Accountants should be returning officers for 2016 elections

The President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants –Ghana (ICAG), Professor Kwame Omane-Antwi has spurred Chartered Accountants (CAs) on to avail themselves as returning officers for the 2016 general elections.

He said with “integrity” as the motto of the ICAG, the involvement of its members to participate in the election process could be of great service to the country, describing KPMG’s audit of the 2012 elections pink sheets as a “shining example” worth emulating.

Speaking at the opening of the 2015 Accountants’ Conference of the (ICAG) in Cape Coast on Tuesday, Prof. Omane-Antwi urged CAs to “Think About it”, since “It would be a worthwhile social responsibility.”

The two day conference is on the theme “Transforming the Accountancy Profession in this era of High Technology”.

Prof. Omane-Antwi urged CAs to maintain their integrity, which he said, comprised personal convictions, stated values, operational values and ethical principles and set example for the public in order to bridge the public expectation gap.

“This is the time to prove to the citizens of Ghana the real value of the chartered accountant brand” he stated.

Touching on the theme, he said technology innovations had introduced concepts that had radically changed the way accounting procedures used to be done and had also automated all the internal functions and processes of Organisations.

Prof. Omane-Antwi said the innovations had also transformed the role of a CA into a decision-maker and an important player in the tactics and strategic decision-making floors of organizations.

He said the adoption of the Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) launched last year through the collaboration between the ICAG, the Ministry of Finance and the Accountant- General’s Department, would soon be implemented at all relevant Ministries, Department and Agencies.

He recommended the extension of the IPSAS to the district level where there had been numerous reports of financial maladministration, describing the IPSAS as the global revolution in the response to calls for Government financial accountability and transparency.

He said the IPSAS and the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) was the best way to control and account for Government business.

“It is the surest way to strengthen public finance and fiscal discipline, by improving budget transparency, cleaning up and controlling the payroll and acting as a check on public servants.”, he stated.

The Central Regional Minister, Mr. Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, acknowledged the significant role technology played in the work of an accountant but advised them not to lose touch with the manual methods of work since overreliance on computers had its disadvantages.

He stressed the need for managers to be exposed to some basic accounting so that they would understand, appreciate and explain accounts brought before them better, adding that, if managers were naïve, they could not detect corruption under their watch.

He urged the ICAG to check the infiltration of unqualified accountants and also charged CAs to protect their image at all times.

The Paramount Chief of the Oguaa Traditional Area, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, who is also a chartered accountant, expressed worry about the infiltration of unqualified persons parading themselves as accountants and denting the image of the profession.

He said because of the activities of these persons, accountants were almost always accused of being the perpetrators and beneficiaries of the numerous corruption scandals, urging qualified accountants to uphold integrity and safeguard the image of the profession. GNA

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