Accountants have been challenged to use their profession to foster economic development in their respective countries across the African continent.
The collective appeal was made by among others, patient Rachel Grimes, online the President of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) during the ongoing 4th African Congress of Accountants that is being held at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
Rachel Grimes said that building a stronger public sector and leveraging on new technologies will be critical in ensuring effective public spending and better financial management.
A recent study conducted by IFAC showed a close relationship between higher percentagse of accountants in the workforce and positive outcomes in Transparency International’s global corruption perception index.
“It (study) revealed that our (accountants) role is better enhanced when we work within a strong government architecture and good governance. But meaningful results will require cross sector collaboration, adoption of international best practices in financial management,” Grimes added.
For the accounting profession to be sustained effectively, Grimes also advocated for attraction of next generation talent.
In regards to technology, she noted that despite the cutting edge innovations, humans still have an analytical role. “In the future, accountants will be the end users of information generated by Artificial Intelligence (AI). They will perform the analysis and professional judgment.”
“As accountants we have to harness the advantages of technology. Disruptive technologies such as block chain will be the turning point for many industries and will provide a platform where the money trail will be more transparent.”
In her remarks, Asmaa Resmouki, the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA) President noted that for the profession to turn around the gross poverty and inequality, Africa must tackle illicit finant flows and strengthen accountability.
“Currently, there are only 126,000 certified accountants in Africa which is still the lowest in the world. Countries with high GDP also represent the highest number of accountants which points to a direct impact of the profession to economic development,” Resmouki said.
The numbers in Uganda have risen over the years since the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) was formed in 1992. Up to 2,400 members are registered with the organization to date.
But Protazio Begumisa, the ICPAU President says the achievement has not been without shortcomings including masqueraders who compromise the ethics of the profession. Begumisa proposed that efforts be put towards adopting a more practical learning curriculum that will meet the changing dynamics in the work place and elimination of corruption.
The conference which is slated to last 4 days was officially opened by President Yoweri Museveni and was also attended by up to 1,200 delegates including former Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.