November IFA President Hugh Laing, accompanied by the Chief Executive, visited
Russia to represent the International Association of Book-keepers, at a forum
held in the Kremlin. This was in response to an invitation from the organising
committee of Global experience and the Russian economy which also incorporated
presentation of the third 'Accountant of the Year' awards.
The forum was attended by nearly 4,000 delegates employed in businesses of all sizes from all over Russia, generally as accountants or chief accountants. It included a pre-sentation by Laing setting out the objectives of the IAB in Russia and of 'Book-keeper of the Year' awards.
The IAB qualification is being promoted in Russia by Post Graduate RAA Ltd where Igor Zhuravlev is principal.
At the 'Forum' there was a small exhibition at which the company had a stand promoting courses leading to the IAB exam-inations which resulted in many enquiries about the IAB.
Zhuravlev was enthusiastic about the possibilities for both the IAB and the IFA in Russia and there were some frank exchanges of views on how they should be promoted in view of the problems of working in Russia. Membership of the IAB was not being promoted in Russia and if it were to be then added value through membership services was called for. Local offices would need to be estab-lished, starting with Moscow and St Petersburg to co-ordinate, organise and arrange member-ship services.
It transpired that the students taking the IAB examinations were often employed as company accountant or chief accountant so membership of the IFA was more appropriate for them. Nevertheless due to the change in the accounting system there was a need for them to go back to basics, and the IAB offered a good foundation in International Accounting Standards.
The deputation met Professor Anatoly Sheremit, President of CIS Association of Accountants and Auditors, who advises the Russian Government on the Accountancy profession. He agreed to help gain endorsement of the IAB by the Russian Government and with the localis-ing of the Business Law and Business Taxation papers for the IFA examinations.
His colleague Olga Nikolaeva, Principal Lecturer IAB Programme at Post Graduate RAA Ltd. was enthusiastic about the IAB programme but com-plained that the translation of the training material was poor - Mr Dean pointed out to her that the training material was not the property of the IAB, and if she wished she could use her own training material. It was agreed that more support from the IAB for the tutors was required and JMD agreed to look at the feasi-bility of arranging regular work-shops for tutors. It was suggested they should be arranged at least once every two years.
The four days in Russia were the first part of a three-legged trip, which included Sri Lanka and South Africa.
Mr Laing and Mr Dean met Ramola Sivasundaram and her mother Mano Muthu Krishna from The Polytechnic, which is the IAB training body in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). They also met the Executive Council of the IFA/IAB Society in Sri Lanka and Mr Laing went on to present Examination and Membership Certificates to nearly 400 IAB stu-dents and graduates.
Meetings with held with officials of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants' Sri Lanka Division, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka which is enthusiastic of future co-operation with the IFA and IAB as it wants greater international recog-nition for its qualification.
Before leaving the island Messrs Laing and Dean met IFA and IAB members and students and brought them up to date by revealing plans for the improve-ment of the awareness and pro-file of both qualifications. It was announced that the IFA and IAB Society in Sri Lanka was now operational, having now received .money from the UK, and would be putting on a programme of events for the ensuing year.
In South Africa Mr Laing and Mr Dean visited four colleges, one of which teaches the syllabus of the Institute of Book-keepers of South Africa, which is owned by the IFA. There were also members' meetings in Johannesburg and Cape Town and a meeting with the Australian accounting body, the National Institute of Accountants with which a co-operation agreement was discussed.