The official launch of the Service for Accounting, Reporting and Auditing Supervision (SARAS), a subordinated agency of Georgia’s Ministry of Finance, took place in Tbilisi on June 21. Reform of auditing and financial reporting is an obligation for Georgia under the country’s Association Agreement with the European Union (EU), and its implementation is a top priority for the Government. The main goals of the reform are to help raise business transparency, develop capital markets, increase financial sector efficiency, improve the investment climate and corporate governance practice, approximate regulation of accounting and reporting with EU directives, and implement international best-practices in Georgia.
SARAS has been operating since September 2016, applying supervisory functions over audit firms and professional organizations, and introducing mandatory international financial reporting and auditing standards and other norms, while ensuring quality control and professional standards.
According to Mr. Kumsishvili, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Georgia, successful implementation of reforms to accounting, reporting and auditing supervision must be linked to better corporate governance, accounting and reporting reliability, as well as an improved investment climate in Georgia.
“Companies are going to benefit from this reform, since they will have reliable and transparent financial statements and auditors who perform their work at a highly professional level,” said Mr. Kumsishvili. “Businesses will become better aware of their financial positions and will be able to plan their future activities correctly, while investors will start making investments with more confidence, and eventually the reform outcomes will translate into real benefits for our society.”
Jarett Decker, Head of the World Bank’s Centre for Financial Reporting Reform (CFRR) and Yuri Dolidze, Head of SARAS, also took part in the launch, which was attended by representatives of executive and legislative branches of the government, international donors, diplomatic missions and professional organizations.
“We commend the important steps taken by the Government and the Ministry of Finance in establishing a financial reporting and audit regulator – SARAS. This is a true milestone, which marks Georgia’s progress in implementing a previous recommendation by the World Bank,” said Mr. Decker. “We expect this reform and the new reporting framework to bring tangible benefits to Georgia, as high quality financial information is essential for a good investment climate, and underpins economic growth, transparency and confidence in a country’s economy.”
SARAS was established in accordance with the Law of Georgia on Accounting, Reporting and Auditing, which defines standards and requirements for accounting, auditing financial statements, preparing and filing financial statements, as well as for quality control assurance for approximation of accounting and auditing legal acts with EU requirements. This law aims to organize financial accounting and reporting and enhance supervision over the audit profession.