Kreston International has become a full member
of IFAC’s Forum of Firms (FoF) after the network satisfied
global quality control and ethics requirements.

This means that Kreston International is
officially regarded as an accounting network by the accounting
profession’s peak global body.

Previously an association of independent
firms, Kreston International first outlined plans to become a
network in November 2009. The decision to shift from an association
to a network was driven by profit and the belief that being a
network would help Kreston member firms win more work.

“Now we are recognised as having a global
quality system, which is what multinational companies are expecting
from their auditors. So we can expect to gain significantly now
with international tenders,” Kreston International executive
director Jon Lisby said.

“Not only has it helped our member firms (win
work), but the firms that we seek to recruit are only looking to
join networks, they are not looking to join loose alliances of
accounting firms. They want networks that are coherent, consistent
and can competently handle international clients.”

Greater influence

Lisby said joining the FoF will allow Kreston
International to influence the development of the accounting

“Sue Almond is ideally placed to do that,
she’s the deputy chair of the ISA committee in the UK and the forum
are pleased to have her on board,” he added.

To become a network, Kreston International had
to meet certain quality control and ethics criteria outlined by
IFAC. Kreston hired Almond, an experienced director of quality
control and professional standards, to roll out an inspection
and review programme. Almond said she has noticed the network
operates in a much more cohesive manner than it did in 2009.

“A lot of this has been about bringing
together as a global group what was already embedded in practice,”
Almond said. “We are putting in place a lot more tools that allow
us to have more consistent policy. We’ve signed up to commitments
on things like the use of ISAs and all our member firms have been
committed to that.”

Kreston International has audit methodologies
that sit on top of member firm’s existing methodologies, which help
provide a more consistent approach to cross-border engagements. The
network has also formed specialist working groups in areas such as
tax and audit, which allows firms to share best practice and

Fee increase

The move from association to network has led
to a 50 percent rise in Kreston International membership fees over
the past two years. This extra cost has allowed Kreston to put in
place regular quality control inspections and other network

The next step for Kreston International is
common branding and Lisby predicts a lot of firms will adopt
Kreston branding within the next few years.

Although not every global accounting network
is a FoF member, this step is recognition that Kreston is firmly
placed among the leading 15 global networks.