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Chartered accountants urged to support financially-challenged SMEs

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institute-of-chartered-accountantsThe Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG), has been tasked to demystify accounting and extend accounting services to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that do not have the capacity to pay, in order to assist them to realize their full potential.

Speaking at the second 2015 Induction Course of the institute, Mrs. Penelope Jones-Mensah Mawuenyega, Managing Partner of Jones-Mensah & Co, a law firm,said that the SME sector was an untapped market for accountants, as with their help SMEs could grow into the multi-national companies that they wanted as clients.

She urged accountants to emulate lawyers’ long tradition of doing pro bono work for people and organizations that could not afford to pay, explaining that most SMEs were struggling with their book-keeping, which prevented them from accessing loans from banks and growing their businesses.

“If the accountant is able to demystify the accounting profession and make their services readily available to some of these SME’s and assist them to realize their full potential and grow into the multi-national companies that we all want as clients, we would all be the better for it,” she stated.

Mrs. Jones-Mensah Mawuenyega also entreated the inductees to value reputation and integrity as it is ‘everything’.

Mr. Seth Terkper, the Minister of Finance, who is also a chartered accountant, urged accountants to show interest in public sector accounting, since the public was looking up to them for opinions on
accounting and reporting on the use of state resources.

In a statement read on his behalf by the Controller and Accountant-General, Mr. Terkper said government had adopted the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), as prescribed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants to improve the quality of financial reporting in the public sector.

“Government plans to transition to accrual IPSAS over a period of five years starting from January 2016,” he stated, adding that government had also launched some financial management reforms to
improve budget execution, accounting, reporting and auditing, anchored on the on-going Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (GIFMIS).

He further requested that the Institute use its expertise to support the implementation of the reforms, by re-invigorating the critical role of accounting and auditing to provide the appropriate mechanisms which would strengthen the accountability framework and ensure prudent financial management.

“In this way, our profession will contribute immensely to the process and enable us to achieve the desired sustainable development,” he stated.

Mr. Terkper noted that although the challenging economic climate spurred by slow growth, especially in emerging and developing economies, and plunging oil and other commodity prices was a challenge that the inductees will face, the greater challenge for them will be how they handle rights and privileges that come with their certification.

He advised them to adhere to the ethics of the accounting profession by playing a watchdog role through protecting and policing against financial malfeasance irrespective of where they find themselves.

Professor Kwame Boasiako Omane-Antwi, President of ICAG, also acknowledged the need for accountants to open up to people and organizations who could not afford their services.

He said the institute as part of its plan for 2014-2016, was championing an initiative that would see retired and other chartered accountants rendering pro-bono accounting services to SMEs and other organizations who need their services.

He stated however that the success or otherwise of the initiative would depend on the willingness of the accountants to give back to society and urged them to participate in the programme when it gets started.

Prof. Omane-Antwi also advised the inductees to embody the slogan of the Institute – Integrity – warning that any professional accountant found culpable, especially in supporting any corrupt
practice in their work would face the full rigours of the disciplinary procedures of the profession.

“You have no choice but to abide by the code of ethics of the accountancy profession,” he said.

Source: GNA

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