The Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) has expressed concern over people who work in the accounting profession with fake qualifications. The Institute is embarking on efforts to sensitise the public on its Act.
BICA Director-Training and Professional Development, Nametso Laletsang, explained during the Association’s Breakfast Session, on Monday morning that they received tips through whistle blowers that there were many who were contravening the Accountants Act.
Journalists enquired on whether any individuals have been prosecuted for contravening the said Accountants Act number 12, Section 30; by practising as Accountants without having registered as dictated by the Act. A fine not exceeding P500 000 or imprisonment term not exceeding 10 years or both is punishment for this misdemeanour. Another question was whether it was individuals who should be punished or their employers.
Responding to the enquiries, Laletsang highlighted that their focus is on the individuals and not their employers as they have met with employers who have since taken heed of BICA’s role in the regulations of accountants’ affairs. They have as BICA sought legal advice as they engaged magistrates, judges, lawyers and Attorney General so that by the time they start taking action they would not risk being sued. She pointed out the fact that their focus is only in their members while non-members are closed out.
The institution has been in existence since 1990 after the Accountant Act of 1988. It was repealed by the Act of Parliament in 2010; with the mandate of providing registration of accountants in all branches of accountancy professions, thus protecting the public interest.
The act (Section31) should also register certified auditors. Under this every professional accountant who intends to practice as an auditor. Under it also, every firm that provides or intends to provide professional accountancy should be registered.
On qualifications, BICA Public Relations and Marketing Manager Oupa Gaofisi explained that entry requirements included AAT graduate, any University degree, ACCA stdents.
“BICA students undergo 450 days of technical work experience. Upon completion, BICA graduates are employment ready at supervisory level,” he said.