FILIPINO certified public accountants (CPAs) are gearing toward the impending integration of the Philippines into the Asean Economic Community (AEC) that is likely to take place two years from now.
Donnies Alas, president of the Accreditation of Certified Public Accountants in Public Practice (ACPAPP) on Tuesday said Filipino accountants should prepare for the Asean integration by undergoing quality review in order to meet international standards.
“With the impending Asean integration, the preparation of our Filipino certified public accountants is much-needed at this point in time,” he told The Manila Times during the ACPAPP’s 6th general membership assembly in Makati City.
He cited a past study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which showed that the quality of practice among Filipino CPAs is “below par.”
Because of this, Alas said the ADB also commissioned a study on how to raise the standards of practice of Filipino CPAs.
In 2005, government regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs), which is being strictly implemented by 85 countries.
“The adoption of IFRSs shows that the quality of our work and our presentation of financial reporting will be in accordance with international standards,” Alas said.
He noted that Filipino CPAs should stay strong and competitive amid the many challenges, including the imposition of various policies by government regulators such as the SEC and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
“Because of these changes, many are facing problems,” he said.
To address this, the ACPAPP has been conducting regular seminars and training to help their members upgrade their skills to meet international standards.
One of the key elements in the Asean integration blueprint is the freer flow of skilled labor through mutual recognition agreements, initially on seven professions, namely medical, dental, nursing, accountancy, engineering and architectural services and surveying.
Alas expressed confidence that Filipino CPAs would benefit from the impending Asean integration.
“With the integration, CPAs can practice in other Asean-member countries, but they should meet international standards. That is why we are upgrading our practice,” he said.
Filipino CPAs, he added, have the benefit of good training and communication skills.
“We have a big advantage because we speak English, we are a good communicator and the training is good (as well). After training, some of our CPAs work abroad,” he said.
He also dismissed fears that with the Asean integration, more CPAs will be encouraged to work in other countries, resulting in a brain drain for the Philippines.
“We are producing 8,000 CPAs a year, and they need an employment here. So, we will not be experiencing possible shortage of CPAs,” he said.