International Federation of Accountants (IFAC): Overview, History

What Is the International Federation Of Accountants (IFAC)?

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) is a global organization representing the accounting profession. IFAC establishes and promotes international standards, and speaks for the profession on public policy issues. According to the IFAC website, the group serves the public interest through advocacy, development, and support for our member organizations and the more than 3 million accountants who are crucial to our global economy.

Key Takeaways

  • The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) is an international association for the accountancy profession.
  • IFAC supports the development, adoption, and implementation of high-quality international standards. 
  • IFAC comprises more than 175 member and associate organizations in 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing nearly 3 million professional accountants.
  • Member organizations of IFAC include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Institute of Management Accountants.

Understanding International Federation Of Accountants (IFAC)

The IFAC consists of more than 175 member organizations and affiliates, representing more than 130 countries and localities. These organizations represent approximately 3 million professional accountants worldwide. Members include organizations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Institute of Management Accountants.

IFAC's boards set international standards in a number of areas, including auditing, quality control, education, public sector accounting and ethics for professional accountants. IFAC was founded in 1977 in Munich, Germany. Today, it is based in New York City.

History and Mission of IFAC

Beginning with 63 founding members from 51 countries in 1977, IFAC's membership has grown to now include over 175 members and associates in more than 135 countries and jurisdictions worldwide.

IFAC was founded on October 7, 1977, in Munich, Germany, at the 11th World Congress of Accountants to strengthen the global accountancy profession in the public interest by:

  • Developing high-quality international standards in auditing and assurance, public sector accounting, ethics, and education for professional accountants and supporting their adoption and use;
  • Facilitating collaboration and cooperation among its member bodies;
  • Collaborating and cooperating with other international organizations; and
  • Serving as the international spokesperson for the accountancy profession.

At the first meeting of the IFAC Assembly and Council in October 1977, a 12-point work program was developed to guide IFAC committees and staff through the first five years of activities. Many elements of this work program are still relevant today.

  1. Develop statements which serve as guidelines for international and auditing guidelines
  2. Establish the basic principles which should be included in the code of ethics of any member body of IFAC and to refine or elaborate on such principles as deemed appropriate
  3. Determine the requirements and develop programs or the professional education and training of accountant
  4. Collect, analyze, research, and disseminated information on the management of public accounting practices to assist practitioners in more effectively conducting their practices
  5. Evaluate, develop, and report on financial management and other management techniques and procedures
  6. Undertake other studies of value to accountants, such as a possible study on the legal liabilities of auditors
  7. Foster closer relationships with users of financial statements including preparers, trade unions, financial institutions, industry, governments, and others
  8. Maintain good relations with regional organizations and explore the potential for establishing other regional organizations, as well as assisting in their organizations and development
  9. Establish regular communications among the members of IFAC and other interested organizations, principally through an IFAC Newsletter
  10. Organize and promote the exchange of technical information, educational materials and professional publications, and other literature emanating from member bodies
  11. Organize and conduct an international congress of accountants approximately every five years
  12. Seek to expand the membership of IFAC 
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