Global Accounting Alliance

September 14th, 2017

The Global Accounting Alliance (GAA) is an alliance of the top 10 professional accounting bodies of the world. They include the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Germany, South Africa, Japan, Hong Kong, Scotland, England, and Australia & New Zealand (both represent one organization). The alliance was formed in 2005 in hopes to promote quality services and tend to important international accounting issues. They work with other global regulators, especially the International Federation of Accounting (IFAC), stakeholders, and governments to regulate and improve global accounting practices. The organization provides a bond for its members so they can work more closely to address issues that have implications for multiple jurisdictions. They meet in person three times per year, and then over telecommunications for smaller conferences. Soon after their establishment, they created an online journal that publishes articles bi-monthly to provide the latest news on international financial markets.

The GAA has a main focus of reducing the complexity of financial reporting and moving toward principle-based standards. The problem is that there are legal, cultural, and regulatory principles established in different countries that make the switch to similar practices a challenge. Although it is nearly impossible to accept a single statute for auditors examining financial statements, they are doing the most they can with the other regulators to mesh ideas together and simplify practices. They also provide information about the business and accounting industry which firms can get a hold of and learn from.

The GAA also provides a passport for any member of the alliance. This means if you travel abroad to any of the ten countries that are a part of the alliance, as most accountants might have to do, you will have access to the respective services. The amount of people affiliated with the alliance is over one million, so it is a good idea to grant access to any of the major firms and their services. Some benefits that come with the membership, along with the access to other firms, include newsletters, network events, affinity products, and technical assistance. The extent of the benefits depend on the location, like the price of a specific product. Providing members with immediate access builds strong relationships, and allows them to learn ideas from different points of view (cultural or political).

An article published by the GAA magazine in November of 2014 explained the importance of succession planning, an issue they thought had a rise in concern. The article states that about half of all U.S. CPA firms will lose a top partner to retirement in the next five years, according to a survey they conducted in May of 2014. The goal of the article was to address succession issues that firms will eventually run into. They point out five major challenges that come up when dealing with filling top corporate positions. The challenges include looming transition needs, roadblocks to the path of leadership, challenges for sole practitioners, time constraints that impede planning, and problems with plan implementation. In the midst of running a business, a top priority for an executive is not to assign a successor four or five years from now. That fact of the matter is that it is an important decision to address when faced with it. The article provides tips to avoid last-minute frustration including researching exit strategy options, and creating a formal plan that has retirement rights, responsibilities, and training for future leaders.

The formation of the GAA has proved to be important by providing accountants from around the world with helpful knowledge on how to improve the practices and standards for the ever-changing accounting profession. They provide discussion boards and forums for people to provide their own insight on how they envision change. The establishment of the alliance has provided a gateway to share and exchange vital information not just in the U.S., but internationally. The idea of providing a passport to use internationally is smart because different views are able to be heard and exchanged. With their ongoing support of the IFAC and other regulatory bodies, the GAA has helped build on and improve the basic accounting practices we follow today, while also providing up to date information on international accounting news.

Why The Internet Of Things Is The Biggest Tweak In The Digital India Construct

September 14th, 2017

India is on the cusp of innovation and is going all guns blazing to digitize the citizen-centric services. One of the greatest challenges testing this collective vision will be to prudently channelize gains, to refine the standard of living of the poorest of poor. We just need to put a series of interconnected devices exchanging information with one another into any digital channel, and the benefits of urban amenities will become accessible to all citizens. This is precisely the purpose which the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) serves. IoT lends intelligence to the citizen-centric services through a precisely designed network of devices and sensors that facilitates intelligent communication between a user and a device or between two devices.

India’s service sector is still evolving and pushing it into the digital realm will enhance its reachability. IoT will hold a major stake in such a transformation by trimming down the reliance on an extravagant physical infrastructure to deliver education, health, and financial services. Indian government’s strides towards paperless governance are beautifully completing this drive of innovation. Digitizing the official processes will expedite the implementation of policies by making a short work of red-tapism. Things are falling into place with mobile phone networks reaching to every nook and corner of rural lands. There is a need to club this seamless network availability with IoT, and the way people harvest, acquire education and handle their finances will be revolutionized forever.

