The necessity of placing professional accountants in key financial management roles across government and business is not being fully embraced in Kenya, according to a new report by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).
Produced jointly with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK), the new report, ‘Drivers of Change and Future Skills in Kenya’ found that despite Kenya’s economy greatly benefitting from professional accountants and the skills and knowledge they provide, demonstrating value remains a challenge for the profession.
Discussing the report findings, Maggie McGhee, director of Professional Insights said, “Kenya’s private sector is dominated by small firms, yet most SMEs choose not to employ the services of an accountant, often opting for individuals that have a very broad spread of skills instead. The greater use of qualified accountants would improve the quality of financial management in SMEs and assist in them achieving much higher rates of growth.”
Demonstrating value also extends to Kenya’s government. A survey by ICPAK found that only 16 of 47 county governments employ qualified accountants, with the rest engaging unqualified accountants.
“Kenya’s government particularly needs the expertise provided by professional accountants in designing tax strategies, and optimising, and managing fluctuations in, tax revenues” continued McGhee. “Government should do more to strengthen its tax base and revenue generation. Professional accountants can play a central role in this, and not just as state employees.
“Kenya is an economic beacon in East Africa, but in global terms the country could, and should, do much better. Corruption remains a serious endemic problem for Kenya, undermining efficiency in both the private and public sectors. Professional accountants are often on the frontline of facing ethical questions in business. Employers across the private and public sector need to work with the accountancy profession to ensure that accountants realise their full potential in their role in Kenya’s economic development.”
Organisations need to recognise the opportunity for Kenya to underline its role as the largest and most dynamic economy in East Africa through upholding the quality of the country’s accountancy profession and financial management.
The report identifies key trends in Kenya by ACCA and ICPAK members through a series of surveys and roundtables. The report considers what these trends mean for professional accountants, what will be expected of them in future and the value of new and existing technical and interpersonal competencies. These trends include the role of accountants in safeguarding private and public sector organisations, while demonstrating the value provided by the accountancy profession