ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
ASEAN economic integration hindered by 'lack of trust': Chartered accountants
SINGAPORE: The lack of trust is a factor that is holding back economic integration in Southeast Asia, said Chartered Accountants Worldwide in its latest report.
Transparency, corporate governance and recognising the importance of ethics are critical to economic integration and tackling corruption, said Chartered Accountants Worldwide, the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in a joint news release on Wednesday (Dec 16).
“Southeast Asia, despite being cohesive from a geographical point of view, is a very multicultural region with not necessarily consistent approaches to ways of doing business. Some staff do not understand the importance of ethics in corporate governance and tend to brush it aside,” explained Chartered Accountants Worldwide’s chairman Pat Costello.
“Unsurprisingly, corruption remains one of the main challenges to achieving the goal of economic integration. Establishing the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 was an important step to developing trade across the region. However, business leaders have to make more of an effort to build trust across the borders and within their organisations.”
Business leaders also said that in Southeast Asia, accountants have “traditionally focused on preventing things from going wrong instead of building a culture when it becomes natural to do what is right”, said Chartered Accountants Worldwide. “Changing this approach is critical to building trust across the region and tackling corruption,” it added.
The report followed an international summit in Singapore where senior CEOs, CFOs and executives, together with the heads of global chartered accountancy bodies, discussed the business agenda facing finance professionals.
The ASEAN Economic Community was set up this year, with the aim of creating freer movement of trade and capital within the 10-member bloc. The Southeast Asian countries aim to harmonise economic strategies, recognise each other’s professional qualifications and consult more closely on macroeconomic and financial policies.
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