Rural India can benefit from the trickle down effects of the country’s thriving digital economy through the smart connectivity of devices. IoT can penetrate our cottage Industry, and open gates for the local or traditional products by linking them to our e-commerce industry. IoT holds immense relevance for our rural ecosystem that is gaining strength from flagship schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana which attempts to push the boundaries of financial inclusion by making the basic banking services tangible for the poorest of poor. Opening a bank account is one thing but to make a remotely located individual access that account without any locomotion hassles is something that IoT can achieve with ease. Banks are now paving way for business correspondents who travel to the remotest of areas to let people avail the basic banking services through smart devices such as mobile ATMs or card readers. These devices are seamlessly connected to the back offices of banks. IoT focusses on a smart interpersonal communication to avail urbane amenities over a vast network of connected things, from the comfort of home. This makes it a potential deterrent for the rural to urban migration that is flooding the urban milieu with ill-functioning slums.

With a bulk part of our GDP resting on the shoulders of farmers, no innovation can pass the litmus test without transforming the diaphragm of our Agriculture Industry. IoT is bound to revolutionize our obsolete farming methods by facilitating a network of smart devices to gather real-time information on weather, the pH level of soil, and fluctuating market price of a specific crop. This information can then be sent to mobile phones via cloud technology. Such real-time information will lay the foundation for an optimized farm management, and farmers will prudently handle the vagaries of weather to prevent frequent crop failures. Novel initiatives like Per Drop More Crop will get a major thrust as IoT can augment the irrigation management through smart sensors placed in farmlands. Through Real-time tracking of moisture levels of soil, farmers can regulate the irrigation levels, thus lending a helping hand in our collective fight with Water scarcity.

India has amplified her efforts to voice concerns over Climate Change on global forums and has expedited the implementation of economically viable methods to maintain the sanctity of nature. The ever-expanding carbon footprints are garnering concerns from all over the World. A developing country like ours will have to show utmost prudence to keep mobilizing the bandwagon of innovation along with keeping the carbon emissions under check. IoT has the potential of ushering in an era of impeccable energy management by making way for smarter grids to cut down our transmission and distribution losses. Such losses account for nearly 23 percent of the electricity generated. IoT can enable a network of carbon emitting devices that can be accessed from a remote location so that users can turn off or turn on such devices at will. Such devices can inform users about the technical faults with electric circuits through real-time alerts, and also throw light on their energy consumption patterns. With Indian Government giving impetus on the advent of Smart Cities, the need for state of the art energy management systems is sure to get a major push.

IoT is playing a crucial role in the resurrection of our ruptured healthcare sector which is dented with overcrowded hospitals. Land for the brick-and-mortar hospitals is shrinking gradually and the diseased from a remote area has been left with no access to specialists. The interconnected smart devices are catapulting the prominence of telemedicine which will eventually make the in-person visits a thing of past. Through a telecommunication infrastructure, a thorough diagnosis can be done by a specialist from a remote location and medication can be prescribed based on the medical data recorded by smart devices. The concept of IoT has stuck a chord with reputed hospitals in metros. Most of them are offering remote consulting services to areas having low penetration of medical facilities, through a smart network of devices. There is no need for patients to keep a track of their medical data as all relevant information is automatically transmitted to doctors for analysis.

With Indian Government being utterly upbeat about the Digital India Programme, IoT is surely going to be an invaluable cog in the wheel of country’s digital Infrastructure. It will take an enormous effort to make the numerous digital channels of this thriving infrastructure accessible to a large populace. Technological and cultural challenges will have to be tackled in order to sensitize people from all walks of life to this incredible drive of innovation. More importantly, such dedicated efforts will lead to an all-inclusive Indian society where quality services pertaining to education, health, and finance will be just a click away.