On July 1st 2015, David Mathuva, a Doctoral Fellow at School participated in a round table organized by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), Southern Africa Accounting Association (SAAA) and the International Association of Accounting Educators and Researchers (IAAER) at East London, South Africa. The focus of the round table was to discuss IFAC’s Professional Accountancy Organization (PAO) Capacity Building Program and the role of accounting academics and researchers in establishing the link between professional accountants and economic development. David presented the Kenyan case on the accounting profession in Kenya and the role the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) plays in developing quality professional accountants and the current challenges faced by the ICPAK in achieving this goal. Mario Abela, leader Research and Development represented IFAC.
The round table also discussed the efforts and challenges faced by PAOs in developing countries in terms of producing quality accountants and the level of adherence to the Codes of Conduct of Ethical behavior by professional accountants. Participants also discussed the contribution of professional accountants in the economic development of developed and developing countries.
David discussed perspectives on continuing professional development and ethical standards in the country. Among the efforts ICPAK has had is the requirement for its members to meet 40 hours of continuing professional development, quality reviews and investigating and imposing sanctions on its members implicated in unethical behavior. The ICPAK has its own Code for Professional Accountants and every member of the institute is expected to adhere to the Code. The institute also subscribes to the IFAC’s IESBA Code of Ethics for Accountants. Among the challenges highlighted include the relatively low member registration which implies that a majority of graduate CPAs in Kenya are not regulated by the ICPAK, the need to have an independent tribunal to investigate cases involving the conduct of members of the institute and the fact that the curriculum for professional accountants in Kenya does not adequately meet market demands. As a way of demonstrating the contribution of professional accountants in economic development, David suggested an examination of the contribution of registered professional accountants towards promoting investment efficiency and/or attracting investments in both developed and developing economies.
The well-attended round table also discussed perspectives by accounting educators and researchers in African economies such as South Africa and Tanzania. A developed country’s perspective on research on financial accounting research, practice and financial accountability was also presented by Mary Barth of Stanford University and the link between stock exchange disclosure and market development for 50 international exchanges was presented by Betsy Gordon of Temple University. The round table was moderated by Katherine Schipper, the current IAAER President from Duke University. The round table developed actionable points which could be pursued further to inform IFAC in terms of examining the contribution of the PAOs and professional accountants in furthering the economic development agenda.
The event took place during the SAAA biennial conference where David presented a paper on “Social Disclosure by Savings and Credit Co-operatives in an Emerging Economy: does Governance Matter?” He presented the paper at a Paper Development Workshop organized by the IAAER. The paper, which is currently under review in an accounting journal, examined the level and the drivers of social disclosure by a sample of 212 SACCOs operating front-office services.