The desire of the leadership of the Liberia Institute of Certified Public Accountants(LICPA) to roll out its professional program, the Syllabi Integration Program(SIP) under the Accounting Technicians Scheme West Africa (ATSWA) nationwide which led the institute to visit , Bomi, Bong , Grand Bassa and Grand Cape Mount Counties respective have started to yield fruits as some higher institutions in the country are already committing themselves to the program while others are fast putting finishing touches in place to get enlisted.
Breaking the news in an exclusive interview with the Analyst Newspaper yesterday, an elated President of the LICPA, Mr. Victor SBK Tanwone Sr, described the latest development as a monumental achievement in the history of the institute in its drive to professionalize the accounting discipline in the country that will meet international standard and best practice. He paid special acknowledgement to his team and other stakeholders in LICPA for working so hard to make sure that the program comes on stream.
“To date, we receive communication from the Grand Bassa Community College, requesting us to immediately roll out the SIP program under the ATSWA. They expressed their delight in the vision of this leadership and that they believe the program will be an upgrade to their accounting curriculum in their college. The communication was addressed to me as President, congratulating me that the vision is in the right direction for Liberia and not only for the Grand Bassa Community College. So, right now, we are getting all of our statutory instruments together, which is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that we will sign with them and the syllabus for the subregion of the program which we packaged and the concept note on the SIP program and the most recent document that I have just developed which I will be sharing with council members on Thursday called the Professional and Academic Partnership Strategy”, Mr. Tanwone said.
He said it is a strategy from the background that because members of the LICPA are less in number, there may not be enough capacity to send them out to the various counties to teach the program therefore the institute has decided to embark upon training the trainers and the strategy will guide the concept. “LICPA will enlist the current accounting teachers employed in the universities and colleges in the training program so that they can understand the concept of presenting the subject matter to the students. Compensation will be given to those who will teach the program and it is arranged in such a way that since the universities and colleges already have their own teachers employed with them, the compensation will be done on a ratio contribution basis between LICPA and the participating institutions”, he added.
Providing more clarity on how they are going to manage the scarcity of trained manpower to carry on such an ambitious program, Mr. Tanwone said the committees on training and education, the SIP and the Examinations will develop a module that will introduce the concept on how the institute will present its professional materials to the students and that because there are accounting teachers already at the institutions , they are not going to teach them the fundamentals of accounting , such as principles or double entry, instead will teach them the concept of PAO since to present materials to students is different from what is obtainable in the academic setting
He indicated that Bomi Community College has also officially communicated to the institute to express similar desire and has in fact told them to commence the program but because it has to follow the due process where LICPA has to send some documentations, which include the draft memorandum of understanding, concept note and copies of the syllabus to the college for the review of the Board of Trustees, moving in to commence the program will have to tarry a little.
On the issue of scarcity of trained manpower to carry such a huge program, Mr. Tanwone said the committees on training and education, the SIP and the Examinations committee will develop a module that will introduce the concept on how institute will present its professional materials to the students and that because there are accounting teachers already at the institutions , they are not going to teach them the fundamentals of accounting , such as principles or double entry, instead what all they are going to do is to teach them the concept of PAO since to present materials to students is different from what is obtainable in the academic setting.
“We are not going to rule out completely the contents of the existing syllabus, we are going to merge with what they have and if for any reason the syllabus they are using is completely outdated, then we are going to issue our own syllabus which include the standard international syllabus
He said compensation for teachers will be paid by LICPA and the university, it will be a ratio between LICPA and the universities
Asked what is the criteria being used to evaluate the standard or requirement for a college or university to be accepted, Mr. Tanwone said that the accounting curriculum is evaluated in Liberia by the National Commission for Higher Education(NCHE). He said few years ago, LICPA conducted a survey to ascertain whether the current curriculum being used in higher institutions are up to date and it was discovered that they were outdated “ So we said okay, we as PAO , with the mandate from the government to train accountants and work with the universities, it is part of the process to review the curriculum and so we told the institutions to give us their current curriculum to review if they meet present day realities, if not then we will use our module”, he said.
He said they look forward to working with the National Commission for Higher Education because the program has to be rolled out as a part of the national curriculum from their end. But before then, they will have to work with the university because the program has to go on.
“It is a very big achievement for the Institute because this leadership sees Liberia from a holistic perspective. We don’t look at Liberia to be Monrovia and LICPA has been operating within the confines of Monrovia. So we are moving outside of Monrovia so that the readiness of the institute will be felt to our people thereby making us engage those universities and colleges. Within 60 days, we plan to visit Lofa, Grand Gedeh, Maryland and Margibi to create awareness of our program”, Mr. Tanwone said when asked to describe how he felt about the program.
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.