In 2004, IFAC's 158 member bodies represented 118 nations (some developing countries with economies in transition) and over two million accountants in public and private practice, education, government and commerce (Hall & Sen, 2004).
Harmonization among accounting bodies and accountants worldwide will surely progress, with IFAC's standards serving as benchmarks.
In a previous study conducted (Hall & Sen, 2004), data was gathered from IFAC member bodies on their compliance with current standards in the areas of: a minimum entry level education,a competency exam, the requirement for licensure or registration to practice, a practical experience requirement, and a professional code of ethics.
The mission of IFAC is the development and enhancement of a global accountancy profession that is guided by harmonized standards in an effort to provide consistently high quality service to the public.
The IFAC was originally formed as a committee of the IASC.
IFAC's operating structure supports four independent boards and three internal committees.
Membership in IFAC requires certain qualifications of member organizations, with levels of membership ranging from Full Membership to Affiliate Membership.
Membership in IFAC provides a common set of guidelines for an international accountancy profession in an effort to promote collaboration among international professionals.
The revised organizational structure of IFAC and the SMOs above clearly define the requirements for full membership and monitor compliance with the standards and member obligations, therefore eliminatingthe need to gather survey data from individual full member bodies in the areas of education standards, codes of ethics, and IAS and IFRS adoption.
The IAESB is the independent standard setting body supported by IFAC and of greatest interest in this study.
At the time of the previous study, compliance with IFAC education standards was more loosely interpreted and applied (Hall & Sen, 2004).
It is the role of professional bodies (including IFAC) to monitor the fulfillment of these responsibilities, including the assurance that individuals becoming professional accountants achieve and maintain an agreed level of competence at the global level.