Accountants want tough laws to curb rising fraud

Mr Geoffrey Kazinda, is one of the professional accountants who have been implicated in fraud.

What you need to know:

Implicated. A number of accountants in both government and private sector have been implicated in high profile fraud.

There is need for tougher laws to curb unethical practices among professional accountants and to enhance professionalism in order to regain public trust, an official has said.

Speaking at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) chief finance officer’s forum in Kampala on Monday, the state minister of Finance for general duties, Mr Fred Omach, said ethics in the accounting profession play a big role in supporting a healthy economy.

Accountants in Uganda have in the recent past come under the spotlight over fraud cases, an indication of the low integrity levels in the profession.
The increasing fraud cases, most of which are perpetuated by professional accountants, are costing the government and private firms millions of shillings, money that would have been used on other developmental projects.

Mr Omach said efforts are underway to enhance professional ethics through an Accountants’ Bill that will soon be tabled before Parliament.
The Bill, according Mr Omach, will pave way for the amendment of the Accountants Act in order to address certain flaws and also provide for mechanisms of curbing unethical behaviour among accountants.

Mr Alvin Chikamba, the ACCA sub-Saharan Africa head of policy, called for the tightening of regulations, adding that cases of unethical behaviour are a manifestation of the moral fibre of the society.

“There is need for a change in mindset of every Ugandan to restore integrity, accountability and good management,” he said.
ACCA also launched a survey report dubbed, “The changing role of the chief financial officer” that was done in partnership with the Institute of Management Accountants.

Presenting the survey findings, Mr Patrick Mwesige, the director, finance and administrative services of the Electricity Regulatory Authority, said despite the volatile economic environment, business owners and shareholders expect sustained growth.

“This is a dilemma, the environment is getting so fierce and yet the demand for growth is are escalating because stakeholders want more and more from their investment now than ever before. At the heart of this, the CFO is expected to be helping and facilitating business to overcome those challenges and deliver value and offer sustained growth on a large scale,” he said.

Ms Sophie Nkuutu, the chief financial officer, DFCU Bank, who also expressed concern over the increasing corporate governance challenges in Uganda, urged chief financial officers to be proactively involved in managing risks and expectations.

As the economic environment continues to change, there is need for chief financial officers to fasten operations as well as increasing accuracy on information as well as being able to predict the future basing on the present.