Letebele Urges Accountants to Volunteer

| April 28, 2015

The auditor general, Ms Pulane Letebele, has encouraged accountants to volunteer and provide accounting services to upcoming businesses, especially those owned by the youth.

Giving a keynote address at the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) annual dinner dance, Ms Letebele urged accountants to intensify their efforts in educating the public, especially business people in the informal sector, on the importance of accounting and maintenance of proper accounting records in the sustainability of business.

“We can even help them understand concepts as basic as the fact that income does not equal profit. Properly run businesses should generate growth which in turn should translate into employment creation and wealth creation,” she added.

All efforts in this regard, she said would be rendered fruitless if governance structures were not robust. Good governance, the Auditor General said was at the heart of the development agenda and was crucial to the goal of elimination of extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity in a sustainable way and was also a key ingredient for continued peace and tranquility.”

Accountants, she said also needed to place a lot of emphasis on ensuring that corruption and economic crimes did not take root and were nipped in the bud as they could destroy the economy and bring it to its knees.

Corruption and economic crimes, if not addressed, Ms Letebele said could completely impact negatively on the efforts made in the past in achieving the ideas of the Millennium Development Goals and Vision 2016, which speak to prosperity for all and reduction of the disparity between the rich and poor.

“Needless to say there must also be proportionate investment in health, education, utilities and infrastructure. Care must also be taken to ensure that the environment is well taken care of for the future generations,” she added.

Furthermore, the Auditor General emphasised that accountants had greater role to play in the economy than they had done in the past.

As accountants, she said, “we have largely left the role of managing the economy to economists and other technocrats. I wish to suggest that we need to play both a more active and proactive role in this respect.”

When something goes wrong and predictions were not as expected, she said economists normally bore the brunt of the blame, “but as accountants we are now under closer scrutiny and would be called upon to take more responsibility for the financial information that we give to various decision makers and stakeholders.”

Ms Letebele stressed that accountants also had a duty to provide accurate information, but were seldom taken to task when such information was not correct. Therefore, to ensure the integrity of the financial systems in the country, BICA and Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA) had to enhance their watchdog roles, she added.

Both government and the private sector accountants, the Auditor General said should know how accurate were figures of shortfalls in revenue, what happens when there were shortfalls, what happens to surpluses or profits and whether they were properly invested.

She said they should also have a say in the policies governing the country and organisations, know how these impacted financial results and ensure they do not risk being in non-compliance with standards.

Through the Thematic Working Groups (TWGs), Ms Letebele said government had introduced a multi-prolonged organisational approach to planning and financing national development that were result focused and responsive to the needs of citizens.

This, she said brought together various policy instruments which in combination, could generate performance information, leading to budgets which were performed-based, as opposed to activity-based, and thus, connected government units.

The vision council with representatives from all sectors, she said had also provided an opportunity for meaningful contribution to development and a results-based approach to management of public resources.

Therefore, she said accountants need to be represented.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: General

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