2013 ICAC Caribbean Conference of Accountants in Barbados

Some 560 accounting and finance professionals as well as business leaders from the region and internationally, gathered in Barbados over the period June 27 – 29, 2013 for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean’s (ICAC’s) 31st Caribbean Conference of Accountants. The 2013 Conference was held at the Hilton Barbados Resort, which is nestled on the popular Needhams’ Point on the outskirts of Bridgetown, Barbados. The conference theme, “Global Challenges – Regional Solutions”, examined the global issues affecting the Caribbean including the global economic recession and the changing international trade environment as well as the impact of new international accounting and auditing standards and regulations on the profession.

The conference also examined how accounting professionals can leverage their talent and ingenuity to help transform the region’s economies and increase competiveness in the global environment. The opening session of the conference was addressed by Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Freundel Stuart, QC, MP, who addressed the topic, Perspectives on Regional Integration. In his address the Prime Minister stated that a major priority for regional governments should be to treat the haemorrhaging of the foreign exchange earnings industries of tourism and international business. He noted that these two sectors had taken a beating as a result of the impact of global conditions.

He highlighted the issues impacting regional economies and the steps needed to generate employment, government revenue and economic activity and to ensure the sustainability of the region. He stressed the need to diversify the sources of the Caribbean’s economic drivers and align the region more with faster growing areas of the world. “We must improve the productive capacity of our economies through infrastructure development. We must rationalize and consolidate the fiscal sector by reducing wastage, cutting unnecessary programmes, confronting the ‘entitlement’ mentality in our countries, providing public goods and services more efficiently and improving the facilitation role of Government,” Prime Minister Stuart stated.

He encouraged accountants to become more integrally involved in designing a new economic and financial architecture for the development of the Caribbean.

Speaking on the topic, Driving Sustainable Organisational Success, IFAC President, Mr. Warren Allen, challenged accountants to take the lead in assisting regional governments in turning risks into opportunities. He said it was not a matter of incremental change that was needed but “a radical transformation in the way we think and the way we run our organisations”. He noted that professional accountants were ideally placed to lead the way in this regard.

“There are three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental sustainability. Here in the Caribbean all three pillars of sustainable development are highly relevant and all must be combined to create win-win scenarios for sustainable economies,” the IFAC President stated. Dr. Wendell Samuel, Deputy Division Chief, International Monetary Fund also delivered a presentation on “Challenges of Fiscal Consolidation and Debt Reduction in the Caribbean” during the opening session of the conference.

Other presentations delivered during the technical session of the conference were:

  • Investigation and Discipline of Accountants, in the Wake of Recent Corporate Failures by Prof. Barry Cooper, President, ACCA
  • Preventing Money Laundering – Doing the Best Thing in the Right Way by Mr. Paul Simkins, Director, Quality Assurance, ICAEW
  • Update on International Financial Reporting Standards – Mr. Peter Gittens, Director, Ernst & Young
  • The Future of Audit by Mr. Sha Ali, Director – Practice Monitoring, ACCA and Mr. Kevin J. Dancey, President, CPA Canada
  • Towards Better Public Sector Expenditure Management in the Caribbean (Panel Discussion)
  • Improving Corporate Governance in the Caribbean (Panel Discussion)
  • New Model for Cricket Funding, Administration and Development (Panel Discussion)
  • Women in the Board Room (Panel Discussion)
  • Employee Engagement and Productivity (Panel Discussion)
  • Enterprise Risk Management by Bruce L. Scott, Partner, PwC Jamaica Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)
  • Update on Tax Secrecy Initiatives by Ms. Anuschka Bakker, Senior Manager, IBFD, Amsterdam
  • The Economics of Renewable Energy in the Caribbean by Mr. Roger Blackman, Business Development Manager, Barbados Light & Power Co. Ltd.
  • In Search of Solutions to the Challenges of Regional Air Transportation by Dr. the Hon. Jean Holder, General Secretary, Caribbean Tourism Research & Development Centre and Caribbean Tourism Organisation
  • Caribbean Tourism Outlook – Challenges and Opportunities by Mr. Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace
  • Caribbean Competitiveness/Growth (Panel Discussion)
  • Feeding CARICOM – Prospects for Caribbean Agriculture by Dr. Chelston Brathwaite,
  • Director General, InterAmerican Institute of Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
  • Imperatives for Caribbean Growth by Prof. Andrew Downes, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Planning and Development, UWI
  • Change Management and Organizational Transformation by Mr. Simon Holland, Partner, Deloitte

In her closing address, outgoing ICAC President, Betty Brathwaite, thanked the delegates for their support in making the 31st Caribbean Conference a success. She also commended the 2013 conference host, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB), led by its President, David Simpson, for planning and executing an excellent conference.

The newly-elected President, Frank Myers also commended the 2013 Conference team for hosting a successful conference. He noted that the conference theme, “Global Challenges, Regional Solutions”, was well-chosen and that the team of qualified presenters ensured that participants were well-informed about the wide range of topics selected. He also noted that the entertainment package provided during the conference was also impressive and gave delegates and spouses a true experience of Barbadian culture and talent.

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