Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes


Standards and codes are benchmarks of good practices. The Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) initiative was launched in 1999 as a prominent component of efforts to strengthen the international financial architecture. The initiative aims at promoting greater financial stability, both domestically and internationally, through the development, dissemination, adoption, and implementation of international standards and codes.

The ROSC initiative is administered by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), which have recognized international standards in 12 policy areas. The World Bank focuses on three of these: Accounting and Auditing; Corporate Governance; Insolvency and Creditor Rights

The  12 policy areas fall under one of three broader groups - policy transparency, financial sector regulation and supervision, and market infrastructure:

1) Policy Transparency

Standards in these areas have been developed by the IMF.

  • Data Dissemination
  • Fiscal Policy Transparency
  • Monetary and Financial Policy Transparency

2) Financial Sector Regulation and Supervision

Standards in these areas have been developed by specialized standard-setting bodies.

  • Banking Supervision
  • Securities Regulation
  • Insurance Supervision

3) Institutional and Market Infrastructure

Standards in these areas have been developed by specialized standard setting bodies, with substantive input from the IMF and World Bank.


View all ROSC Accounting and Auditing Assessments.


There is widespread recognition that implementation of robust standards not only helps financial stability, but also contributes to the economic functioning and efficiency of a country’s institutions that underpin the market economic system. Ultimately, such standards enhance countries’ resilience to shocks and support better risk assessment and investment decisions.

In most partner countries, the private sector is the primary engine of growth and job creation. To fund productive investment it needs capital and credit. In turn, capital and credit require investors’ or lenders’ trust in the financial situation of companies, and therefore, transparent, high-quality and comparable financial reporting. 

As part of the Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC), the Accounting and Auditing (A&A) module covers the two globally accepted standards: the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the International Standards on Auditing (ISA).  

Purpose of a ROSC A&A assessment

The ROSC A&A Diagnostic Tool, first developed in 2001 and recently revised, is designed to allow task teams to assess corporate sector accounting and auditing practices in a manner that is consistent and comprehensive.  The Tool comprises the following three modules:

Module A: Accounting and Auditing Standards.  Module A is designed to help teams to compare (i) national financial reporting standards with IFRS and (ii) national auditing standards with ISA. The analysis seeks to capture significant differences, if any, in order to give readers of the ROSC A&A report a clear sense of where key areas of divergence lie, and to provide country counterparts with concrete suggestions for improving national standards and aligning them with IFRS/ISA. 

A.1 Financial Reporting Standards Analysis
A.2 Auditing Standards Analysis

Module B: Institutional Framework for Corporate Financial Reporting.  Module B comprises nine sections which assess the robustness a country’s institutional framework for corporate financial reporting and audit, by reference to internationally-recognized benchmarks and good practice.

B.1 Commercial Enterprises (including SMEs)
B.2 Listed Companies
B.3 Financial Sector: banking
B.4 Financial Sector: insurance
B.5 Accountancy Profession
B.6 Accountancy Education
B.7 Audit Regulation, Quality Assurance, and Public Oversight
B.8 Accounting Standard-Setting
B.9 Auditing Standard-Setting

Module C: Observed Reporting Practices and Perceptions. The objectives of Module C are twofold: (i) to corroborate the findings from the assessments of Modules A and B with reference to financial statements issued and reports from the regulators in the jurisdiction; and (ii) to gauge the demand for, and assess perceptions on quality of, financial information by users of financial statements (e.g., credit risk analysts, investment managers, and financial analysts).

The ROSC A&A program is led by teams of the Governance Global Practice, within the Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions Vice Presidency (EFI) of the World Bank Group.

ROSC assessments of A&A practices are conducted in partner countries, either as part of a World Bank-IMF Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) mission, in combination with other Bank Advisory Service and Analytics (ASA) projects, or as standalone exercises. 

Related Material

Financial Sector Assessment Program – Technical Notes

    View all ROSC Corporate Governance Assessments.


    As part of the Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) initiative, the World Bank has established a program to assist its member countries in strengthening their corporate governance frameworks. The objectives of this program are to:

    • Benchmark the country’s corporate governance framework and company practices against the G20/OECD Principles for Corporate Governance.
    • Assist the country in developing and implementing a country action plan for improving institutional capacity with a view to strengthening the country’s corporate governance framework.
    • Raise awareness of good corporate governance practices among the country’s public and private sector stakeholders.

