The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) yesterday started it’s 3rd East African Congress of Accountants (EACOA) under the theme, “Integration for accelerated economic development”.
The Congress was initially scheduled for 18-20 March 2021 at the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel, Entebbe but was postponed owing to covid-19 disruptions.
One of the key note speakers, Sandra John Chogo of the National Audit Office of Tanzania highlighted the growth of the 4th industrial revolution and how it’s influencing the accounting profession.
She said that the fear of change is what stops accountants from embracing technology.
“How do we give an opinion that the financial statements give a true and fair view while we are not comfortable with the technologies used?” she queried.
With emerging technologies, she explained, there are new business models, evolving client expectations, new regulations and companies are operating digitally and globally.
Experts said that as the East African region moves towards integration, there will be need for accountants to play a huge role.
The keynote speaker, Dr Fred Muhumuza, economic expert and lecturer at Makerere University said integration should not be delinked from politics.
“Integration is primarily about politics with economic growth and development coming in as secondary objectives that give a feedback loop into the politics,”Muhumuza said.
He noted that if integration causes growth with no jobs, taking away political power to decide on who benefits from the growth, the political leaders will be concerned and invoke a Brexit.
“In February 2005, the EAC customs union was formed and eliminated internal tariffs and established a three-band common external tariff,”he said.
Since the beginning of 2020 ,Muhumuza stated that the economic upturn is proceeding at an uneven pace as Covid-19 measures continue to weigh heavily on certain sectors, particularly education, hospitality, and tourism.
“Most businesses in the region are the low income and low yielding.Some believe that 70% of the country’s GDP is located in the Central region within and around the Capital of Kampala,”he said.
He said poverty remains a challenge and is more severe in the North, North East and Eastern regions adding that It could be explained by the effects of war, climate, population density and proximity to viable markets
EACOA is an initiative of the East African Community Institutes of Accountants (EACIAs), namely: Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU), the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK), the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Rwanda (ICPAR), the National Board of Accountants and Auditors of Tanzania (NBAA), and Ordre des Professionnels Comptables du Burundi (OPC)/the Order of Professional Accountants of Burundi.
In recognising the value of regional integration as enshrined in the East African Community (EAC) Common Market Protocol, the regional accountancy institutes formalised their relationship through a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) which was signed in 2011.
The EACIAs’ MRA provides a framework for developing, regulating and facilitating regional integration of the accountancy profession in the EAC.
The EACIAs organise the Congress every two years.