Chartered Accountants are a very important human resource, without which Financial markets cannot function effectively and efficiently, Rev. Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ghana, has noted.
Rev. Tetteh explained that SEC depended heavily on the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana (ICAG) - as far as financial reporting was concerned - for the regulation of the financial market to achieve the Commission's mandate of protecting investors and the integrity of the market.
He said the relationship between SEC and ICAG was backed by law and cited section 197 (1) (a), section 197 (1) (b) and section 197 (2) of the Securities and Industry Act, 2016 (Act 929).
Furthermore, he said, section 165 of Act 292 imposed a duty on the auditor to report to the Commission when he became aware of a prescribed matter in the performance of his function as an auditor within seven days after becoming aware of the mater.
Rev. Tetteh, who was the Guest speaker at the opening ceremony of the second induction course for newly-qualified Chartered Accountants in the year 2019, in Accra on Thursday, October 3, 2019, commended ICAG for taking time to review the draft Guidelines on registration of auditors and submitting comments to SEC in 2018.
He said the review and the comments contributed enormously to shaping the final draft Guidelines to be issued soon in accordance with section 149 of Act 929 for use in monitoring ICAG-licensed Auditors who would do or did business with the securities industry.
He served notice that after the issuance of the Guidelines, only Auditors registered with the Commission would be allowed to audit licensees or products that were under SEC regulation, and expressed the hope that the Guidelines would augment ICAG's general oversight of audit practice in the country.
Rev. Tetteh also commended ICAG for sanctioning four audit firms for non-compliance with auditing standards during their auditing of seven banks which was placed under receivership in 2017 and 2019 by the Bank of Ghana.
He described the action of ICAG as highly commendable in the effort of weeding out dishonest accountants and promoting the integrity of financial statements and, consequently, the integrity of the financial market.
He advised the inductees to uphold the motto of ICAG "Integrity" in all their dealings by balancing ambition with being content with their remuneration and refrain from fraudulent practices, but do their best all times and in every place, and never exit the room of improvement.
Rev. Tetteh underscored the importance of the public sector to economic growth and national development, and lauded the ICAG for producing large numbers of professional accountants to handle Ghana's public sector financial management system.
He urged inductees who would join the public sector to regularly update their knowledge in the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) and the Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896), among others, as well as their related Regulations, and apply them to promote transparency, accountability and the integrity of the public sector financial system as their contribution to eliminating corruption in Ghana.
On financing options available to firms and other economic agents, Rev. Tetteh challenged the inductees to explore and tap into the capital market for alternative financing, especially medium to long-term instruments, to finance business expansion as well as ensure that their businesses achieved the appropriate finance mix/capital structure for profitable operations.
In his opening remarks, Prof. Kwame Adom-Frimpong, President, ICAG, urged the inductees to keep pace with the implementation process of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) in the course of rendering professional services to their employers and clients.
Prof. Adom-Frimpong also advised the inductees to take advantage of ICAG's Mandatory Continuing Education to update their professional knowledge from time to time.
He emphasized the need to maintain high standards of conduct by exercising due diligence and care in presenting facts and figures to the public, be honest, steadfast and upright in character and never compromise on their integrity and that of the ICAG and, by so doing, constantly enhance the reputation of the profession and that of ICAG.
The two-day course, organized by ICAG, aims to welcome and integrate the newly-qualified accountants into the Accounting profession and prepare them for the world of business.
The induction programme also serves as a professional knowledge management process to create a positive atmosphere and increase the comfort level, and feeling of belonging of the inductees.
Topics being treated under the course include The Chartered Accountants Act, 1963 (Act 170), Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, Personal Branding, Investment in Excellence and Structure of ICAG.
Source: G. D. Zaney, Esq.