    The World Bank conducts corporate governance country assessments under the ROSC initiative at the invitation of country authorities. The World Bank uses a diagnostic tool – a Template - that it has developed to gather pertinent information for preparing the Corporate Governance ROSC. The Template has five sections that are based on the G20/OECD Principles.

    The ROSC team works closely with stakeholders and makes recommendations that can lead to a country action plan. The World Bank publishes the ROSC report on this Website with permission of the country authorities.

    Please contact Sunita Kikeri to get in touch with the ROSC team about conducting a review in a country or with other questions.


    View all ROSC Insolvency Assessments.


    The financial crisis of the late 1990s gave rise to a series of measures to strengthen the international financial system, one of the most notable of which was the World Bank-International Monetary Fund (Fund) initiative on standards and codes. The international financial community considered that the implementation of internationally recognized standards and codes would provide a framework to strengthen domestic institutions, identify potential vulnerabilities, and improve transparency.

    The Insolvency and Creditor/Debtor Rights (ICR) Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ICR ROSCs) are assessments of countries conducted in accordance with a methodology based on the World Bank Principles for Effective Insolvency and Creditors Regimes and the Recommendations of the UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Insolvency. The process of participation, and the production of the report are intended to help spur reform and foster strengthened economic institutions in member countries.

    The Purpose of an ICR ROSC

    The main purpose of an ICR ROSC is to analyze and identify the areas for improvement in the country’s insolvency and credit systems. The ICR ROSC is designed to assess and compare a country’s institutional practices against the internationally recognized standard and, if needed, provide recommendations for improvement in a prioritized methodology. It is not a 'grading' or 'rating' exercise, but rather the ICR ROSC methodology is based on a pluralistic approach, to assess whether the goals of an efficient insolvency system are met and how these goals are achieved.

    Areas Covered by an ICR ROSC

    The ICR ROSC covers the following areas:

    • Creditor rights and enforcement systems.
    • Credit risk management, debt recovery and informal enterprise work out practices.
    • Formal insolvency system (liquidation and reorganization proceedings).
    • Effectiveness of the relevant institutional and regulatory frameworks in implementing laws in this area. 

    View all ROSC Insolvency Assessments on the World Bank's Documents and Reports repository.

    ICR ROSC Methodology

    ICR ROSC assessments are conducted on the basis of the Creditor Rights and Insolvency ROSC Assessment Methodology (2011) developed by the Bank and experts in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (Fund), as well as United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) experts. The ICR ROSC Methodology is based on the ICR Standard, in accordance with the objectives and within the parameters of the joint Bank/Fund initiative on standards and codes. 

    ICR ROSC Participants

    As part of its process, an ICR ROSC requires the input of external legal consultants and internationally recognized experts in the area of insolvency and creditor/debtor rights. Stakeholders from the private and public sector also provide input as members of a steering committee, set up by the requesting government.  

    The IMF’s and the World Bank’s work on standards and codes is part of the efforts to strengthen the international financial architecture that followed the emerging market crises of the 1990s.

    The IMF and the World Bank have recognized international standards in 12 policy areas, which form three broader groups. Of these 12 areas, the IMF focuses on nine:

    (1) Policy Transparency: Standards in these areas have been developed by the IMF.

    • Data Dissemination: IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), Enhanced General Data Dissemination System (e-GDDS), and Special Data Dissemination Standard Plus (SDDS Plus).
    • Fiscal Policy Transparency: The IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Codepart of theIMF's Fiscal Transparency Initiative, is the international standard for disclosure of information about public finances. It is based on four pillars covering the key elements of fiscal transparency: (i) fiscal reporting; (ii) fiscal forecasting and budgeting; (iii) fiscal risk analysis and management; and (iv) resource revenue management.
    • Monetary and Financial Policy Transparency: IMF’s Code of Good Practices on Transparency in Monetary and Financial Policies.

    (2) Financial Sector Regulation and Supervision: Standards in these areas have been developed by specialized standard-setting bodies.

    (3) Institutional and Market Infrastructure: Standards in these areas have been developed by specialized standard setting bodies, with substantive input from the IMF and World Bank:

    Note: The three other areas of focus for the World Bank Group fall under Institutional and Market Infrastructure. They are: