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ACCA shows its Power of Connections at global infrastructure gap roundtable in Brussels


12 Jul 2019


We need more effective collaboration between public and private sectors in order to help  unlock public infrastructure investment. Accountants can play a critical role in closing the infrastructure gap by improving the selection, financing and delivery of infrastructure projects, said EU policy makers and experts at a recent  event organised by ACCA in Brussels
Infrastructure is critical for economic and social development across the world, from the transportation networks that enable people and goods to move around safely and effectively, to the utility systems providing power and services essential to survival. And these systems rely heavily on investments and funding. The Global Infrastructure Outlook, developed by the Global Infrastructure Hub, forecasts that the global infrastructure investment gap will reach $14 trillion by 2040. The term ‘global infrastructure gap’ identifies the difference between infrastructure investment needed and the resources available to meet that need. Solving this global challenge will require identifying infrastructure needs and spending better – ensuring that all spending is well-targeted.
To address this crucial  issue, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) partnered with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) on a report called: How accountants can bridge the global infrastructure gap: Improving outcomes across the entire project life cycle, which findings and recommendations are based on international good practice to help governments close their infrastructure gap with accountants playing a central, collaborative role. The survey features 3611 respondents from 118 countries across ACCA and CPA Canada’s memberships respectively*.
As part of its quarterly theme dedicated to the Power of Connections, ACCA launched the report in Brussels with European decision makers and key stakeholders at an experts roundtable, moderated by Alex Metcalfe, ACCA’s Head of Public Sector Policy and author of the report, who said:
‘Solving the infrastructure puzzle is crucial to achieving a better, more sustainable future for all, as it tackles global issues such as inequality, poverty and climate change. Infrastructure is the foundation on which our social and economic well-being is built. All around the world – national, regional and local governments make decisions that serve the public and play a critical role in building and maintaining important infrastructure investments. Forces such as demographics, rising cyber threats, urbanisation and climate change are all increasing the global demand for quality infrastructure.
The discussions revolved around the level of infrastructure gap discussions in public life across the EU, the key missing points in the infrastructure debates across member states,  and the interaction of the role of expert-led bodies and the political process in selecting infrastructure projects, as well as  the role of private finance in meeting the infrastructure investment gap. Participants also debated whether foreign direct investment should play a more prominent role in financing infrastructure. As part of the more general thinking that ACCA is conducting on sustainable finance, experts were invited to reflect on whether sustainability is sufficiently considered in infrastructure policy across the EU, and in which area would they see accountants making the greatest difference in delivering infrastructure in their country.
The roundtable confirmed that we need more effective collaboration between public and private sectors in order to help unlock public infrastructure investment. Insufficient skills to negotiate with the private sector, negative perception of private finance for public infrastructure and the lack of attractiveness of infrastructure investment, are some of the main challenges that limit the flow of private finance for public infrastructure. Participants agreed that finance professionals, such as accountants, can act as a critical interface between different actors, for example through effectively communicating and negotiating the terms of infrastructure finance deals.
‘Through this report, ACCA and CPA Canada also hope to highlight just how powerful and essential connections and partnerships are. The relationship between the public and private sector in facilitating the delivery of infrastructure projects is vital and accountants play an important role in getting this relationship right’, Alex Metcalfe concluded.
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Notes to the editors
*The report offers 20 recommendations to close the infrastructure gap, based on observed global good practice. The recommendations include:
Governments should enforce effective whistle-blowing legislation and professionalise the public sector finance function to allow public servants to challenge unethical behaviour and practices that can disrupt infrastructure projects.
Governments should direct supreme audit institutions to monitor the interaction of off balance sheet liabilities and fiscal targets in order to improve the efficient allocation;
Governments should adopt full accrual accounting and maintain a public sector balance sheet to support decision-making on infrastructure policies.
Governments should also separate expenditure on projects to report both maintenance and new project spend.
For media inquiries please contact cécile Bonino-Liti, head of EU Affairs,
About ACCA
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.
ACCA supports its 219,000 members and 527,000 students (including affiliates) in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 110 offices and centres and more than 7,571 Approved Employers worldwide, and 328 approved learning providers who provide high standards of learning and development.
Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.
ACCA has introduced major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.
Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. More information is here:
Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) is one of the largest national accounting organizations in the world, representing more than 217,000 members. Domestically, CPA Canada works cooperatively with the provincial and territorial CPA bodies who are charged with regulating the profession. Globally, it works together with the International Federation of Accountants and the Global Accounting Alliance to build a stronger accounting profession worldwide. CPA Canada is a respected voice in the business, government, education and non-profit sectors and champions sustainable economic growth and social development. The organization serves the profession, advocates for the public interest and supports the setting of accounting, auditing and assurance standards. CPA Canada develops leading edge thought-leadership, research, guidance and educational programs to ensure its members are equipped to drive success and shape the future.


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