8 to 10 November 2017
Transnational accounting environments are so far hardly controllable.
Imagine you are a controller in an internationally operating network, with enthusiasts operating all around the world, and your task is monitoring world problem No. XYZ: Okay, agree, the good old national accounting environments are overrun and nobody, really nobody can control all your steps; but could you at least control yourself?
Or the world problems themselves: Climate change is probably the transnational accounting problem par excellence. Who will pay which debt? Will it be possible to bring the effects of climate change back into accounting? Who could do this?
Accounting is also a technique to distribute resources. Now, with escalating conflicts, the question of an efficient usage of funds is more important than ever. How to control funds in remote locations that are hardly accessible?
And if you work in an area of crisis and of limited statehood: Which accounting standards do apply? Are there general standards on which we can rely? We know that “integrity” is the corner stone of the accounting profession. But: Is “integrity” in Africa the same as “integrity” in Asia?
These and other challenging questions will be addressed at our 3 day workshop in Beirut.
Empacta is an association of international auditors - with a living membership, financed by membership fees, independent from state resources or funds, designed to promulgate the development of the accounting profession as a truly globalized profession. The last general assembly decided to select this wonderful location at the interface between East and West, between different cultures. Our member firm Moustasharoun is proud to host this year’s empacta event E17!
E17 is the flagship event of empacta, the association of international auditors. E17 will be our fifth annual event - after E13 in Istanbul, E14 in Starnberg, E15 in Dubai and E16 in Berlin. As in the years before it is a three–day event, each day with a different profile:
- a view on the control profession from a scientific perspective
Each day also offers activities for mixed audiences.
By subscribing to this event, you can take part in one of the exciting challenges of our time: the dynamic emergence of accounting as a global language! Indeed, accounting could serve as global language for mutual reconciliation. However, this option is merely that – an option. It depends on us whether we will make use of it. E17 offers the tools!
Many financial controllers face the problem of how to control remote locations in other parts of the world, across cultural borders: a controller in, say, Frankfurt is required to control a project in the jungles of Sumatra. Project sites might be not accessible, because travel budgets are restricted, or simply because “roads are blocked and airports are closed”, because of an ongoing crisis. How to control funds under these circumstances? Which techniques of remote control exist? How to control a first-level controller on site? How to overcome the ubiquitous cultural gap? The session includes a guide to elementary electronic techniques, as well as role plays of how to control remote controllers. The workshop session is designed for the needs of controllers, project managers, accountants, auditors and leaders of transnationally operating entities.
Globalization was a project of the merchants: it brought to us IFRS and an idea that accounting could serve as a global language. But alongside this process of commercial globalization there was also the globalization of nonprofits. There are now supra-national networks who monitor food security, air purity, human rights, gender equality, usage of public funds, transparency, all aspects of ecology. There are globalized NPOs which promulgate child care, workers’ rights, professional standards, emergency relief, football, the Olympic spirit or any other idea. We will work on two sets of questions:
If we ask: is reporting in the NPO world as standardized as in the commercial sphere? Is the performance comparable? – the answer is a clear “no”. Which initiatives exist to standardize accounting and reporting in this area? How could this look like?
If we ask: can globalized networks establish financial discipline? – The answer is a clear “yes”: by membership an efficient control can be established. But who controls the controllers? Which laws govern this field? And will thoroughly controlled members not change to an association with less strict control? How to get financial discipline into the flea circus? Are more and more internal rules really a satisfying answer?
The workshop session addresses the financial management needs of small and middle-sized transnational networks, as well as of supra-national organizations.
One example of the interrelations between accounting and accounting environment is the interrelation between accounting and climate change: it is the effect of the tiny, little figures like CO² concentration in the atmosphere or the percentage of ocean acidification, which has never been entered into accounting, although these figures have been known and measurable. How could we ignore these figures for such a long time? General accounting principles are based on acceptance – an acceptance that accounting brings in social responsibility. Thus the question arises whether accounting in the current form, with an ignorance of obvious globalized side effects, still has or will have general acceptance. It seems that the reference framework, the national GAAPs and GAASs are too narrow in order to reflect the effect. What will accounting look like in the future, in the age of climate change? What will be the role of the NPO-industry in this process? Is there an alliance of “those who account” and “those who monitor”?
The workshop will demonstrate how output related figures and financial accounting could be interlinked and used to establish a deeper public acceptance: there is a link between accounting, financial reporting, fundraising and the formulation of financial claims.
Is accounting a language? If it is, what is its grammar? What are the structures of this language? Are there certain development tropes? Are there dialects?
