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Training and ethics are integral to the accounting profession

By Standard Reporter | November 30th 2021
By Standard Reporter | November 30th 2021

Head of ACCA Kenya and Tanzania Steve Obuogo [Courtesy]

The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya recently proposed a Sh10 million fine for its members involved in fraudulent deals. They argued that accountants play a key role in public service and should, therefore, uphold high standards in dispensing their duties. Financial Standard spoke with the Head of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in Kenya and Tanzania, Steve Obuogo, on the issue of integrity in the profession and other industrywide issues.

Just how big is the ACCA movement?

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is a global qualification and membership body. That implies that students do the ACCA qualifications to become members of the body. We are a thriving community of 236,000 members globally, a community of more than 500,000 students spread across 178 countries. In Africa, we have a footprint in 12 African countries, but we support students and members in 43 different countries on the continent. The qualification is unmatched because it speaks to technology, it speaks to industry strength and it speaks to what happens at the workplace.

How relevant is the ACCA qualification today?

The ACCA qualification fits anyone with an ambition of a career in finance, accounting or management. All our papers are based on in-depth research as well as engagement with the industry. Before any exam is set, we bring together members of academia, our employer networks and those in research in a particular subject area. Therefore, we ensure that the paper speaks to the latest development in a particular area, the industry needs and also to the future trends.

How has ACCA impacted the accountancy profession in Kenya?

ACCA has been actively involved in the accounting and finance space by way of research and supporting higher education through doing employability and career talks. We support students aspiring to join the accounting and finance field by ensuring they understand what the industry needs and what is expected of them so that we have the right blend of professionals.

How does ACCA support continuous learning among professionals?

We have a number of short courses and programmes that professionals in accounting and finance can do to enhance their competencies. We have self-administered courses in public finance management, international public accounting standards, business valuation, digital innovation for finance and ethics and professionals skills, among others. Continuous learning within the accounting and finance space is something that we give priority to as ACCA.

How do you compare the accountancy profession in Kenya to the region?

The accountancy profession in Kenya is more established given that the national body for accountancy has been in existence for many years. More than the counterparts in the region. Kenya also has more qualified professional accountants and finance practitioners than the other countries in East Africa. Kenya and Tanzania have a lot in common. There is room for collaboration between the professionals in the two countries.

How do you deal with rogue accountants implicated in corruption?

ACCA regulates all its members. We have a disciplinary framework and disciplinary committees. We have also provided for a whistleblowing policy and any member of the public is allowed to report an ACCA member involved in any unethical act. We have embedded ethics within the ACCA qualification. Any qualified member has to take an ethics and professional skills module.

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