IFAC issues a position paper to define public interest

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29 Jun 2012

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) issued Policy Paper 5, A Defintion of the Public Interest, to define the term public interest and to help IFAC evaluate the actions and decisions that are made in the public interest.

IFAC’s primary mission is to serve the public interest, so the definition of the term is important in the analysis of the decisions made by IFAC. This position paper defines public interest as “the net benefits derived for, and procedural rigor employed on behalf of, all society in relation to any action, decision or policy”. The paper goes on to determine who is the public and what are the interests of the public. The paper notes that the accountancy profession can assist the public in realizing certain interests, including increased economic certainty, comprehensive financial and non-financial reporting and comparable financial and non-financial reporting, among others.

IFAC created this paper based on comments and feedback from various sources, which included a public consultation process. IFAC welcomes comments on this policy paper.

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