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AfricaMoney | October 19, 2017

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ExpertSpeak: Mauritian accountants’ diverse background offers great potential

ExpertSpeak: Mauritian accountants’ diverse background offers great potential

Vickson Ncube, CEO of the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA), commented on how Mauritius boasts the competitive edge of a diverse mix of accountants who hold qualifications from across accountancy institutions in the UK and India, among others. (Image: UNCTAD)

Vickson Ncube, CEO of the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA) spoke to AfricaMoney on the accountancy profession in Africa being on the right path. He also commented on how the very composition of the accountancy profession in Mauritius presents it with its greatest potential, boasting a diverse mix of accountants who hold qualifications from across accountancy institutions in the UK and India, among others. Our financial expert noted that the Mauritius Institute of Professional Accountants (MIPA) must harness the resources and skills offered by these global institutions for the benefit of its members.

Edited excerpts from an exclusive interview:

As CEO of the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA), please provide your opinion on accounting practices in the region.

The accountancy profession in the African region is on the right path. Many countries in Africa are either adopting or allowing the use of international standards. This is progressive. There still remains a challenge in most countries though because the accountancy institutes either do not exist or are not financially sustainable.

What are the challenges affecting the accounting profession in the African continent?

In a nutshell, capacity, capacity and capacity!

What efforts are being made to raise the status of the accounting profession in Africa, and to overcome capacity challenges?

The very birth of PAFA is testimony to the efforts that are in place to raise the status of the profession in Africa. PAFA is working with the African Development Bank, World Bank, International Federation of Accountants and other players in the continent in its effort to build capacity among accountancy institutes in the continent. This includes creating an environment where more established institutes will mentor those who are still facing capacity challenges.

Please provide your views on the status of accounting profession in Mauritius and its potential for growth.

The accountancy profession in Mauritius is growing. It is founded on a good legal framework that separates the roles of a member institute and regulation. It gives the profession a credible outlook to other stakeholders. The very composition of the accountancy profession in Mauritius presents it with its greatest potential. The profession is made up of a good mix of accountants who hold qualifications from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants – ACCA, UK; the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Whales – ICAEW, UK and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, ICAI. This creates an opportunity for the profession in Mauritius to get the best from these long established organisations for its own benefit. It also gives it a wide pool of resources from these organisations. MIPA needs to harness this potential and turn it into reality.

Mauritius signed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in December last year as the first country in Africa to do so. What are your views on FATCA and how can it help the island as it gears to become fully tax compliant?

Broadly speaking, the FATCA aims at achieving tax compliance beyond the borders of a tax payer’s nationality. Its effectiveness will depend on all players across the globe working together.

Can you shed some light on the aims and objectives of the Africa Congress of Accountants (ACOA), which is set to be held in Mauritius next year under the theme ‘Rising Africa: Partnering for Results’?

As the theme for ACOA suggests, “AFRICA RISING: – PARTNERING FOR RESULTS, the Congress aims to bring to the attention of the delegates that Africa and Africans must learn to look out for their own interests. As a continent and as a people, we tend to be net-losers in dealing with other continents. Africa’s natural resources are fuelling economic growth in other continents without benefitting Africa and its people. A new and better approach that ensures that Africa benefits from its resources is required. While acknowledging the importance of working with others, we need to get to a position where the net beneficiaries of Africa’s resources are Africans themselves.

How does the ACOA align with the Expanded Africa strategy of the government of Mauritius?

I am given to understand that the Government of Mauritius is committed to putting Mauritius at the hub of regional integration in Africa; ACOA is one such platform on which this commitment can be strengthened.

Finally, please provide your insights on the way forward for PAFA.

PAFA understands that poverty is a serious matter that undermines all the progress Africa is attempting to achieve. Our economic, social and democratic institutions are all undermined by poverty. Poverty can only be conquered through growing economies that create an opportunity for people to find their self-worth. At the root of growing economies is good resource management. Good resource management must be anchored on the pillars of good governance, good financial management, accountability and transparency. The accountancy profession is one of the key players in ensuring the well-functioning of these pillars. PAFA is committed to enhancing this role for the accountancy profession in strengthening these pillars.

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