MONROVIA: Liberia’s immense contributions and relevance to the accounting profession on the international scene was acknowledged and recognized recently when the President of the Liberia Chartered Institute for Public Accountants(LICPA), Mr. Victor SBK Tanwone was unanimously elected as the 28th President of the Accountancy Bodies of West Africa(ABWA) during the 99th ABWA Council Meeting held in Banjul, Gambia on September 15, 2023 just as Mr. Tanwone promised to revamp the institution by pursuing inclusiveness and encourage active participation of all member states in the subregion
Speaking to newsmen at the National Secretariat of LICPA, Mr. Tanwone said his election got a strong recommendation from the outgoing President of ABWA, Mr. Drissa Kone, who is also the President of the accounting body of Cote d’Ivoire based on his(Kone) assessment of progress being made over the years concerning LICPA especially under Tanwone’s leadership where significant achievements were made including acquiring a befitting secretariat for the first time since 1933 and the successful hosting of the ABWA-ECOWAS meeting held in Liberia.
“So let me put it from the message of the outgoing president of ABWA and also the president of the accountancy body in Cote d’Ivoire Mr. Kone who said ‘we have followed the LICPA for a long time and given the history since 1933, I was surprised when I visited the Randall Street office two years back and then coming to Liberia to attend the ABWA ECOWAS meeting we dedicated a new building, a secretariat for the institute and considering that the LICPA is a small PAO with not more than 100 members, that depend strictly on the financial contribution of members, the way you did it and how you did it, we believe that you can take ABWA to the next level.
“So the decision was taken unanimously given the work you have done in Liberia and the success of the congress itself. We came to Liberia and we saw in more than 86 years the secretariat you were able to acquire with a lot of money and with just a few members. They felt we have the leadership quality and the competence is there to head the body to the next level. So they took the decision and I accepted”, Tanwone said.
In his acceptance speech delivered at his investiture in Banjul, a copy of which was sent to The Analyst, Tanwone said his tenure will pursue inclusiveness and encourage active participation of all PAOS within the subregion while supporting the secretariat to reach out to all dormant, part active and yet to be member PAOS within the ECOWAS region.
“My tenure of office shall endeavor to formulate policies and programs for council approval. These policies and programs will seek to arouse the lukewarm behavior of inactive or dormant member bodies to actively participate and support the growth of ABWA. These policies and programs I referred to as motivational incentives overtime, have witnessed the continuing decline of member PAOS interest in participating in the activities of ABWA. This decline of interest must be addressed immediately if ABWA is to reach its maximum growth”, he said.
Tanwone said he will export the template he used in seeking funding for LICPA where he enlisted the support of its development partners such as the World Bank, the UNDP, the African Development Bank(AfDB) and other international institutions to make ABWA financially strong enough to undertake projects.
“My leadership shall seek to strengthen collaboration with development partners (the World Bank, African Development Bank, United Nations Development Program, etc) to identify projects and develop project concept papers on behalf of ABWA for funding by development partners.
“I entreat you therefore, all members of PAOS, to consolidate our efforts and determination by demonstrating active participation in the activities of ABWA and striving to collectively achieve its strategic goals. Only then, will ABWA actively and meaningfully contribute to the evolving needs of our people profession regionally and globally”, he said
Responding to a question about what his elevation meant for the profession as it relates to how the aspiring accountants should take the profession, Tanwone, whose extraordinary leadership has given a niche for LICPA both locally and internationally, said it will serve as an encouragement and raise the level of their passion for the profession.
“It will raise the passion of accountants who are yet to be professional accountants, it will speak to them in a way that in this modern era where are, there is a need to be professional, it will increase their confidence, it will increase the need for people to get involved with the LICPA and elevate themselves to this regional platform”, he said
He said aspiring accountants should also take lessons from where he has taken LICPA “such as at the World Council of Accountants held in Mumbai, India, for the first time in the history of the LICPA, I was elected on the Council of IFAC, so the LICPA now has a seat on the council of IFAC”.
“We look where we came from. Just a few years back, when we came into the profession, people thought we could not make it. Liberians cannot pass this professional examination but we went there and the first four Liberians passed straight in Ghana. Today after just five years, I am president of ABWA, I sit on the council of IFAC. So this should speak to them that what another man has done yesterday, another can do it. So we are telling our students, get involved, the profession has evolved, it has changed around the world. People in this profession are not looking for Master’s or PhD degrees but they are looking for professional accountants. So our advice to them is take the exam as a foundation of being a professional.
Tanwone is the second Liberian to be elected in that capacity after Mr. Nimene Momo Sr was elected and served from 2013 to 2014 as the 19th president but his tenure was completed by another Liberian, Arthhur WB Fumbah who presided between 2014 and 2015
ABWA was established in 1982 as a regional body to promote the development of the Accountancy Profession in the West African subregion. Incorporated in Nigeria in 1994 where its Corporate Headquarter is located, ABWA is an IFAC Recognised Network Partner. As an Association, it represents over 120,000 professional accountants drawn from 16 professional accountancy organisations (PAOs) in Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Togo. Consisting of Anglophone and Francophone PAOs drawn from 15 jurisdictions, ABWA’s mission is to ensure that accounting standards and practices in the sub-region are harmonized and benchmarked on global best practices and driven by the profession’s public interest mandate and high ethical standard. The Association also facilitates cooperation in the areas of accounting education, training, technical and ethical standards amongst its member-bodies.
In line with its vision of effectively leading the development of the Accountancy Profession in the West African subregion in the public interest, ABWA strives to leverage its platform and reach to enhance the contribution of the Accountancy profession to the economic development of West Africa through high quality corporate reports.
Its vision is to effectively lead the development of the accountancy profession in the West African sub-region in the public interest while the mission is to promote the growth of and strengthen the accountancy profession in West Africa such that it remains a valued partner in the building of strong, sustainable organizations and financial markets for the development of sub-region’s economy while acting in the public interest.