Twenty five-year-old Audrey Nshabire, a Bachelor’s of Business Computing graduate at Makerere University Business School could not believe that she would get the scholarship she had applied for hesitantly. And she has had to bear five months of waiting in anxiety for the results from the application.
“I first saw fliers around university but did not pick interest thinking I would never stand a chance among the many people who may have applied. Weeks after my graduation in February, a friend sent me the newspaper advert. I decided to give it a try,” Nshabire said.
Informing her that she had been awarded the scholarship was a dream come true. “I wanted to pursue an accounting career but knew that it was expensive since I was told sitting for a paper is about Shs200,000, in addition to tuition. Luckily, this scholarship covers everything,” she said.
And just like that, Nshabire and nine others get to study at the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda for free.
ICPAU is the national regulator of professional accountants in Uganda. In partnership with Multitech Business School and MAT ABACUS Business School, ICPAU awarded the 10 fresh graduates, six of whom are female in Kampala last week.
This year’s beneficiaries are the pioneers of the scholarships that will be given every year.
They institute intends to help fresh graduates from different public and private universities around Uganda undertake the CPA qualification in order to professionalise accountancy in Uganda.
For Charles Nasasira, a Bachelor’s of Business Accounting graduate from Makerere University Business School, his continuous visit to the ICPAU website led him to the scholarship.
“People kept telling me if an accountant does not have a CPA, they may not work in the public sector, neither will their pay be good. I had to jump on the chance.”
He adds, “I had given up since I knew the competition would be tight. It took long for me to get any reply until in November when I received an email giving me the good news. I saw my dream come true right at that moment.”
According to Derrick Nkajja, the ICPAU chief executive officer, in addition to taking into account the 16 chattered universities that the institute started with, the scholarships also focused on excellence from the graduates.
“The target was on those with first or second class upper degrees who also expressed interest in accountancy. We have seen people study accounting and move on to become singers,” Nkajja said.
Fredrick Kibedi, the president ICPAU, said they are attracting and inviting the young generation who will continue their legacy and relevance. According to him despite digitisation, computers will not be able to master ethics and integrity and emotional intelligence that drives public trust. He thus implored scholars to pay particular attention to how they will be able to be professional.
“Every establishment on the planet requires an accountant, a reason the UN has declared that professional accountants form part and parcel of a very powerful resource that is able to achieve nine out of the 17 sustainable development goals 2030,” Kibedi said. Once the beneficiaries have completed the CPA course, they can work in any East African Community country without having to sit further examinations.
The CPA syllabus is benchmarked on international education standards and legal framework for Uganda. The institute adopted international accounting standards, international auditing standards and international public sector accounting standards which are all embedded in the syllabus.