West Africa: Accountants Urged to Work in the Interest of the Public - As Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa Selects Liberia for the Holding of Its Next Congress

Monrovia — A three-day Council meeting organized by the Liberia Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA) and the Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa (ABWA) aimed at advancing the accounting profession in the sub-region has ended in Margibi County, with a call on accountants to carry on their assigned tasks and responsibilities in the interest of the public and attract investment opportunities in their respective countries.

It can be recalled that LICPA was unanimously endorsed by the ABWA Governing Council at the 2019 Banjul Congress to host the 88th Council meeting of the body from January 6-8, 2021.

The Council's meeting took place at the Farmington Hotel in Margibi County, outside Monrovia

Speaking at the climax of the meeting, ABWA President, Mrs. Dame Onome Joy Adewuyi, disclosed that the meeting was intended to assess LICPA's preparedness to host the upcoming ABWA congress expected to take place in August 2022.

Mrs. Adewuyi is also the 56TH President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

"We are here to participate in the council meeting that is being hosted on behalf of ABWA by the Liberian Institute. We are here to come and see how the Liberian Institute is preparing for a bigger assignment that the Council of ABWA has given to them. That assignment is that, they (LICPA) will be privileged to host the second edition of the ECOWAS ABWA Congress".

She pointed out that the Congress is hosted once after every two years for all professional accountancy organizations who are members of ABWA in the West African sub-region.

She added that for a country or organization to win the right to host such an event, issues of infrastructure, travel arrangements, security and the technical aspects of the Congress will have to be looked at critically.

"We are happy to say that with the efforts of the President of the Liberian Institute; they were able to get the approval at the Council meeting yesterday".

Mrs. Adewuyi stated that ABWA remains concerned about the standards being used by its members to promote the accounting profession in the region.

She noted that all members of the Association are expected to run their various institutions on par with other international bodies ABWA is a part of.

"We have concerns for our member bodies. We also look at how they are following the interest of the accounting profession in their areas and also the capacity building and the objectives. That is why we have congresses where they come to share ideas, network and see how best they can help each other grow in the accountancy profession".

She stressed the need for Independent Accountants to always protect and promote the interest of the public and ensure worth of the monies of foreign investors coming into West African countries to invest.

"Of course we have a major role of advocacy to make sure that whatever we do as leaders in the economy will ensure that things we do are in the public interest. People that come to invest, we are supposed to be certifying the accounting results or the performances of the investment or the companies they have invested in. So, we are there to give independent opinions to reassure those investors that their monies are safe or they have used the monies for the purposes which they put their monies in those companies. We are there to make sure that the public is protected".

For his part, the President of LICPA, Victor Tanwone, disclosed that Liberia and its citizens will reap multiple benefits, including economic and capacity building as a result of the country's selection for the holding of the second ABWA Congress.

"The Congress coming to Liberia, I believe that we will achieve a lot of things. At the end of the Congress, a paper that will contain recommendations will be developed not only on the economy, but how governance can be improved. Liberia will gain a lot from this relationship".

ABWA is the regional organization for the Accountancy Profession in West Africa which was founded in 1982. Registered as a body corporate 1994, in Nigeria its corporate headquarters is located in Abuja. It is a non-profit making, non-governmental regional association and is one of the six acknowledged accountancy groupings recognized by international federation of accountants (IFAC).

It mission is to provide leadership in the development, enhancement and strengthening of the accountancy profession in West Africa to enable the profession provide service of consistently high quality in the public interest and contribute to the development and sustainable growth of the economies of the sub-region; strengthens the accountancy profession in member countries as well as help to enhance technical competence and ethical standards of members for effective service delivery by adopting global best practices in the public interest ,as well as contribute economic development of member countries.

ABWA helps to develop and enhance accountancy profession in West Africa, align its strategies with global best practices and thereby improve governance, eliminating waste and corruption, reduce poverty and enhance the standards of living of the citizenry, and provide for the development of professional ethics and standards in member-bodies and act as the center for dissemination of information on accounting standards and development of accountancy practices in West Africa

As enshrined in Section 7 of its act, the overarching objectives of LICPA are to represent, promote and regulate the accountancy profession in Liberia, in the public interest.

To accomplish these overarching objectives the operational activities of the Institute include: set, monitor and enforce accounting, auditing, other assurance, education, ethics and other professional standards of general and specific application in Liberia; license qualified individuals and firms to engage in public accounting in Liberia; and supervise the conduct of all persons, firms and individuals, who engage in public accountancy in Liberia.

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