MONROVIA: In its efforts to elevate the standard of accounting education with the view of professionalizing and strengthening the discipline in the country, the Liberia Institute of Chartered Public Accountants(LICPA) moved further over the weekend when it signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) with the Bomi University College, Bomi County and the Bushrod Institute of Science and Technology, Montserrado County which will see the two institutions benefiting from the Accounting Technician Scheme West Africa(ATSWA) syllabi integration program(SIP)
Speaking at the signing ceremony held at the LICPA Secretariat, Congo Town, Monrovia on Friday, July 28, 2023 the President of LICPA, Mr. Victor SBK Tanwone, said they were excited that after months of negotiation and discussions between the two institution and LICPA, they have agreed on terms and signing the partnership agreement which is going change the standard of the accounting profession in the country and place Liberia among other countries that have started a long time ago taken steps to upgrade the teaching and practice of the accounting profession in their respective countries.
“Today we are witnessing the signing of two MOUs with two universities in Liberia, the Bomi College and the Bushrod Institute of Science and Technology. It is LICPA’s program as enshrined in our Acts to strengthen the accounting education in Liberia.
“The LICPA is a member of the international federation of accounting wherein is a body, a unique organization called the International Accounting Education Standard Board that issues standards regarding accounting globally; where those standards are published through their publishing units.
“The Accounting Bodies of West Africa(ABWA) through the chapters in West Africa adopts those standards and request every body of ABWA to incorporate them into their accounting curriculum and work with the various universities”, Mr. Tanwone said.
He said LICPA was under obligation to help to integrate new standards as they are published by the International Accounting Education Standards Board “and the idea behind this is Liberia cannot be left behind the likes of Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire who are moving ahead and we are being left behind because the response from our universities in Liberia has not being welcoming and so I want to say a big thank you to Bomi College and BSIT who saw the need that this program will strengthen accounting education within their universities”
Speaking further on some of the details of the partnership, Mr. Tanwone who during his inauguration of second term promised to take the state of accounting education in the country to the next level said one of the key things on the part of the LICPA is to provide certified accountants to go into those universities to teach all accounting courses as support to them.
“But because the number of professionals in the LICPA is so less and most of our members are actively engaged, gainfully employed within Monrovia and integrating this program outside of Monrovia for the first time, the question of how do we really manage accounting teachers going out of town to teach these programs within the MOU, we have entered into agreement with these institutions for professional partnership wherein we are going to provide short term training to their accounting instructors who are within the universities already and are running the program.
“But when it comes to conducting the examinations, setting the questions, LICPA will be in charge”, Tanwone said.
He said the institutions for their part among other things will avail themselves to the program and send their accounting teachers to undergo training for the purpose of teaching the students the courses required while also incorporating the syllabus within the curriculum of the respective institutions.
He said plans are underway to further engage more institutions to participate having allayed the fear of some of them that the syllabus could be tough for their students and may make them to lose revenue because the students will drop from the institutions.
While Mr. Tanwone signed on behalf LICPA, Dr. Edward S. Forh signed on behalf of the Bushrod Institute of Science and Technology while Dr. Abimelech Paye Gbatu signed on behalf of the Bomi Community College.
The agreement will take effect next academic year as there was no enough time to implement it this year since the first example is due in September of this year.
It can be recalled that in fulfillment of the strategy of the Mr. Victor SBK Tanwone Sr led leadership to further professionalize and strengthen the accounting curriculum in tertiary institutions in the country, the Liberia Institute for Certified Public Accountants (LICPA) toured some higher institutions in four counties, Bomi, Bong, Grand Bassa and Grand Cape Mount Counties to create awareness of its “Accounting Technician Scheme West Africa (ATSWA) syllabi integration program (SIP).
The Accounting Technicians Scheme West Africa(ATSWA) program is designed to produce middle level accounting technicians within the West African Sub-region with the objectives to provide a recognized qualification for the accounting and auditing staff employed in the public sector, industry, commerce and in various offices or practicing accountants and help meet the need for middle level accounting personnel in the economy especially for the accounting and finance departments of various government agencies and corporations.
The ATSWA syllabus is divided into 3 parts and each part consists of four (4) subjects. An AAT Certificate is awarded upon successfully completing the Accounting Technicians Scheme of West Africa (ATSWA) Examinations. The duration for the completion of the 3 level examination is a minimum of 15 months for those with ordinary level certificate and 6 to 12 months for those with higher certificate but not a degree certificate.
Information made available to Analyst from LICPA about the Syllabi Integration Program has it that it seeks to suitably integrate its accounting credentialing programs (Accounting Technicians Scheme, West Africa(ATSWA) and the institute’s full Professional Accounting Qualification Program) into the accounting curricula of Liberian Universities and Colleges. The objective is to bring accounting education in Liberia to a global standard which over time will greatly improve employment and other opportunities for accounting graduates from local universities and colleges.
“By introducing world-class accounting syllabi, it will improve the quality of accounting education in Liberia; give confidence to employers in the products of our schools and thereby take away the need (or the excuse) for businesses and NGOs operating in Liberia to import accountants into the Country. Finally, it will also give graduates from participating schools confidence in their own professional worth as accountants”, the information further stated.
The Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA) is the successor of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Liberia (LICPA) which was established by an Act of the National Legislature in 1933. It was established by an Act of the National Legislature in June 2011 to regulate the accounting profession in Liberia. The LICPA is empowered to set standards, license accounting and assurance practitioners, build capacity and do all things appertaining to regulating the accounting and assurance professions aimed at building a strong and vibrant public accounting sector in the country.