Leaders address public financial management reform in Francophone Africa
Top accountancy experts joined leading development planners in Madagascar last week for the Public Financial Management 'Strengthening Institutions and Accountability' conference.
Public financial management (PFM) reforms across the 18 Francophone Africa countries was the key focus of the summit, building on the pledges made at last year's event in Dakar, Senegal.
Attendees heard that progress has been slow, with the quality of budgeting and financial reporting, and the effectiveness of internal and external auditing and parliamentary oversight, remaining poor in the majority of the affected nations.
The public sector capacity challenge was highlighted as a key issue for future progression and delegates concluded that many more accounting professionals are required to achieve the desired outcomes.
Speaking at the event, IFAC Executive Director, Alta Prinsloo, expressed support for a review of the accountancy profession model in Francophone Africa.
She said: "High-quality public financial reporting supports informed decision making, effective and efficient spending, quality public services, enhanced transparency and accountability, and, ultimately, increased trust in government.
"The demand for accountancy skills necessary to produce high-quality public sector financial reporting is both a public interest obligation, and an opportunity for professional accountancy organizations in Francophone Africa."
The current structure limits membership of professional accountancy organisations in the 18 countries to include only professional accountants in public practice.
ICAS Executive Director of Education Mark Allison MA CA was also in attendance to speak about attracting and retaining high quality accountancy professionals in the public sector.
He said: "ICAS was delighted to contribute experience from a global perspective on the need to have common educational standards across the public and private sectors.
"Highly regarded and internationally transferable qualifications actively contribute to the attractiveness of the public sector as a career, while having educated and respected CAs promoting the sector ensures enhanced trust and confidence for the CA qualification across the world."
The conference was co-hosted by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA), Fédération Internationale des Experts Comptables et Commissaires aux Comptes Francophones (FIDEF), World Bank and the African Development Bank.