Consultation – the key to making standards relevant

Samantha Musoke, Project Director IFR4NPO, Humentum

Have you ever been required to apply a standard that felt like it was written by, or for, people in a different context – like using a square peg for a round hole? At IFR4NPO we are working to resolve this often-felt experience for the non-profit sector.  We are keen that voices from all over the world are heard so that we can develop internationally applicable financial reporting guidance for the non-profit sector. We want the guidance we produce to be relevant, and build upon the wealth of experience and solutions already developed in different countries.

This is why we issued a Consultation Paper  on 28 January 2021. It was drafted over the course of 9 months with input from our Technical and Practitioner Advisory Groups drawn from every continent.

Fully embracing the opportunities presented by digital work era, in March to June, 348 people participated in ten 3-hour regional consultation events which were offered in Spanish, French, Arabic and English. The events were attended by local and international NPOs, auditors, standard setters, regulatory bodies, donors, civil society and other stakeholders.

In Part 1 of the consultation paper we invited stakeholders to give us feedback on:

We have received responses from organisations and individuals in 32 countries, and all 10 regions of the world as shown below. Of the 89 responses we received, some were aggregated following extensive consultation, for example the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda surveyed 53 members for its submission.

The Part 1 deadline has now closed and we are excited to start analysing the feedback.

The Consultation Paper Part 2 covers sector-specific accounting and reporting issues, such as the recognition of grant income and grants to others, fund accounting, expenditure classification and definition of a reporting entity.  It also asks the question as to whether we have prioritised the right sector-specific financial reporting issues to address in the Guidance. You can see more on each of these topics here, and you are encouraged to respond to the consultation which closes on 24 September.

By hearing from NPOs, donors, auditors, regulators and standard setters we can consider a range of views and perspectives. Our aim is to develop guidance that makes non-profits more transparent, accountable, efficient and equitable – ultimately making the sector more resilient. These changes are needed more than ever to help the world respond to the challenges we face.

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