On 16 October, the South African Institute of Accountants (SAIPA) and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Rwanda (ICPAR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The agreement will see the two accounting bodies working closely to advance the Profession and provides greater mobility to each one's members operating in the other's country.
Says Professor Rashied Small, Executive: Thought Leadership at SAIPA: "We're very pleased to welcome ICPAR into SAIPA's growing network of collaborators who share our vision of enforcing strong accounting standards and practices throughout Africa and across the planet."
An important aspect of the agreement is that it entitles members from one body to be awarded membership in the other. This allows for greater mobility between the two institutes’ countries, ensuring that members working in either are able to continue practicing without undue delay or requalifying.
The agreement therefore acknowledges the degree to which the bodies’ professional designations conform to the standards demanded by their parent, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), of which SAIPA is a voting member. Members still have to apply for the additional affiliation, and present their home institute’s certificate of membership as well as a letter of good standing.
Both organisations are also members of the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA).
According to Professor Small, apart from introducing dual membership, both bodies have agreed to exchange knowledge, share resources and carry out joint research to their mutual benefit, with the primary objective of serving and protecting the public interest.
Another important goal will be to ensure each remains relevant in the Fourth Industrial Revolution era by cooperating on developing knowledge, expertise and continuous professional development (CPD) programmes that embrace the digital transformation of accounting.
The bodies are also committed to sharing technical expertise to facilitate compliance with their Statements of Member Obligations (SMOs). IFAC members must implement its operational requirements embodied in seven SMOs, including quality assurance, international educations standards, international standards of practice, adoption of its code of ethics, public sector accounting standards, investigations and disciplinary processes, and international reporting standards, including IFRS.
More CPD opportunities
To enhance professional development, the bodies agreed to share CPD programmes and encourage their members to attend each other’s events. They’ll combine their CPD databases to give both access to the most relevant presenters, organisers, trainers and expertise when developing events. CPD points acquired by members attending the other PAO’s events will now be recognised by the home body.
“For example, Rwandan practitioners who attend SAIPA’s annual Accounting INdaba can claim their CPD points as their would when attending an event in their own country,” says Professor Small.
Above all, the agreement signifies mutual respect and trust between the bodies. It increases their solidarity in helping their respective countries evolve from colonial-era accounting to a truly African approach to financial management and reporting.
“Innovations in accounting practices that serve the unique economic aspects of our vast continent are only possible by maintaining open channels of communication and cooperation,” says Professor Small. “This MoU between SAIPA and ICPAR is yet another critical step towards realising that ambition.”
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