MAJLIS MAKAN MALAM TAHUNAN MICPA Ke 48
TAN SRI NOR MOHAMED YAKCOP
MENTERI KEWANGAN II
23 JUN 2006
Y Bhg. Dato' Abdul Halim Mohyiddin
Y Bhg. Dato' Nordin Baharuddin
Naib Presiden MICPA
Hadirin yang dihormati sekalian.
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarahkatu dan salam sejahtera.
Terlebih dahulu, saya ingin mengucapkan tahniah kepada Ahli-ahli Majlis dan dan semua ahli-ahli Institut Akauntan Awam Bertauliah Malaysia (MICPA) diatas sambutan ulangtahun yang ke 48 ini. Saya juga berasa gembira kerana telah diberi peluang untuk sama-sama meraikan majlis ulangtahun pada malam ini.
2. As Malaysia moves towards becoming a more developed economy, the role of the accounting profession becomes more critical and increasingly challenging. In financing the nation's development, the role of the capital market too, becomes increasingly important. Needless to say, that the development of markets needs to be supported by strong and high quality market participants. Market institutions, market intermediaries, issuers, investors, industry associations, regulators, including the Government and market professionals, such as yourselves, play equally important roles.
3. Our growth prospects will be further enhanced if capital is invested wisely. The economy and investors suffer if capital is wrongly allocated. Most investment decisions are based on the projections, statements and information prepared by accountants and other professionals. This task is dependent on the quality and reliability of information that is available, such as in the evaluation of projects and the preparation of financial statements.
4. In your capacity either as auditors, advisors, consultants, directors or even, as members of the corporate sector, the accounting profession is essential in complementing efforts of building a credible, reputable and internationally competitive capital market. Accountants have a major responsibility in preparing statements as well as in providing the necessary certification that all is "true and fair"
5. This is particularly relevant given that the capital market now operates on a disclosure-based regime. In this regard, high quality financial information is, indeed, the bedrock of a strong and stable capital market. Credible and reliable financial information is fundamental to investment. It builds investor confidence, facilitates business development, contributes to employment growth and leads to further economic progress and prosperity.
6. Transparency is also imperative to imbue confidence amongst investors in our market. After all, the stock market is essentially a "confidence" game. Hence, the quality of information and the integrity of the market place act as strong modes for brand differentiation to attract the necessary capital inflows. As the gatekeepers of financial information, the accounting profession has a key role to ensure proper application of accounting standards and to provide an independent and objective view on the financial performance and risk profile of companies.
7. Additionally, in performing the audit of financial statements, you have the most intimate knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the company. As such, the quality and objectivity of this information has a profound impact on the efficiency and integrity of the country's capital market and the overall economy. As key providers and verifiers of information, the higher the quality maintained by the accounting and auditing profession, the stronger will be our markets.
8. In this regard, it is heartening to note that the accounting and auditing standards in Malaysia have always been benchmarked against international standards, reflecting the foresight of the profession in recognizing the importance of international comparability. And, this is due in no small measure to MICPA's initiatives.
9. Of course, in the age of globalisation and cross border transactions, and as market becomes increasingly mature, financial statements themselves become increasingly complex. Today, investors and corporates are looking beyond their shores for investments and capital, leading to greater sophistication and internationalization of businesses. In the meantime, market expectations are higher and more demanding. Businesses are rapidly becoming a reputation business and this is naturally accompanied by a rise in litigation and regulatory risks.
10. The new capital market environment requires the accounting profession to rise to the challenge and discharge their duties in a manner that enhances public opinion of the profession and ensures a reputation for integrity and dignity that is commensurate with their status as the guardian of financial statements. You are in a key role to ensure the proper application of accounting standards, transparency and integrity of financial information, which are critical to promoting shareholders' wealth and achieving sustainable business growth. The task of certification carries with it heavy responsibilities. It is, I believe, the basis on which the accounting profession earns its keep.
11. Professional accountants must see their role as one that extends beyond satisfying the needs of an individual client or employer and their own partners. After all, the accounting professional is an honourable profession that is duty-bound also to look after public interests and to serve society.
12. We are currently in the most crucial part of the transition period. Some aspects of the international accounting standards are quite complex. Clients will be relying heavily on the accounting profession to guide them smoothly through the transition period.
13. There will be situations where there are no clear-cut answers in terms of the interpretation of the international accounting standards. I sincerely hope that accountants will not fall prey to the commercial temptation of imposing all kinds of unnecessary requirements to generate more fee income for themselves.
14. In our efforts to ensure good governance and compliance to international standards, we must also be aware that the rules of the books are merely the beginning. For their implementation to be successful, we must hold the spirit of the rules rather than merely a mechanistic compliance. The accounting profession, therefore, should be on their toes and, if there are any teething issues, particularly in relation to the application and interpretation of new standards, to flag such problems to the accounting bodies and the regulators as quickly as possible to provide for timely resolution.
15. It has been 48 years since MICPA was established. It is evident that the accountant's role has since graduated from merely being bookkeepers. The profession has undergone dramatic changes, with the demand for transparency and quality in financial reporting and for commitment to ethics, integrity and professionalism becoming more immense.
16. I would like to applaud MICPA for its leadership and commitment in advancing the accountancy profession in Malaysia. Since its inception in 1958, MICPA has been a primary force in establishing and promoting adherence to high quality professional standards, which in turn leads to the production of credible and reliable financial information.
17. The Government has high expectations from the accountancy profession, in ensuring the orderly conduct of businesses, upholding and promoting ethical business practices and, subsequently contributing towards building a conducive investment climate. I would, therefore, urge you to always uphold your objectivity, integrity and technical excellence in whatever capacity you are serving.
18. Akhir kata, saya sekali lagi mengucapkan setinggi-tinggi tahniah dan syabas kepada MICPA pada ulangtahunnya yang ke 48 ini.
Wasalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarahkatu.
Ministry of Finance
23 Jun 2006