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ACCA head: Role for accountants in stabilising economies
As new incidents of financial impropriety in government and corporate sectors around the world become public, reputable finance professionals will have an even greater role in stabilising the global world economy, Brenda Lee Tang, head of the Association of Chartered Certified Accounts (ACCA) Caribbean, said. She said as corrupt professionals use more complicated systems to cover up wrongdoings, accountants must work with attorneys and other professionals to establish accountability and probity in their own practices.
“The finance professionals of the 21st century exist to deliver solutions and the finance professional’s ability to adapt and manage risk makes us an important part of the economic jigsaw. ACCA members, particularly those in senior positions are being called upon all over the world to strengthen financial infrastructures and to help business large and small grow and thrive,” she told the T&T Guardian.
“No matter where our members work or what they do, what unites them is the commitment to the ACCA values, their commitment to providing value for the public and business and their commitment to the reputation of ACCA.” Lee Tang said for decades ACCA veterans have worked diligently and deliberately to ensure the organisation’s reputation was above scrutiny and to create opportunities for new members.
This, she said, means making sure industry-certified professionals work according to the association’s core values. Many ACCA members also serve as mentors for young accountants, enabling them to have a successful career. More critically, she said, those who share their knowledge must also set a moral and ethical compass for young finance professionals to ensure a baton of excellence is passed for the future.
This is crucial, said Lee Tang, because the role of the accountant in the next few years will be crucial to dynamic and stable growth.
“Accountants are committed to bringing integrity to public life. They are trained to provide strategic insight and practical knowledge. If you’re looking for examples of how the accountancy profession delivers value for business, then the global financial crisis is a good place to start. For the past few years, with the markets and businesses going through economic and financial uncertainty, businesses have relied on accountants and finance professionals more than ever before.
“Even where economic circumstances have been relatively benign, we’ve seen the profession grow in stature. The concept of public value means the delivery of services that defend and grow public resources, from financial resources through to environmental or human capital.
“For accountants, this means providing advice that leads to sustainable business growth and the pursuit of new, ethical opportunities. It means stepping in to make a positive difference to public life, rather than acting for purely commercial reasons. In this way, accountants can play a key role in business. They can help balance risks and rewards. They can help businesses create value in a sustainable way that benefits everyone.”
The challenges that confront these professionals did not escape Lee Tang. She is optimistic that once finance professionals embrace the organisation’s code of conduct and live it, those challenges can be converted into opportunities to develop client businesses, as well as themselves.
Lee Tang said the ACCA, as part of its own strengthening, is working in partnership with a range of entities to develop the accountancy profession through qualification and competencies, so that it can continue to provide the best possible services for business, the public sector and the wider society. She said these partnerships will be critical in helping to ensure that best practice in financial management and transparency are adopted across the world in all sectors.
“Over the next financial year, the Caribbean office will launch a series of programmes to include the legal fraternity and other professional bodies. This is testament to our own promise to ensure greater synergies amongst professionals. At no time has the blurring of professional roles and responsibilities between accountants and other professions, primarily attorneys and lawyers in practice, been more prevalent. We are equally bound by codes of governance and ethics and have a duty to comply with legislation as regards the handling of client monies, as well as the FIC provision of compliance,” Lee Tang said.
“We aim to connect our professions and seek opportunities for greater collaboration and mutual support. In this way, we can contribute meaningfully to the strengthening of the professional network locally and ultimately in the region, the benefits of which will undoubtedly redound to our professions and by extension the wider society. Furthermore, in order to enhance the standing of the ACCA and FCCA designation, we are developing a world-class research and insights programme which looks at issues of prime importance to the profession, to employers and to the economy.”
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