We will analyse our language with one prominent example: the zero and the representation of the nothing. How do we use the zero, how do we understand the zero and how can we be sure that this representation of the nothing is true and really complete? The investigation will be based on the historical reception of zero, coming from India, adapted in the Arab world, and then introduced into Europe. When a technical vacuum was produced in the 18th century, the surprise was big that the nothing really exists. We will follow the shock waves of this discovery, in the view of Blaise de Pascal, and in its modern interpretation by Paul de Man. The workshop session is intended to bring together the accounting traditions in India, the Arab world and Europe. Thus, by addressing a highly abstract area, it should be possible to address possible cultural prejudices.
Integrity is the cornerstone of the accounting profession. But how is “integrity” translated into our mother tongue? Is the wording easily translatable? In English, “integrity” has an important double meaning, describing – once - an ethical value, similar to “honesty”, and, second, the “unity” or “unviolated wholeness” of a group. Both concepts are heavily dependent on each other: groups only exist, if there is a sign which makes a difference – for instance, a certain value. Values only exist, if groups claim them. But what was there first, the group or the value, the chicken or the egg? How is it possible that a group declares that its distinctive feature is that this group is bound to a higher standard? Is it moral to be moral? Can we invent moral rulings and then impose them on others? Is a universalistic accounting principle possible, or are we bound to communitarian accounting groups which co-exist? Does it require a pure ethical moment to erect new moral rulings?
In this workshop session we will address frequent ethical dilemmas, which accountants, controllers or auditors face in their practice. These dilemmas will be addressed in role plays. Participants will learn how to behave in concurring ethical environments.
Mr. Thomas Werner, Chairman of EMPACTA, economist and social pedagogue, CEO FWS GmbH, Certified Public Accountant (USA), Chartered Accountant (IE). Since 20 years, Mr. Thomas Werner has specialized in audits for the non-profit sector. He performed audits in 41 countries for internationally operating charities. Mr. Werner will prepare a workshop on remote control. You can be sure that a lot of challenging role plays will be part of the show!
Chair of Applied Ethics and Director of Ethics Center and the Department of Ethics in Science of Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena (since 2002), President of the Global Applied Ethics Institute, President of the Ethical Commission of the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, member of national bodies, research focused on medical ethics, business ethics, and the concept of dignity. Participants of E16 know Prof. Knoepffler from his sensitive approach to our inherent ethical dilemmas. As a respond to frequent requests, he also agreed to perform a session questions of integrity in this year.
Mr Kudzai Midzi is currently completing his dissertation on "The relevance of Change Management Strategies for NPOs operating in turbulent Environments" at The Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester. A member of the Empacta Board and Director of KFM Consultants in Harare Zimbabwe, Mr Midzi has 21 years of audit experience in more than a dozen countries. He has been an FWS audit partner in Zimbabwe since 2010. Kudzai worked as as a Regional Audit Specialist within the United Nations Structures before running KFM Consultants which offers financial management and internal auditing services to NPOs. He will present a paper on Accounting for Climate Change.
Frank Fabel, CEO FWS GmbH, CPA, Master of Arts (History, Economics, Communication Science) . Blogger and author of scientific articles Mr. Fabel has 20 years of experience with public sector audits in 41 countries, among them also 145 audits for supra-national organisations, in which he served as lead auditor. Mr. Fabel designed and performed lectures for NPO-financial controllers and project leaders in Europe, Asia and Africa. Mr. Fabel will read a lecture on the accounting issues in internationally operating networks.
Participants of the Practitioner ́s Workshop have the possibility to take part in a multiple choice test. You receive individual feedback from the facilitators on your answers. Participation in the workshop will be certified on the basis of a successful examination.
Relevant audit, accounting and third sector journals (e.g. Accounting, Auditing, and Accountability Journal) will be approached to design a special issue on development NPO audits to take forward the issues developed at the event.
On 3-5 main themes or topics that are co-authored by academics and professionals.
To keep advancing the topic for the coming years through research, scholarship and contribution to discussions/practice of NPO audits.
I took part in E16 in Berlin and it was one of the most specialized and useful workshop I have ever attended. I appreciated the mixture of short theoretical inputs, international discussions amongst donor, receivers and auditors and the marking exercises we did together. The seminar changed my mind in accepting risks, because I learnt to estimate and to minimize them. I was surprised by the experience that even the understanding of law and figures can change between different cultures. This is something I would not have learnt without the vital and tolerant interexchange amongst participants from 5 continents. Sonja Grolig
Compliance and Controlling officer in the German branch of Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood
Victory Byblos hotel is 40 minutes away from Beirut International Airport and is situated just 1.5 km away from Byblos old souk & historical castle. The beach is only walking distance away. You can reach the nearby mountains within 20 minutes by car.
You can write to the hotels with the indicated e-mail addresses. Please remember to mention the code “EMPACTA” for the reserved contingent. If you need any assistance or if you have any further suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me personally: email@example.com
Yours cordially, the EMPACTA Board
|Thomas Werner||Kudzai Midzi||Maria Vatamaniuk|