The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (Icsa) is worried about Zimbabwe's economic challenges, saying these were acting as stumbling blocks to the corporate governance watchdog role of chartered secretaries and accountants in Zimbabwe.
This was said at the Institute of Chartered and Administrators in Zimbabwe (Icsaz) annual conference held in Victoria Falls recently where the professionals were meeting to map out strategies to influence economic recovery.
Icsa director-general Timothy Sheehy, speaking on the sidelines of the conference in Victoria Falls last week, said the economic environment in Zimbabwe was difficult, but emphasised Icsaz was mandated to be a leader in corporate governance.
This comes as the issues of corporate governance have been overlooked in Zimbabwe given the prevailing economic environment.
"What worries us the most is that the institute has a mission to be a leader in good corporate governance.
"Even if you do well and you are in an environment which is troubled, there is a disconnect. This profession and the people within it need to be sensitive to the environment they are working in. The economic environment in Zimbabwe is without question difficult. However, while Zimbabwe is slightly unique compared to the rest of the organisation, it has an inspiring membership which is much more populated by accountants," he said.
Sheehy said although there is a thin line between bad corporate governance and corruption, there is also hope was that these professionals would work tirelessly to expose it.
He said while it is difficult to stop individuals from engaging in corrupt activities, he challenged the Icsaz membership to expose it and prevent it.
"The hope is that good corporate governance will always expose corruption and can prevent it. Well, individuals will always find ways to commit fraud and to be corrupt. Hopefully if you have an overwhelming response you can minimise the opportunities of corruption," he said.
He said while the profession started decades ago, large institutional investors such as pension and sovereign wealth funds were driving the change with worldwide pressure on such funds to ensure sustained growth through good governance having grown over time. He added that social impact, climate change and diversity were issues being raised by today's major international investors with environmental, social and governance issues, as well as risk management and cyber risk, being the current growth topics.
According to Sheehy, the company secretary's role has always been the link between management, the board and shareholders."Now this role was extended to management, the board, shareholders and stakeholders. The chartered secretary and chartered governance professional is even better placed to play a key role in facilitating better communication to shareholders and stakeholders," said Sheehy.
The congress was run under the theme: Chartered Secretaries -- Influencing Economic Successes. Unsustainable costs are forcing most companies to lay-off workers.