World Bank Country Manager for Liberia Madam IngunaDobraja has challenge the Liberia Institute of Certified Public Accountants to further enhance the accounting profession in the country. Madam Dobraja first challenged to grow noting that LICPA growth and its members’ growth can breed healthy competition at both local and international levels.
She also noted that growth is much needed to provide skills to support the private sector in fulfilling its expectations under the Agenda for Transformation.
Delivering the keynote Address recently at the Inaugural Ceremony of newly elected officials of LICPA Madam Dobraja also called on the professional body to diversify its operation as there is an urgent need to train qualified women accountants in Liberia.
She also urged LICPA to open up for competition and consider relaxing restrictions on the local market for greater participation by international firms.
She said “This will support knowledge transfer and help develop the members of the profession to meet international competition in Liberia and beyond.”
The World Bank Country Manager said “As we usher in new leadership at the Institute, it is my sincere hope that the accomplishments so far will be further deepened and the role of accounting further enhanced. I also hope that new enabling initiatives taken by them in the realization of the next generation of reforms at the institute will be fruitful.”
Madam Dobraja said a country coming out of the civil war, Liberia was faced with weak audit and financial reporting and regulation regime, as well as inadequate avenues for professional training of accountants.
She said “For example, LICPA had just about 20 members even in 2012. As the nation transitions from ‘post-conflict’ to rebuilding the foundations for economic growth and long term development, the need to have a strong national professional body like LICPA cannot be over-emphasized.”
She told the bgathering that a vibrant LICPA is indispensable for the rebuilding of Liberia’s institutional and regulatory infrastructure for auditing and financial reporting.
She said “The World Bank is pleased to have been a partner with the Government of Liberia and the leadership of the LICPA in identifying this need and working jointly to chart a new path for the Institute in the developmental process.
Madam Dobraja said “Pursuing this path was challenging for the Institute and World Bank, considering limited resources and lack of full time staff at the LICPA.
However she said in spite of the challenges, LICPA has demonstrated a strong commitment to pursue this path of reforms, essential in making it a viable, relevant and enviable public accounting organization (PAO) in the sub-region.
The World Bank Official said her institution did not relent but provided technical and financial support to LICPA (between 2011 -2014)
She noted that the Bank’s assistance has led to institutional transformation of LICPA through the preparation of a strategic development action plan (DAP) with policy recommendations, including a governance and management structure that meets the requirements of international best practice.
She also stressed that this also led to the implementation of International Accounting and Auditing Standards and training through the provision of technical assistance for the dissemination of and training the trainers on the said standards, with the aim of developing a pool of competent technicians and professionals.
The World Bank country head also noted that the bank’s intervention ensure the professionalization of the accountancy profession through the provision of technical assistance for the implementation and upgrade of the ABWA’s Accounting Technicians Scheme in West Africa (ATSWA) examination to a full professional examination.
She disclosed that this includes the development of training materials, training of tutors and the development of a Public Financial Management (PFM) professional accreditation scheme as a variant of the professional examination, including short-term training for a number of adjunct lecturers of the University of Liberia.
“A twinning partnership arrangement with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ghana (ICAG) was agreed to help implement these reforms. The twinning arrangement was successfully concluded in 2014,” She disclosed.
Taking a look at LICPA today, the World bank official said with the support from the World Bank, the collective efforts have yielded so much for the LICPA and the accountancy profession in Liberia.