Auditor General Thumbs Up ICT For Accounting Profession -Outlines challenges with GOL reporting system

MONROVIA – The Auditor General of the General Auditing Commission, Mr. P. Garswa Jackson has said that the evolution of Information and Communication Technology has immensely impacted the accounting profession, which was once solely about bookkeeping and payroll processing but has now expanded to play a more analytical and advisory role and at the same time outlined the challenges ministries and agencies of government undergo to generate financial reporting system.

Mr. Jackson made the assertion on Saturday, January 29, 2022 at the Monrovia City Hall when he served as keynote speaker at the 11th induction program of the Liberia Institute for Certified Public Accountant (LICPA) where a new corps of officers were inducted into offices to serve for the next two years.

Speaking on the topic, :The Rapid Evolution of Information and Communication Technology(ICT) and the impact on the future of the accounting profession: Where we are vs. Where we need to be, a public sector case study”, Mr. Jackson said that the evolution of ICT, like audit and accounting software added efficiency, quality, and consistency to accounting function. He said these developments led to accountants playing more prominent roles in administrative decision making processes by spearheading activities like financial forecasting and risk analysis, cost reduction and profit increase analysis, expenditure monitoring and budget evaluation and compliance to the laws and regulations.

“Amidst these transformation in accounting profession, and the potential opportunities, it is obvious that those accountants who acquired the professional skills to operate new applications and software will widen the career option and opportunities and become more relevant to their employer and businesses” he said

Conceptualizing the application of ICT to the Liberian public sector, Mr. Jackson said it can be noted that there has been meaningful impact but there are still fundamental activities to be improved upon. He said the introduction of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) in 2012 has improved the quality of financial reporting at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).

“Reporting on expenditure and budget monitoring and evaluation have been made more seamless. The usage of other accounting software applications like Quickbook at several government ministries and agencies have also improved financial reporting in government”, he said.

The Auditor General said that the adoption of the ASYCUDA and UNCTAD by the Liberia Revenue Authority have improved the transparency and accounting of domestic revenue of the government and stressed that the adoption of revenue recording software at various revenue generating entities have also enhanced domestic revenue mobilization.

While acknowledging that there are still a number of challenges impeding the accomplishment of the financial system, he said the Government existing reporting software has now been adopted across all government ministries and agencies while some others are still not preparing financial statements.

He lamented that there are no automated linkages between the general revenue account and the government financial reporting system, adding that the ASYCUDA reporting system has not been deployed at most ports of entry in the country.

Highlighting the many lapses of the reporting system, Mr. Jackson said the swift revenue control at commercial banks collecting revenue on behalf of government is not fully functional at all commercial banks and that automated revenue reconciliation remain a challenge for the government and the Liberia Revenue Authority as well as an automated document management system which facilitates effective future review of transaction is yet to be achieved.

“These lapses may impair the achievements of the comprehensive financial reporting and full generation of revenue in government. The relevant government agencies need to expedite the full deployment and roll up of IFMIS and the synchronization of the interfacing revenue reporting platform including automated linkages to the IFMIS”, he said

Mr. Jackson who himself was inducted as a statutory member on the council of LICPA recommended that the full activities of revenue controls , for example daily revenue reconciliation and the automated document management system must be prioritized.

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