Accountants are better positioned to fight corruption
Director of Finance at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has said accountants and chartered accountants are at better position to fight corruption in Sierra Leone giving the nature of work they do by recording and communicating financial statements of both private and public entities. Mr. Sheku Kanu was making a presentation on the topic: Mitigating Corruption in the Public Sector: The Role of the Accounting Profession to students of the Department of Accounting and Finance at the Mary Kingsley Auditorium, Fourah Bay College, Freetown.
Mr. Kanu said Accountants are central in any institution and this is due to the management of financial resources and other material elements for the effective operation of a given entity. The Accountant records financial statements, communicates financial statements, offers advice on financial operations, and manages financial and other non liquid resources. Financial management is believed to be one of the crucial functions of an Accountant and this is where largely corruption breaks out – where records are manipulated, and where Accountants will conspire with other officials to indulge in corruption.
Mr. Kanu argued in favour of whistle blowing as an accounting function for the Accountant and the Chartered Accountant. This does not only allow for reclusion of him or herself from acts tantamount to corruption, but ensure the maintenance of integrity and adherence to codes of conduct. “The Accountant is a gatekeeper: he monitors financial inflows and outflows; he reports financial irregularities; he advises management on financial operations; and in the interest of the State and his profession, he should endeavour to report financial impropriety to anti-graft authorities,’ Mr. Kanu maintained. He told the accounting students that the profession requires exhibition of an outstanding integrity in both private and public life.
Representing Audit Service Sierra Leone, the Deputy Auditor-General, Tamba Momoh, said integrity is the hallmark of an Accountant or an Auditor. He said the work of the Accountant is synonymous to fighting corruption since he ensures smooth and descent records, transparent transactions, and he is accountable to management.
Managing partner of KPMG, Mr. Decker, said there is no way a corrupt individual can be an Accountant or a Chartered Accountant since the profession calls for proper financial records management, guided by a strict ethical and professional codes of conduct. He said an Accountant that practices his job with integrity has also equally contributed to the fight against corruption.
The Accounting Society of Fourah Bay College, which organized the seminar on the topic: Mitigating Corruption in the Public Sector: The Role of the Accounting Profession, seeks to raise awareness of students on issues of corruption and the role Accountants should play to eradicate it. President of the Association Haja Joe-Fullah said the seminar is part of their activities to acquire knowledge on pertinent issues bothering on the profession.
By: Alimamy Lahai Kamara
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