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ICAS report accuses ACCA of scramble for Africa

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22nd Aug 2007
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In the blistering heat of sub-Saharan West Africa, an unseen battle is raging for accountants’ hearts and minds - according to research commissioned by ICAS. Chibuike Uche, of the university of Nigeria, has authored a report arguing that ACCA’s international presence has stunted the ability of developing countries to train and develop their own accounting manpower. Rob Lewis reports.

The report looks at accounting practices in Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone (where the average life expectancy is 41). “Accounting bodies like ACCA have increased the tempo of their membership drive in these countries to the detriment of the indigenous bodies,” Uche summarized.

Local professional bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ghana (established 1965) cannot compete with ACCA in terms of training and education. However, ACCA is accused of not setting local tax and law examinations unless indigenous laws are broadly in line with British practices, thereby stifling national accounting practices. The fact that the recognition given to ACCA by its West African counterparts is not reciprocated adds to the imbalance.

“Despite the push towards globalisation, accounting expertise needs to be tailored to meet the economic needs of developing countries,” commented David Wood, ICAS executive director of technical policy.

Although ACCA had yet to study Uche’s research, a spokesperson refuted claims that the Association ignored local needs, and said the matter was an opportunity for co-operation, not conflict.

“ACCA has no single model for the ways in which it works at local level around the world,” he said. “At the core of our work however is our desire to make our qualification available to people everywhere in the world.”

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