Pope Francis on the role of accountants in society

In an address in Rome to participants of the World Congress of Accountants, Pope Francis reminded accountants that their work is a service to the community and encouraged accountants to use this perspective, along with their creativity, to tackle the urgent problems facing society.

The pontiff highlighted the importance of providing opportunities for dignified work. “The current economic climate makes the issue of work even more pressing. Given your professional vantage point, you are fully aware of the dramatic reality faced by so many people whose employment is precarious, or have lost their job, of so many families who are affected by that, of so many young people in search of their first job and of decent work,” said Pope Francis.

“So everyone – but especially those in a profession that deals with the proper functioning of the economic life of a country – is required to play a positive, constructive role in the course of their daily work, bearing in mind that behind every document, there is a story, there are faces.

“Those who work in various positons in the economy and finance are called on to make choices in favour of the social and economic wellness of humanity as a whole, giving everybody the opportunity to realise their own development.”

Pope Francis encouraged accountants to go beyond their immediate duty by helping people in difficulty, and to use “the creativity that enables them to find solutions in situations of deadlock to assert the cause of human dignity over the inflexibility of bureaucracy.”

Solidarity was the central theme of the address, and the pontiff urged the congregation to keep that value alive. “I encourage you to always act responsibly, fostering relationships based on loyalty, justice, and, where possible, fraternity, tackling with courage, above all, the problems of the weakest and the poorest.”

“If we wish to leave an improved environmental, economic, cultural, and social heritage for future generations, we are called upon to take responsibility for working towards the globalisation of solidarity,” adding that if we fail to create a more just society in this way, there can be no true and lasting peace. 

The audience took place in the Vatican’s Paolo VI Hall on November 14th. Pope Francis was introduced at the gathering by Olivia Kirtley, CPA, CGMA, the new president of the International Federation of Accountants.

Samantha White ( is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.