The World Bank launched a new program to strengthen corporate financial reporting in the countries of the EU’s Eastern Partnership. Senior officials from several countries of eastern and south-east Europe, as well as representatives from the EU, other European countries and international bodies, gathered in Vienna in an inaugural conference to launch the initiative.
Countries participating in the new program Strengthening Auditing and Reporting in the Countries of the Eastern Partnership (STAREP) include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
During the conference participants discussed how recent and prospective changes in international reporting standards and the international and European regulatory frameworks would affect their own plans for the reform of accounting and auditing.
In that regard, Mr. Charles McDonough, Vice President and Controller of the World Bank, emphasized the need to continue improving the corporate sector financial reporting standards as a key tool for investment decisions. In addition, he highlighted the growing importance of audit regulation and the emerging role of integrated reporting.
Mr. Henry Kerali, the World Bank’s Regional Director for the South Caucasus, stressed the contribution that effective financial reporting has made to raising the quality of the business environment in all the countries of the region. Good accounting and auditing systems have also increased transparency and thereby helped to reduce corruption.
STAREP, which is initially funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and Austria’s Ministry of Finance, is designed to assist the participating countries to set up effective and sustainable frameworks for accounting and auditing that are in line with international standards and take account of the requirements of the EU’s system of law and regulations, the acquis communautaire.