PREPARING THE PROFESSION FOR THE SUSTAINABILITY SECTOR
During the year, ISCA issued Fueling Sustainable Ecosystems – Insights From the Financial Services Sector. The publication shares views from the financial services sector that are pertinent to businesses charting their sustainability journey. By leveraging the perspectives of the financial services sector as a key capital provider and forerunner in the sustainability space, the publication sets out why businesses should adopt sustainable practices. The publication also highlights considerations for businesses that are on the sustainability journey and shares actionable insights.
As ISCA grows as a sustainability thought leader for the profession, we will produce more publications in sustainability.
Representing ISCA, ISCA President Mr Kon Yin Tong spoke at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in November 2021.
Addressing the delegates at the International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) meeting, Mr Kon spoke about the state of sustainability reporting in Singapore, highlighting both the headwinds and tailwinds. He also shared ISCA’s initiatives in this area.
ISAR is the United Nations’ focal point for accounting and corporate governance matters, and this exposure raises ISCA’s standing as a leading professional accountancy organisation (PAO) on the global stage. Moving forward, ISCA will build upon this foundation to collaborate with other PAOs to drive sustainability for the profession.
In August 2021, SGX RegCo published two consultation papers, namely `Climate and Diversity: The Way Forward’ and `Starting with a Common Set of Core ESG Metrics’. To solicit feedback for these consultation papers, ISCA held a focus group in September 2021 comprising Chief Financial Officers and representatives from ISCA’s Sustainability and Climate Change Committee. Key considerations arising from the robust discussions at the focus group were included in our response to SGX RegCo, which had since mandated climate and board diversity disclosures in December 2021.
ISCA held its virtual PAIB Conference on 19 August 2021, which saw more than 1,000 attendees tuning in.
The PAIB Conference 2021’s theme was “Sustainability & Trust: Taking centre-stage in a new era of business”, reflecting how sustainability and climate change are business imperatives of our time. The keynote address was delivered by Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Ms Grace Fu, who commended ISCA’s initiative to develop future-ready accountants who are ready to lead and drive sustainability.
In her plenary presentation, Vice Chair of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and ISCA SCCC member Ms Yeo Lian Sim provided insights on the business implications of sustainability and climate change, as well as an insider’s perspective on TCFD’s work. Ms Yeo also highlighted the role that CFOs and accountants play in driving climate action within their organisations. This message was reiterated at the panel discussion that followed – “Accountants: Spearheading Business Change… and now, Sustainability”.
The conference had break-out tracks on Financial Forensics and Intelligent Automation. Speakers for the Financial Forensics track “Financial Forensics: Fortify Business Trust” shed light on how organisations could fortify trust by combatting white-collar crime and managing risks. Participants on the Intelligent Automation track discovered how intelligent automation opened new doors for the finance function.
ISCA engages in activities that improve our professional standing regionally and globally, including taking the lead to raise the collective standard of the profession in the region.
As a founding member of AFA, we actively contribute towards AFA’s mission to develop and promote the growth of the accountancy profession in ASEAN.
At the November biennial virtual AFA Conference, a key platform for ASEAN accountants and stakeholders to glean quality insights from global experts on current topics of relevance, ISCA President Mr Kon Yin Tong facilitated a session on the future of reporting in view of the global trend towards mandatory sustainability reporting,
ISCA participated in the Jeju Group webinar on “Sustainability Reporting and Assurance”, which was held on 30 September 2021.
During the panel discussion, ISCA emphasised the need for a universal sustainability language, as well as a sustainability statement that reveals an entity’s sustainability performance and condition. ISCA also proposed for IFAC to develop a comprehensive assurance framework to address the various assurance aspects, such as ESG risk management, data collection, materiality and stakeholder engagement.
Supported by the ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA), the Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) and the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA), the webinar’s speakers included trustees of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation, IFAC and member countries of Jeju Group.
Representing ISCA, ISCA SCCC Member Mr Simon Yeo participated in the Sustainability Assurance Roundtable in August 2021.
Co-hosted by IFAC and the Jeju Group, the event was attended by representatives from 10 professional accounting bodies in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr Yeo shared his view that professional accountants are well positioned to take the lead in the provision of sustainability assurance services, along with a multi-disciplinary team with complementary skills and experience. As there is divergence in practice on both the scope and level of assurance in a sustainability report, he also highlighted the need to address and reconcile these discrepancies to ensure consistency.