This week, the Ministry of Local Government announced that preparations were underway to train at least 500 professional accountants over the next three years. Whereas this target may seem reasonable, it is not enough to address the existing gaps.
Numbers of qualified accountants are still low, a challenge that local institutions have to contend with as they strive to prepare timely financial statements and audit reports that meet international standards.
In almost all its annual reports, the Office of the Auditor General has attributed unaccounted for public finances to lack of requisite accounting skills in public institutions. Quite often it’s not that these institutions have embezzled taxpayers’ money, rather they lack skills to ensure clean books. The same challenge is common among private companies.
While the situation has steadily improved in the recent past, it is a drop in the ocean.
Considering the rate at which the local business landscape is changing, with the numbers of domestic entrepreneurs growing and foreign investors setting up shop, training more accountants must be considered a major priority for the country.
The economy will continue to grow and, therefore, there is need to create a critical mass of skilled personnel to support and sustain this progress.
Indeed, the curricula must always be revised to suit the changing times.