The Serbia Technical Assistance for Reform of Corporate Financial Reporting (STAR-CFR) project aims to further develop Serbia’s institutional framework and improve capacity for preparing, teaching, regulating, auditing, understanding, and using reliable financial reporting. The project is implemented by the Serbian government and the World Bank Centre for Financial Reporting Reform (CFRR), generously funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
STAR-CFR supports Serbia’s efforts to achieve broad-based and sustainable growth through greater investment, increased productivity, and improved external competitiveness. Developing a more attractive business and investment climate depends in part on improving transparency and financial discipline in Serbian businesses. Financial reporting should play an important role in this. Sound financial reporting frameworks and practices can help improve business governance, provide foreign and domestic investors with reliable and useful information to assess businesses for potential investment, and enhance public accountability of business. High-quality financial reporting should improve investor confidence, increase the flow and efficiency of credit and other forms of finance, and contribute to the long-term growth of the Serbian economy. In addition, better understanding of financial reporting and other financial information from state-owned enterprises (SOEs) would assist Serbian authorities in conducting successful privatizations on favorable terms and monitoring and restructuring those enterprises that remain in state hands. Finally, Serbia needs to conform its laws, standards, institutions, and practices in financial reporting to the European Union’s acquis communautaire (“the acquis”) to support its accession efforts, which will lead to increased trade and investment.
The project’s key areas of focus are:
- Amending laws, regulations, standards, and rules for corporate financial reporting to incorporate good international practice and align with the European Union.
- Improving understandings of international financial reporting standards (IFRS), international standards on auditing (ISA) and other principles of reliable reporting; and strengthening the capacity of preparers, auditors, lecturers, tax inspectors, and others to use them.
- Strengthening of the relevant regulatory bodies to monitor the application and enforcement of accounting and auditing standards, including greater audit quality assurance.
- Encouraging universities and professional institutions to implement modern accountancy curricula compatible with international good practices.
- Enhancing the capacity to compile, monitor, understand, and use financial information from SOEs.
- Promoting understandings of financial reporting to raise awareness and encouraging use of information from financial statements.