking is that if you want to have a strong, successful economy going forward, then you need to have a strong accountancy profession, and to help to support the government behind it.”

This year will be the 20th anniversary of the start of the Asian Financial Crisis, in July. While the crisis began as a currency problem, it quickly exposed shading accounting practices present in the region, exacerbating the crisis. As the U.S. Federal Reserve notes in a history of the crisis: “Years of rapid domestic credit growth and inadequate supervisory oversight had resulted in a significant build-up of financial leverage and doubtful loans.”

Thus, the ICAEW, among other goals, promotes the highest level of accounting standards, with such goals as accountants to be professional, independent and objective. “What investors need to know is whether the figures presented to them are true and fair. So that’s the business side. On the government side, we need to know that government projects are running well, and that the people running them are accountable,” says Hilary.

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