Certified public accountants practicing in Liberia will soon be on par with their colleagues in terms of standards as Liberia stands to benefit if regulations one and two of the Liberia Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA) are adopted.
According to the LICPA’s Executive Director, Eudora Blay-Pritchard, when the regulations are finalized, it will foster and promote comparability and harmonization of financial statements across different jurisdiction, ensure transparency in financial reporting and increase economic activities in Liberia, among others.
She said the LICPA mandate is to set standards, license accounting and assurance practitioners, regulate the accountancy profession in Liberia and also to build capacity aimed at building a strong and vibrant accounting sector which are also protected in the regulations.
Madam Blay-Pritchard told participants at a one day public hearing intended to begin the process of validating the regulations issued by the governing council of the LICPA that discussions gathered from the hearing will set the pace to how standards set could regulate the accounting profession in Liberia, taking into consideration the objectives and the anticipated outcomes.
The hearing discussed regulations one section 7, 8 and 24 that deals with professional standards which when finalized will compel the accounting standards to be followed in Liberia to that issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) based in London.
The standards shall be in two categories which include the full International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the IFRS for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and that both shall be required for the preparation and presentation of the general-purpose financial statementsof any and every business entity in the country.
Regulation two which is primarily on hiring and working for foreign firms considers registration of foreign firms, signing of agreements, signing of reports, residence and work permits, taxation, collaboration within an international network of accounting firm, Liberian operation of a foreign accounting firm, special rule for citizens of Liberia and inspections, among other things.
Sharing his legal knowledge about how the documents should be, so that it does not be subject to interpretation in the future, the Chairperson of the Law Reform Commission, Jallah Babu, said all regulations made must be in consonance with the law and urged the drafters not to lose track of ensuring that the regulations are equally adaptable for the Liberian standards and reality.
Cllr. Babu whose presentation generated so many questions from participants as well as other panelists serving as a basis for the discussion said Liberia is known for following accounting standards from the United States of American and not the IASB or the IFRS therefore that every provision should be made applicable to Liberia.
Cllr. Babu further said even though in Liberia there is the receptive statue which provides where there are no laws that address particular issues under the Liberian jurisdiction, they can revert to common law and if they should now revert to law in England, it should be made clear that it should be applicable to processes in Liberia.
He hailed the governing council for issuing the said regulations but observed that it is a little over ambitious while regulation two carries penalties that are contrary to that of the Act that created the LICPA.
The astute law professor wondered why deans and instructional members of accounting departments in the various universities in the country were not present at the hearing when the discussion also surrounded the educational sector.