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2010 ICAC Caribbean Conference of Accountants - Bahamas

Approximately 550 accounting and finance professionals as well as business leaders from the Caribbean, gathered at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort in the Bahamas over the period June 24-26, 2010 for the ICAC's 28th Annual Caribbean Conference.

Hosted by the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA), the conference theme, “Responding to Change, Re-Shaping the Accounting Profession in the Caribbean”, highlighted the critical issues that need to be addressed if accounting and finance professionals in the region are to remain relevant in a changing global environment.”

In his address at the opening ceremony held on Friday, June 25, 2010, ICAC President, Harryram Parmesar, challenged accounting professionals to explore ways to survive and to become more proactive in formulating new strategies to strengthen both their capacities while increasing the value that is provided to clients.

“Our primary aim must be to formulate initiatives geared at enabling us to provide the type of support that will generate confidence in financial reporting; assist our clients to inspire confidence in their operations, attract investors, achieve growth, create more jobs and ultimately contribute to the economies and overall development of the region” Mr. Parmesar said.

He noted that the ICAC had made great strides over the years in critical areas such as the promotion of harmonized accounting and auditing standards as well as best practices through regularization of accrediting bodies and entry qualifications for the region and the expansion of its reach within and beyond the region through its affiliation with global organizations such as the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

In his keynote address, the Honourable Zhivargo Laing, Minister of State, Finance, Bahamas, encouraged members of the profession to develop a level of conviction with respect to their professional conduct that will make them accountable to a higher standard. He also urged accountants to move beyond the rhetoric of regional co-operation and partnership to genuine relationships that produce concrete regional results that include the development of regional instruments and standards that promote greater transparency and accountability.

The technical sessions which followed were led by expert speakers from the Caribbean, the UK, Canada and the USA. The first presentation was delivered by the Honourable Owen Arthur, Former Prime Minister of Barbados, on the topic, The Global Financial Crisis – The Role of International Financial Institutions in the Caribbean. Mr. Arthur focussed on the present financial and economic condition of the Caribbean Community and the impact of the lack of support from the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) as well as the failure of Caribbean governments to deal with the challenges posed by the global economic crises.

Brendan Murtagh, President, ACCA, then spoke on The Need for the Consolidation of SMEs, which he said are “vital” to any country’s economy. He said according to statistics, small and medium-sized (SMEs) account for most of the companies in the Caribbean, and contribute significantly to the gross domestic product of these countries. The ability that SMEs have to innovate and adapt to changing market conditions, he added, is unique, however, necessary policies must be put in place by governments and other institutions to support their growth.

Senator the Hon. Darcy Boyce, Minister of State, Barbados also spoke on the topic, Required Caribbean Accounting – Dealing with Economic Vulnerability, while L. Edgar Moxey, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers addressed the topic, Reshaping the Accounting Profession in the Caribbean. Participants were sensitised about risk management and its relevance to businesses by Terry LeBlanc, Chairman, CGA–Canada, who spoke on Responding to Change Through Risk Management. Sue Coffey, Senior Vice President, AICPA also updated participants on developments within the accounting profession in the United States.

The technical session on the first day of the conference ended with a panel discussion on the topic, “Practice Monitoring in the Caribbean: Adopting Global Standards. The speakers were Peter Large, Executive Director, Professional Standards ACCA; Sha Ali Khan, Director Practice Monitoring ACCA; Rudranand Maharaj, Managing Partner, Maharaj Mohammed & Co, Trinidad & Tobago and Andrew Brathwaite, Principal of AFB Consulting Inc., Barbados.

Later that evening, delegates relaxed and socialized at the prestigious ICAC President’s Dinner at the Rainforest Theatre, The Wyndham Nassau Resort, and were entertained by cultural presentations and other performances.

The technical session on Saturday, June 26th began with concurrent discussions on:

  • Implications of Trade in Service Negotiations for the Accounting Profession – CSME, the EPA and CARICOM – Canada by Natalie Rochester-King, Technical Advisor, Services Specialist, Trade Negotiations
  • Developing A Culture of Excellence within The Region and Beyond by Spence M. Finlayson, President and CEO, The Phoenix Institute for Positive Development
  • Effective Communication in a Digital Age by Darron Cash, Chairman, The Bahamas Development Bank

A two hour session entitled, A Closer Look at IFRS for SMEs, presented by Paul Pacter, Board Member, International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) provided a detailed overview on the status of the adoption of the new standard, what it requires and how it differs from full IFRS. This was followed by a presentation on Ethical Challenges – Personal, Professional & Business by Lawrence Lewis, Partner, Deloitte, Bahamas.

ICAC CEO, Misha Lobban, delivered a brief presentation on the ICAC’s strategic goals and initiatives, highlighting the initiatives being implemented by the Institute in collaboration with regional members, affiliates and stakeholders in the Caribbean.

This was the first ICAC conference to go green in support of the environment. BICA provided a paperless registration process, used recycled paper for the printing of conference material and provided delegates with an eco-friendly reusable, recyclable conference bag.

Reece Chipman, BICA President, in his closing address thanked delegates and sponsors for their support in making the 28th Annual Caribbean Conference a success.

The 29th Annual Caribbean Conference to be held over the period June 23 – 25, 2011 in Kingston, Jamaica was officially launched by the 2011 conference hosts, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica during the closing session of the 2010 conference.

 

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