A passion for independent standard-setting

CPA Canada’s new vice-president, standards, shares her perspective on Canada’s strengths in financial reporting and standard-setting.

On April 1, I assumed the position of vice-president, standards, at CPA Canada — the home of Canadian financial reporting and assurance standards. Canada’s standard-setters not only pilot financial reporting coast to coast, but are also widely recognized internationally as standard setters of the highest calibre. Given the size of the country in the global economy, we punch above our weight, contributing to developing international accounting and auditing standards. Canada has an international reputation as a strong, independent standard-setter and as a leader in a principle-based approach to standard-setting. In my new role, I will ensure we continue to represent the Canadian voice and perspective in international standards development.

An advocate of standard-setting

I started my standard-setting career at the CICA, where I developed a deep understanding and love of independent standard-setting. This independence is a vital component in the financial reporting supply chain, in both the private and the public sectors. I’m passionate about the need to improve public sector accounting, having served as technical director of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board for more than eight years and previously spending 12 years on the Public Sector Accounting Board’s staff.

Making a difference

There really is a need for standards. It’s a niche area and is often taken for granted because it’s so fundamental to the accounting profession. The reason I’m dedicated to independent standard-setting is that Canadian standards are developed in the public interest without undue influence. The purpose of standards is to ensure high-quality financial reporting and assurance that facilitates informed economic decision-making and accountability. More important, however, is the key role that the standards group, the boards and oversight councils have in maintaining absolute public confidence in the Canadian accounting and auditing standard-setting process. What we do is absolutely making a difference and that’s a key personal driver for me.

How we inspire confidence

Canadian standard-setters inspire confidence among stakeholders in the domestic and international markets for three reasons. The first is excellence and experience. There are more than 125 volunteers on standards oversight councils, boards and numerous committees and task forces who participate in the standard-setting process. They represent a diverse range of industry leaders from across the country, from a variety of professional backgrounds, and they help ensure that standards are developed in the public interest. The second reason is due process. The standard-setting process ensures there are ample opportunities for stakeholders to provide feedback and input to proposals in development before a standard is approved. Finally, it’s about listening. We cast a wide-reaching net to get public feedback. We want to hear from you and yes, you do influence our decisions.

I look forward to serving the public interest with a great, cohesive standard-setting team, which has a critical role in financial reporting and assurance in Canada and a vital role in the development of international standards.

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