Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA), which regulates the country’s accounting profession, promises improved quality in its financial reports as it seeks to strengthen the output of local accountants.
This was revealed by Technical and Public Sector Accounting Director at BICA, Eddie Bayen, speaking during a consultative meeting with banking and non-banking financial institutions through the week.
“You will find that the output of accountants will increase because this was one area in which regulation has been silent,” predicted Bayen, explaining that people were not sure if their accountants were actually required to meet any particular standard.
With the enforcement of these reviews, BICA has covered a significant proportion of those that offer services to the public in ensuring that they meet a certain level of quality.
Bayen emphasised that accountants are key to corporate governance structures and play a critical role in public interest protection.
“That is why we have these two bodies, BICA which regulates the profession, and Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA) which essentially ensures that the profession provides key services that meet certain standards that it sets to ensure the protection of public interest,” he explained.
According to Bayen, BAOA strives to ensure accountants provide the right quality of services by monitoring all audit practices, including the Public Interest Entity (PIE) auditors and Non-Public Interest Entity auditors.
“They monitor financial reporting – whether accountants are offering financial reports that are relevant, that have the right level of quality that meet international standards and which quality decisions can be based on,” he highlighted, adding that the Authority essentially monitors corporate governance.
To distinguish the roles of the two bodies, Bayen explained BAOA focuses on what BICA does and ensures the accounting profession provides quality services by monitoring the various services offered.
“BICA’s role then is to ensure that the accounting profession has quality people,” he added.
He further noted there are two determining factors within the profession: the quality of the people in the profession and the quality of the services they provide.
Bayen warned that when one is qualified for the accounting profession it does not necessarily mean they will apply themselves to ensure they deliver good quality services.
“That is why we need BAOA to come in and also look at the auditors and make sure that they have the right level of quality. BICA then regulates the accountants, auditors and member firms and enforces the code of ethics and the Accountants Act,” he concluded.
Speaking at the consultation, Technical and Public Sector Accounting Manager, Mosireletsi Mogotlhwane stressed that when Accountants Act was amended and implemented in 2010, it made it clear that no accountant should provide accounting services in their individual capacity, apart from if they are working for an organisation.
This was introduced to make regulation easier because it was though it would be more straight-forward to regulate accountants when they are working for an organisation.