Professionals are continually encouraged to commit to lifelong learning by relentlessly pursuing acquisition of knowledge and ideas that prepare and position them for long-term success. The API took part in the seventh (7th) edition of the PAFA biannual conference – “Africa Congress of Accountants” that took place in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from 15 to 18 May 2023. Themed “Structural transformation and growth of African economies”, the event was hosted by OECI-CI, (Cote d’Ivoire), a PAFA member. API engaged with numerous stakeholders, including representatives from professional accountancy organisations (PAOs); regional bodies; internationals organisations; donors and development partners.
PAFA’s vision is sustainable value creation to benefit the citizens of Africa, its mission is “to strengthen the capacity and influence of the accountancy profession in Africa in order to enhance trade, the quality of services, and trust in institutions”.
The ACOA 2023 provided a platform for PAFA to engage its stakeholders and communicate its plans and results achieved in fulfilling its purpose, vision, mission and objectives.
The focus of the ACOA theme spotlighted the need for pursuit of a transformative agenda that will drive the growth of African economies. Please click here for a view of the topics covered.
API’s objective, vision and mission aims to enable the realisation of support for the success of the African Union Agenda 2063 aspirations.
API’s engagements with various stakeholders during ACOA focused on building and strengthening partnerships to accelerate capacity development for public sector financial management professionals including accountants, auditors (external and internal) and non-finance managers in the public sector across the African continent.
This is a sustainable way to deliver value and quality results to common citizens through successful implementation of the Public Finance Management Reforms (PFM). programmes. PFM reforms are being undertaken by many African countries, with a view to enhancing accountability and transparency in the use of public resources.
The API offers an accelerated, easily accessible, most affordable and highly advantageous pathway to strengthening current and future public sector professionals’ ability to be effective in actualising the PFM reforms. These professionals include- Accountants; Auditors; Non-Finance Managers and other policy leaders in the public sector such as legislators, donors, among others.
API staff also had a chance to engage during the PAFA Advisory Group Sessions which provided an avenue to provide clarity and essential information to country leaders (Policy and Technical) about the work that is being done through the API (PAFA; AFROSAI-E; CREFIAF; ESAAG) partnership. Stakeholders at these meetings particularly sought to know more about the benefits of PAOs could derive from the API.
The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of him not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.
Key insights were shared during the PAFA ALD Advisory Group session, and these revealed the value that underpins reflecting about the profession in terms of many decades ahead, and thinking backwards to identify how we can design and rebuild a profession and professionals that are future ready. Not doing so could be tantamount to preparing for extinction.
This thought provoking and imaginative session was led by Prof. Rashied Small, who is Chairman to both the ALD-AG and the API Academic Quality Committees. Below we sample some of the take aways from this session.
- Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) will play a key role in the mobility of professional accountants thereby supporting the realisation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
- If we do not change and improve how we create value, business as usual will be unsustainable. Upskilling and re-skilling is the root to success. Are we still relevant as a profession? We need to revisit our methodologies for learning to attract young learners to the profession and keep them interested and engaged.
- We can choose to do the same things, do the same things differently, or do different things. We can’t solve problems with the same effort that caused them. We need to provide better, smarter solutions. “When you run on the same spot, you don’t need a grave digger because you will dig your own grave”. The challenge is to focus on doing different things that work better.
- By doing different things we will create new opportunities. We need to be dynamic to create the desired change for the benefit of humanity.
- The accountancy profession has developed a legacy of trust and should maintain that position into the long-term future through evidenced value creation for the public.
- We should avoid “make-up” solutions to avoid being disrupted by those professions and disciplines that dive deeper to create revolutionary solutions.
- People do not like those (game changers) who rock the boat to create necessary change. They love status quo. Professional accountants should become change drivers and start creating the future before they face a crisis.
- Education is currently obsessed with technical content and students engage in rote learning by reciting the content. Education is focusing on cognitive at the expense of practical application. There is need to re-focus education on practical application and problem solving geared towards value creation (that which is beneficial to society).
- Most education systems are preparing young people for the past, not the future, yet the business environment is changing faster than ever while education curricula lags far behind.
- Ethics helps address the question of whether we are protectors of public interest against corruption or whether we are facilitators of financial malpractice (loss of citizens resources) and self-interest.
- Professionals should concern themselves about the wholesome long-term wellbeing of human beings and the environment – social intelligence, environmental intelligence, emotional intelligence.
- Education should teach how to advance decision-making effectiveness by addressing the use and relevant application of seasoned judgement, professional scepticism and not just hard-headed accumulation of knowledge that may not lead to valuable change.
- Education approaches should be agile and respond to reality by matching opportunities to what people are best at. In ICT there are limited or no entry requirements. You build a great solution, you become successful. If your solution is not good enough, you get to try again. Accountants should focus on being the best at delivering quality solutions that create value.
The above sharing is a challenge to policy leaders and professionals to think differently and do different things fit for the future.
The API team took part in the meeting organised by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and its MOU Partners (Donors) to review and consider activities planned and undertaken; achievements; current status; challenges; lessons; opportunities; and charting of the value creation journey ahead. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between IFAC, GAVI, The Global Fund, USAID and PAFA aims to enhance and formalize the collaboration amongst these partners to contribute and strengthen public financial management systems in Africa.
The MOU’s areas of Common Strategic Interest covers the following:
- Support the development of strong professional accountancy organizations (PAOs) to contribute to the enhancement of public financial management, reporting, accountability and transparency.
- Improve the public financial management systems to support sustainable health outcomes and impact.
The key objectives of the MOU include:
- Provide a platform for collaboration between the five (5) organizations to support: awareness-raising activities, scoping of capacity building projects, and facilitate dialogue with development partners, stakeholders in the public sector and the accountancy profession; and
- Extend the collaboration to national interventions aiding PAOs to provide training and capacity building for finance personnel of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Local Governments, and Supreme Audit Institutions.
Our Vision: An African public sector capacitated with competent, ethical and influential professionals who support accountability, transparency and good financial governance.
Our Mission: To grow the capacity of accountancy professionals in the African public sector for enhanced service delivery.
The API is an independent non-profit organisation whose primary objective is to strengthen the capacity and knowledge base of accounting and auditing professionals in the African public sector to enhance accounting and auditing service delivery to the citizens of Africa.
The API Learning Programme aims to achieve the above institutional goal as a partnership between the accountancy profession (represented by the Pan African Federation of Accountants (“PAFA”)), accountants general or their equivalent (currently being represented by the East and Southern African Association of Accountants (“ESAAG” – and in the near future the Association of African Accountants General – “AAAG”)), and supreme audit institutions or courts of auditors (represented by the English (“AFROSAI-E”) and French (“CREFIAF”) language sub-groups of the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (“AFROSAI”)).