The Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) says the country is still experiencing a shortage of trained chartered citizens’ accountants. This has led to some companies being forced to import more from outside the country.
BICA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Verily Molatedi said during a press conference of the upcoming BICA biennial conference that their database currently has 1119 chartered accountants out of which only 448 are citizens. Molatedi said unregistered ones are liable to fine of up P500 000 and 10years imprisonment or both.
Molatedi stated that there has been a concern about unregistered accountants, which mar the reputation of the profession- as well as having a detrimental effect on the organisations that employ their services.
“This is the primary reason why the Act was instated, and why it is imperative for practicing accountants to register with BICA,” she stated.
Molatedi believes that in order to maintain the principle of public interest protection, ithas been decided that significant penalties will be levied on those who choose not to register. She added that the penalty regime is severe to serve as a deterrent.
She further spoke of the Act which she said it also established the Botswana Professional Accountancy Qualification, benchmarked against the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Molatedi stated that the qualification was launched at the end of April 2011, with its first intake of students in July 2011, adding that to date, students continue to enrol at accredited institutions in the country.
“Our aim is to be the leading voice in Botswana on issues facing those in our profession, as well as providing a platform through which we can collaboratively seek solutions to challenges facing our economy as a whole,” said Molatedi.
Meanwhile, BICA President Rudi Binedell said the upcoming BICA Biennial conference 2016 from the 11th-12th August will this year be held under the theme ‘Leading, Building and Innovating in Turbulent Times’. He stated that in these trying economic times, it is now more than ever that the conference theme is relevant.
He further said that through this conference they aim to set the agenda as a professional body that promotes the observance of standards and codes, including ethical behaviour, as advocated for by both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“These are believed to promote accountability and transparency in a country and are globally recognized to be essential prerequisites for the attraction of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI),” said Binedell.
He is of the view that BICA then has an obligation to the profession, the public and the economy to convene these thought provoking events for industry players to come together and find long term solutions to the challenges bedevilling the economy.
BICA Vice President and Acting Chairperson Gosego Motsamai stated that the International Biennial Conference will have an array of speakers who are experts in their respective fields will deliver insightful presentations to an anticipated 250 delegates.
“The target audience for the conference includes; BICA members and non-members, trainee accountants, tax consultants, finance directors, finance managers, auditors and financial controllers,” said Motsamai.
She also stated that entrepreneurs, managers, economists and other interested parties will also find value in attending because they have a diverse array of topics to present.