Even though lots of Liberian students study Accounting at various universities, the president of the Liberia Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA), Steven D. Seimavula, says a decline in Professional Accounting Technicians is worrisome.
Professional Accounting Technicians are those who have completed specialized training in Accounting and are able to carry out critical analysis and problem solving.
Though he did not give any statistical data about where Liberia stands with the number of professional Accounting Technicians in the country, at a press conference yesterday in Monrovia, Mr. Seimavula said there are not many professional Accountants in Liberia, and the few that are present are of retirement age, which he says indicates a bleak future for the profession and its impact on the economy.
Seimavula said contrary to the public view that the Accounting profession is just about numbers, it is a professional career that prepares people to not only to take record of financial activities or prepare and balance financial records, but to detect financial malpractices that have the propensity to break down an institution and even the country at large.
He said: “The Internal Auditing Agency (IAA), the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) are major public institutions that heavily rely on the expertise of Accountants to operate, and therefore, it is important that the government gives attention to training of young Accountants at a professional level to replace those aged technicians who are already on their way out.”
At the LICPA training program, Mr. Seimavula said that students could not afford the cost to the tone of US$225, something which compelled the institute to open its doors to the public.
This decision, according to him, led students to flood the training program, with 750 now registered to study Business Law, Basic Accounting Processes and Systems, Communications Skills and Economics.
This flow of students, therefore, has caused the institute to hire additional teachers, thereby imposing another financial burden.
It is because of this, Seimavula said, they need support from the national government to augment their budget to a higher amount than the US$16,000 LICPA receives.
LICPA is also set to carry out a number of events beginning August 6.
According to Mr. Seimavula, LICPA will be hosting the Association of Accountancy Body of West Africa (ABWA), and at the same time, launch a study on Liberian Taxation, Business Law and Public Sector Accounting.
The books are referred to as “Accounting Technicians Scheme for West Africa (ATSWA),” and they contain rich information about accountancy in Liberia.
He said other West African countries under ATSWA have their own packs that students learn in relation to their accounting system, which accordingly works well with students in those countries.
Seimavula said that the books will help students to understand the accounting system in the country and they will perform better than they should when learning about systems of other countries.
The upcoming meeting in Monrovia is a fulfillment of Mr. Seimavula’s promise to connect Liberia with accounting organizations of West Africa.