The newly elected leadership of the Liberia Institute of Certified Public Accounts (LICPA) has vowed to institute existing policies and adopt new ones that will make the Accounting profession in Liberia more respectable and gain public trust.
The President-Elect, Steven D. Seimavula, and Vice President-Elect, Victor S. Tanwore both winning on white ballots during the Institute’s election on October 14, 2017, said Accounting is a trustworthy profession that builds public trust and helps to uphold national economy, but its practice in Liberia is somehow characterized by lapses.
LICPA has been in existence here in Liberia since 1933 and currently has 83 members, but President-Elect Steven D. Seimavula promised that he will and his coworkers will ensure to increase the membership to a higher number in order to enhance fund raising for the institution.
According to him, government’s subsidy has been the major source of support to LICPA, and if this scenario can change, it will require the collective efforts of both the leadership and members to design strategies that will increase membership of the institution.
Mr. Seimavula said he is targeting about 700 to 800 members for the institution during his administration as president.
He also promised to increase the number of Accounting students at graduate programs at universities in the country and those still pursuing an undergraduate degree, and to establish professional programs that undergraduates will undergo so that upon graduation they will be competent Accountants.
He said the vision to increase the number of Accounting students and establish a professional program is driven from the fact that, though thousands of students graduate every year in Accounting, there is still shortage of professional Accountants.
Mr. Seimavula emphasized that “Accounting programs at the various universities are not uniformed and instructors providing instruction to the students have questionable professional status.”
“The number of professional Accountants correlates with national economic development. When a better and convincing financial statement is provided by the Accountant, it fuels investment because investors are interested in certain things in the financial statement to encourage them invest their money in the economy,” Seimavula noted.
In the absence of competent and qualified Accountants, the newly elected LICPA president said, there can be no quality financial report.
Vice president-elect, Victor S. Tanwone said he will work in close collaboration with the president and members of the Institute to embark on the national government to legislate a bill that will compel a Finance Minister and Comptroller Generals occupying key public and private institutions to be certificated by LICPA and other professional Accounting institutions before serving in those positions.
He said this legislative restriction will make the Accounting profession not only credible and respectable, but will also encourage ethical behavior in the performance of duties of the Finance Ministers and Comptrollers.
“In Ghana and Nigeria, this exists, but not in Liberia. And because such a system is not here, the power of the day can appoint anyone to become Finance Minister and Comptroller, and these people do whatever that pleases them without ethical consciousness,” he added.
Nim’ne Elliott Mombo, a council member to the leadership, was described by his colleagues as a prolific writer whose analogies are motivating.
He said he drafted the first law of LICPA and it became the law guiding the institution today. As a member of the leadership also elected on a white ballot, he said it is his hope to do what is delegated to him and will do the best for the institution and Accounting profession.
The immediate past president of LICPA, Arthur W.B. Fumbah, recalled that the institution was established by law to regulate the practice of Accountancy.
He said, however, there was no proper law governing Accounting practice in Liberia, and as a result foreigners were carrying the money and denying Liberians of what belonged to them.
As required in the new law, he said, all professional Accountants must pass the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) test before being recognized, and this is working well in the country.
About elected leaders
Steven D. Seimavula, president-elect, hails from town called Mano Gleh, Porkpa District, Grand Cape Mount County. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Degree in Accounting from the University of Liberia. He is a Chartered and Certified Accountant, a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) based in the United Kingdom (UK). He is currently a partner at PKF Liberia, a member firm of PKF International.
Before joining PKF Liberia in 2012, he served as country Financial Controller of Ecobank Liberia from where he got seconded to Ecobank Nigeria, the largest affiliate of the Ecobank Group, where he served as head of Performance management in the Department of Finance. Steve, as he is popularly known, also worked with Coopers & Lybrand which later merged with Price Water House to form Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC), as well as Voscon Incorporated (now Baker Tilly Liberia). Steve has also taught at the Stella Maris Polytechnic and the LICPA/ICAG preparatory program.
Victor Tanwone, vice president-elect, is a Chartered Accountant (CA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA), member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG) and the Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA). He served on the Education and Training Committee of the LICPA and actively participated in the review and development of LICPA country specific subjects (Public Sector Accounting, Taxation and Business Law) in order to provide study materials for the Accounting Technician Scheme West Africa (ATSWA) program for participating Liberian students.
He is a Founder and Head Pastor of the Gateway International Church, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GIWU Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization providing Christian Teaching, Logistical (financial and material) support to orphanages within Montserrado and Margibi Counties. He also currently serves as Senior Manager and Head of Internal Audit of the Liberia Airport Authority/Roberts International Airport.
Council member Nim’ne Elliott Mombo, Sr., CPA, MBA, is a dynamic, detail oriented CPA (Maryland, USA), with an MBA in Accounting (George Washington University), and a certificate in Financial Management (Harvard University). He is a top rate professional with broad experience in public and corporate accounting, and the Managing Partner of the Liberian office of a global firm. He has proven analytical, problem-solving and system re-engineering skills for accounting and operations issues, and has excellent written and oral communication skills. He is proficient in US GAAP & US GAAS; and also proficient in IFRS, ISA and INTOSAI. He is Immediate Past President of the Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA).