Corruption and fraud among accountants has taken a toll on different organizations and companies which has greatly affected the strength and economic development of developing countries like Uganda.
Experts believe that employing professionals is crucial for sound financial management because accountants are regulated.
Regulated professional accountants are subject to sanctions and disciplinary measures, which involve withdrawing an accounting practicing certificate/dismissal of the person in case of fraudulent actions.
Speaking during the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) 2021 Financial Reporting (FiRe) Awards which took place at Skyz Hotel, Naguru Kampala recently, Othieno Mayende, President of the institute, urged all accountants to uphold professional ethics since it is the cornerstone of accountancy profession.
He said professional ethics is key for the growth of a strong nation and the integrity of its people, noting that theft and the misuse of public resources are the reason that many nations lag behind.
“We must guard ourselves against these vices by upholding the values of professionalism. Accountants serve in the public interest. Certified public accounts are expected to have integrity, be objective and refrain from actions which discredit the profession,” said Mayende.
As the regulator for accountancy, he said the institute is committed to promoting professionalism, by enforcing discipline among its members.
ICPAU is a professional accountancy organization established by an Act of Parliament to regulate and maintain the standard of accountancy in Uganda. It is also mandated to regulate the conduct of all professional accountants in the country.
Mayende appealed to the informal sector and small enterprises to employ part-time accountants, if they can’t afford to employ them full-time.
According to Mayende, irrespective of the business size, Certified Public Accountants (CPA) are required for transparency and proper accountability, which is the backbone of business development.
Research, however, shows that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) neglect the services of accountants citing the high costs involved. Such businesses die at the infancy stage.
The chairperson, FiRe Awards Committee, Stephen Ineget, said that the major obstacle is that many small and medium companies are reluctant to access accounting facilities.
He said there was increased usage and reference to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and stronger commitment to the sustainability agenda. He said many entities were able to provide useful disclosure on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
National Security Social Fund (NSSF) was awarded as the overall winners in the public sector, Stanbic Bank was awarded as the winners of the sustainability reporting category as well as Corporate Governance Reporting Award, Centenary Bank was awarded for the communication and presentation and Franciscan Investment Cooperative Society won the most improved report award, among other awards.
FiRe Awards were introduced in 2011 with the overall aim of promoting best practices in financial reporting in complying with international financial reporting standards.