KUALA LUMPUR: The World Congress of Accountants (WCOA) was
officially opened by a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department
Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yackop in a ceremony fit for the ‘Olympics of
Accounting’ yesterday.

A mammoth roll-call of 134 nations kick-started proceedings
before the festivities turned to Malaysia’s national anthem, a
traditional ‘Tarian Selamat Datang’ dance and prayer, before Tan
Sri Nor Mohamed Yackop entered the Kuala Lumpur Convention

Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yackop declared the Congress open on behalf
of the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who could not
attend due to illness. His speech stressed the need for broader
adoption of a single set of high quality, global accounting
standards and Malaysia’s efforts to achieve full convergence with
the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by 1 January

“We are indeed pleased that such prominence has been given to
Islamic Finance as it is in line with our efforts to position
Malaysia as the premier international hub for Islamic Finance,” he

The welcome address by Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA)
president Abdul Rahim Abdul Hamid highlighted the theme of the
Congress – Accountants: Sustaining Value Creation and its relevance
in today’s accounting industry.

“The theme of the Congress is consistent with the role of
accountants to add value to the performance of an organisation. As
value creation becomes important to the business agenda, more
accountants are taking on strategic and leadership roles,” Abdul
Rahim said.

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International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) chief executive
Ian Ball said: “The accountancy profession continues to evolve. At
this Congress, we will explore new opportunities and potential
challenges and how we will meet them.”

Supporting that notion, outgoing IFAC president Robert Bunting
said it was more important than ever for delegates to learn from
each other, exchange ideas and discuss best practices.

Awards for outstanding contribution

During the opening ceremony for the WCOA, IFAC also presented
three attendees with awards for outstanding contribution to the
international accounting profession. The IFAC Sempier Award was
presented to Robert Mednick.

“[Mednick’s] dedication and achievements in strengthening the
profession internationally have raised the bar for all of us and
exemplified Sempier’s vision for IFAC and for the international
accounting profession,” Bunting said.

The Sempier Award recognises long-term outstanding contributions
to the accountancy profession and Mednick was chosen because of his
roles in advancing convergence of global accounting and auditing
standards, development of professional accountancy bodies in
emerging economies, public oversight/regulation of the accountancy
profession, reform of accountants’ legal liability, and expansion
of the audit function to broader assurance services.

René Ricol and Wang Jun received special awards for
their contributions to the profession. Ricol was awarded for his
role as president of IFAC during the ‘IFAC Reforms,’ and his key
role in developing and implementing those reforms and promoting
IFAC’s mission internationally. Jun was awarded for showing
leadership in the reform of the Chinese accountancy profession and
his work to develop, adopt and implement new Chinese Accounting and
Auditing Standards.

The WCOA is the largest international accountancy event and
Kuala Lumpur is only the third Asian city to host it after Tokyo in
1987 and Hong Kong in 2002. It gathers leaders in accountancy,
business and regulation to explore the latest issues and innovation
in accounting.
The WCOA in Kuala Lumpur will be attended by more than 6,000 delegates. The
Congress is being jointly organised by the MIA and IFAC.