Accounting ExpertSpeak: ACCA accountants in demand in Mauritius
AfricaMoney spoke to Madhvi-Ramdin Clark, Head of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Mauritius, on how professional accountants certified by the ACCA are sought after not only by the financial services sector but also by other enterprises in the Mauritian economy. (Image: Company)
Madhvi-Ramdin Clark, Head of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Mauritius, spoke to AfricaMoney on how ACCA members, who make up a majority of the 2,900 professional accounts in Mauritius, are in high demand in the booming island economy. She noted that accountants certified by ACCA are sought after not only by the financial services sector but also by other enterprises in the Mauritian economy.
Edited excerpts from an exclusive interview:
How many ACCA members does Mauritius boast and what are the challenges that professional accountants are facing in the current economic context?
In Mauritius there about 2,700 ACCA members. So, of the total of about 2,900 professional accountants in Mauritius, our members do make up a majority of them.
In terms of challenges, our professionals need to keep track of the changes occurring in the financial sector — locally, regionally and globally — in order to make sure that they can adapt to the changes, respond to them and deliver despite a constantly evolving environment so as to ensure that their enterprise remain competitive.
Mauritius currently boasts one of the highest numbers of accountants registered with ACCA in Sub Saharan Africa. According to you, what are the prospects of ACCA members in Mauritius?
Indeed, we have the highest number of professional accountants and our accountants are still in demand. Every week we receive requests from employers asking us to refer accountants who are looking for jobs. Our accountants are very sought after and, with the island economy on a constant growth curve, they are not only in demand in the financial services sector but also in other areas of economic activity. Now, this is not only from a Mauritian context, which is a small island where the economy is still growing, but also at a regional level that our accountants are very much in demand, especially human resources from Mauritius.
Now, in Africa, countries are developing and the backbone of any economic development relies on the availability of well qualified human resources. However, human resources are not always readily available in these countries, so they turn to neighbouring African countries to look for human resources. Our professional accountants have an excellent reputation and are very much in demand.
What is the demand curve for professional accountants in Mauritius? Is the island economy highly over-saturated?
At present, in this time, certainly not. There is no over saturation and this is borne out by the fact that we still receive requests for professional accountants, as mentioned earlier. Having said that, Mauritius is a small country and there may be a time where the country will be saturated with a certain number of accountants. However, we rely on our accountants to help the economy to expand further and, an expanding economy will obviously translate into future job opportunities.
What explains the increasing number of women showing their interest in the profession while there is a perception that accountancy is more likely to be male-oriented?
This is certainly a question that we are asked at the ACCA. I think that the increasing number of women is reflected in several areas of the economy. Perhaps in the past women did not have the opportunity to pursue their studies or grow in their career. They were more focussed on social or family matters. But nowadays, you see an increasing number of women who are looking for a career and I think it is from opening up of economic initiatives that you can see many more women participating in economic activities.
Now in accountancy, certainly in Mauritius and indeed worldwide at the ACCA, we have more ladies studying and more ladies are members in our institution. So we can say it is no more a male-oriented sector.
What do ethical values and norms represent for professional accountants in Mauritius today?
Ethics are an essential component of our syllabus. So, after passing all the exams, the student is required to sit for an online ethics module and it is only after completing these modules that the student is eligible to become an ACCA member. Thus, ethics are a crucial element in the training we provide to our accountants and the training with ethics does not stop with the online module. You will notice that once a professional become an ACCA member, he or she needs a continuous training for his professional development. And, as part of this continuous training, we at the office we ensure that we organise training in ethics so as to make sure our professionals keep abreast with ethical values and developments.
How can Small and Medium Enterprises benefit from professional accountancy training from the ACCA?
Small and medium enterprises benefit in various ways. As you know, most of the companies in Mauritius are SMEs and many of them may not have the resources to employ a full-time professional accountant, so they use an outsourced or free-lance or part-time resource to support their accountancy requirements. How we support is by creating awareness with the SMEs so that they know what to expect and they know how to judge the services if they are receiving are adequate. We have read in the press that, unfortunately, the SMEs get fined because they have not processed their return properly or because they are not in line with the set standards, and this mainly happens when they outsource to people who are not professional accountants. These companies do not realize that they are going in the wrong direction. This is where we step in to create awareness and provide them with basic training, so they are aware of certain standards they absolutely need to check on.
With the budget coming in one month, what are your expectations from an economic perspective?
We have asked our members to provide a certain number of suggestions to the Ministry of Finance and there are many expectations regarding tax repayments especially regarding the SMEs when we realize how small enterprises have to struggle to make themselves heard. So we look forward to obtaining a positive response to these requests made to the ministry.
Finally, how do you become an expert in accountant of the ACCA and what are the major challenges facing a professional accountant?
In terms of becoming a professional accountant and a member of ACCA, one must undergo and pass several levels of examinations, go through the online ethics module as i said earlier and should undertake three years of proven working experience in accountancy. Once the person become an ACCA member, the professional needs to prove the ACCA by going through continuous training so as to keep proper development and so to face challenges. One should also know what is happening around the world, in order to adapt and out professional are well trained to keep it up the challenges we face locally and globally.
- By Kashish Jadoo