Malawi and other countries in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) economic bloc are set to have a harmonised accounting course and certificate, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (Icam).
But while Icam has described the move as a milestone that will help countries in the region to export labour, the time frame—as to when the already set plan will come into fruition—has not yet been indicated.
Icam president, Henry Chowawa, confirmed this in an interview.
“One of the objectives of the group is to facilitate the free movement of professionals across borders, and the accountancy profession has taken a leading role. As part of this initiative, there is a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) for Professional Accountancy Organisations (PAO) that has already been drafted. This will make it easier for accountants to work within the region,” he said.
He further said Icam is a member of the International Federation of Accountants as well as Pan African Federation of Accountants (Pafa) and that they work hand in hand with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
“Icam constructively takes part in pre-budget consultations. We make that our distinguished mandate as we help in advising the government on measures that could lead to financial and economic independence,” Chowawa said.
He said as it stands, accountants from Malawi and other countries fail to export accounting professionals to each other’s country as is the case in other countries outside Africa.
“Accountants, especially from Malawi and the whole Sadc region, despite how they are trained, face hurdles to compete on the international market with regards to job opportunities because their courses or certificates are not harmonised,” he said.
He said Malawi cannot afford to be left behind in financial and economic management, hence the idea to join forces with other countries.
“We want to say that right resources should also be channelled to right departments. Malawi can also save on resources if qualified accountants are employed in public and private sectors,” Chowawa said.
Icam thinks the milestone attained in training accountants to the chartered level entails, therefore, that Malawi will be able to save those resources, thus eventually stabilising the local currency.
Radom interviews with financial and economic experts from private and public offices found that the move is meant to deal with corruption and in the process promoting social economic development.