Grant Thornton puts investors first

September 19, 2012 | 17:04
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Grant Thornton today in Hanoi co-hosted a roundtable introducing the report entitled putting investors at the heart of the financial system.

grant thornton puts investors first

The panelists included senior experts coming from Ministry of Finance, State Securities Commission of Vietnam, prestigious fund management companies and advisory firms like VinaCapital, Indochina Capital, Vietnam Investment Groups and Vietnam Partners LLC.

The latest report by it (ACCA) and Grant Thornton revealed that investors want to see new and improved accounting, auditing and corporate governance standards developed in a more integrated manner, and that any reform proposals be based on solid understanding of investors’ needs and priorities.

The report is based on the insights gained from a series of roundtable discussions facilitated by ACCA and Grant Thornton that started in 2011’s last quarter involving investors and investor representatives from many markets.

It revealed their views in relation to existing global financial and accounting standards, the current and future challenges, their aspirations for reform, and the potential barriers they foresee in addressing their concerns.

"It is important that the role of investors is recognised and they should be as providing essential input for global financial and accounting standards. Presently this is not the case and this situation needs to be addressed," said Grant Thornton Vietnam managing partner Ken Atkinson.

ACCA Vietnam country head Len Le said: “The general consensus is that adjustments to the current financial reporting framework are needed if they are to be relevant and value-creating for investors. The many issues raised at the discussions include the inadequacy of companies' annual statements, disjointed global standards, corporate governance and visibility to standard setters."

The report states that investors want more quality audit report, which tells them the effectiveness of the company's management and the corporate procedures in place.

"In addition to lack of consistent information, investors are faced with disjointed global financial standards. Individually, standard setters are generally doing a good job, but each one tends to consider issues from its own perspective. Consequently, this increases their investment risks particularly since most investors manage global portfolios," Le added.

It was reported that while investors believe their needs are too often overlooked, they also acknowledge that they need to play a greater role in the development of new accounting standards and raise their profile with standard setters, regulators and other key bodies to ensure that their needs are prioritised in the financial reporting system.

Atkinson said: "Investors should be seen by policymakers as an appropriate point for a debate on the value of audit and accountancy. For that to happen, investors should actively participate and speak up to the authorities such as the Accounting and Auditing Policy Department, Ministry of Finance, address their view and iron out concerns," said Atkinson.

“ACCA and Grant Thornton welcome the debate on this matter as this should enable greater clarity about how the needs of investors can best be met, and by extension, how the effectiveness of the accounting profession can be increased and global markets and economies can be strengthened," Le said.

ACCA is the global body for professional accountants.

ACCA opened its representative office in HoChi Minh City in 2002, making it the first international professional organisation having official presentation in Vietnam.

In April 2012, ACCA signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Financefor coordinated testing for public accountant certification.ACCA also signed a partnership deal with the State Audit in January 2009. In recent years, ACCA students and members in Vietnam have rapidly increased, from 100 students and 11 members in early 2002 to more than 5,500students and more than 500 members in Vietnam to date.

Grant Thornton Vietnam, an independent memberwithin Grant Thornton International and a whollyforeign-owned company, was established in 1993. Itwas the second international firm to operate in auditand business advisory serviceswith offices inHo Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Cambodia.

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional