Over 1,600 candidates last week sat for certified accounting examinations for December 2019, a step forward as the country seeks to increase the number of qualified professionals in the sector.
According to Jean Marie Muhire, the Director of Education Development Services at the Institute of Certified Accountants of Rwanda (ICPAR), 1355 candidates had enrolled for Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examinations while 353 candidates sat for Certified Accounting Technician (CAT).
The 15th Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) examinations were conducted from 2nd to 6th December 2019.
The first professional examinations were conducted in December 2012.
This aims at producing a critical mass of qualified professional accountants in Rwanda that will be able to compete nationally, regionally and globally. This is at a time when there is still a shortage of accountants in Rwanda which could jeopardise financial management.
The 15th CPA and CAT examinations were being conducted in six Examinations Centers namely Kigali Independent University (ULK), University of Rwanda - Huye campus (UR-Huye), University of Kibungo (UNIK), University of Rwanda Rusizi Campus, University of Rwanda Nyagatare Campus and University of Kigali (UoK) Musanze Campus.
Muhire said that there has been an increase of 6.9 per cent candidates compared to June 2019 registration.
Jean Marie Muhire, the Director of Education Development Services, said 1355 candidates will sit for Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examinations while 353 candidates will sit for and Certified Accounting Technician exams.
The Government of Rwanda, through implementing the Public Financial Management Learning and Development (L&D) Strategy (Jan 2018), envisages a critical mass of around 7,387 qualified PFM personnel within the next fifteen 15 years.
This would mean having at least 2,462 certified accountants within five years.
The number could be bigger if we include other financial services staff needed in the private sector.
Majority of them are Certified Public Accountants and Certified Accounting Technicians working across various domains such as internal and external auditing, finance and accounting; budgeting and revenue management.
So far students who have fully completed CPA and CAT programs are 75 and 140 respectively.
However, there is still a need to increase enrollment of new students into the profession, he said.
ICPAR has therefore embarked on sensitization and collaboration with universities, colleges, TVET schools, polytechnics to increase students' enrolment.
A 2018 Public Finance Management Learning and Development Strategy by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning showed that over 7,000 public employees working in different services including budgeting, procurement, accounting, economics and other positions related to finance, lacked professional skills.
In Mauritius, for every 525 people in the country, one is a professional accountant; in the UK, for every 222 people one is an accountant; in Australia, it is one in every 160 people; in Singapore it is one in 190 people.
In Rwanda as of 2017, Institute of Certified Public Accountants (ICPAR) statistics showed that for every 30,250, people one is a professional accountant. The target is to have at least one the 5000 in a decade or so.