18 August 2014

Africa Urged to Embrace Financial Reporting Standards

Johannesburg — AN industry expert has urged African governments, municipalities and emerging businesses to employ qualified accounting personnel to address perennial challenges associated with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

In an interview with CAJ News Africa, CaseWare Africa Managing Director, Tertia Barret, said Africa had the potential to grow its businesses provided the continent complied with provisions of IFRS, which required disclosure, audit requirements, consistent quality and accuracy.

She said presently, many office bearers dealing with public finance portfolios did not have the relevant accounting skills hence the poor financial outcomes.

"We need qualified people with accounting diplomas and degrees, particularly in the public. There are no relevant skills (accounting) in most municipalities, including SMEs (small and medium enterprises)," said Barret.

She said, as a result, CaseWare Africa was now partnering SMEs, African governments, provincial and municipalities to ensure that they complied with IFRS.

Barret said CaseWare Africa held seminars and conferences to try and bring awareness about the importance of complying with IFRS as well as the full benefits that both SMEs and governments would enjoy.

"Without engaging relevant groups in training, poor financial presentations will always continue to be witnessed. As a result, in our seminars and conferences we target universities, SMEs and govenment," she said.

Barret said apart from addressing lack of skills in the accounting sector, relevant authorities should also address issues on financial mismanagement, acquire right solutions that address relevant problems at the right time, which Caseware Africa always possess.

Concerning poor infrastructural development in many parts of Africa, Barret said many SMEs were unwilling to pay their tax to governments depriving the public sector of funds needed to develop cities and towns of Africa.

She said when SMEs could start understanding the concept of paying tax to the government, then businesses would realise improved infrastructure such as roads, service delivery, health facilities and education, among others.

Barret said it was possible for all governments, provincials, municipalities and SMEs to achieve positive results in their respective areas provided they employed the relevant accounting and financial management people with the required level of technical competence.

She said both the public and private sectors should enforce compliance with all legislation in order to achieve the intended results.

Barret's sentiments come on the heels of the Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu, qualifying South Africa's 22 municipalities and 8 municipal entities out of the 319 audits completed to have achieved clean ('unqualified') audits 'with no findings'.

CaseWare is a leading supplier of software solutions to accountants, auditors and financial professionals worldwide.

Founded in 1988, CaseWare is the dominant provider of mission-critical accounting and auditing software used by domestic and global accounting firms and a leading provider of auditing software to governments, tax authorities and corporations.

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