ACOA 2015: Accountants ‘must influence policy across Africa’

12 May 15

Accountants across Africa need to move out of their offices and engage with governments and politicians, the Africa Congress of Accountants has been told.

In a panel discussion on partnering for results, Amos Gagar, who recently retired as a deputy finance director with Shell in Nigeria, said professional accountants needed to act as advocates for the strengthening of both formal and informal institutions.

‘I see us a quiet … we need to be strong advocates on governance, transparency and pro-business policies,’ he said.

Patrick Ngumi, chief executive of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya, questioned how many accountants were in parliament or the senate and suggested it would be good to get more finance professionals into positions of political leadership.

Accountancy is ‘not just about debits and credits’, he argued. The profession needed to engage with government.

‘The agenda for Africa and Kenya cannot be achieved unless professional accountants come forward.’

Shaheed Daniels, chief executive of the South African Institute of Professional Accountants, agreed that accountants have a key role to play in the development of the African continent, not just in capital markets but also in small- and medium-sized enterprises and in the public sector.

‘As professional accountants we need to become the voice of reason.’

Summing up the session, chair Vickson Ncube, chief executive of the Pan African Federation of Accountants, said: ‘The profession has the knowledge. We need to move away from our offices [and] influence policies to the benefit of our own people.’

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