Windhoek-Amanda Rossouw, the Namibia Institute of Professional Accountants’ (NIPA) chairperson, has warned that the country is in dire need of more accountants. This is despite the perception outside the profession that accountants are in abundant supply.
Businesses, even smaller entities, and financial institutions require qualified and experienced accountants. As the Namibian economy continues to grow, there is a distinct shortage of qualified personnel to deal with the taxpayers and business clients in need of professional accounting services.
Rossouw says: “Namibian accounting institutions are already battling to fulfil the need, and as an institute, we encourage entry to the profession towards membership as part of a managed and measured process, with the intent to achieve a membership profile reflecting the demography of the Republic of Namibia.”
Rossouw made the remarks at the certificate handover ceremony of trainee accountants, where 30 trainees recently finished their four-year programme.
“Although Namibian universities produce graduates, many are unable to secure employment due to the lack of experience. The training programme allows students to acquire knowledge and experience, placing them in a better position to secure employment or venture into their own business,” she added.
The programme was created with the objective of training the next generation of accountants, partly by transferring practical experience and knowledge from practicing accountants to those coming through the ranks.
Since 2013, a closer working relationship has been established between the principal, the trainees and NIPA via the use of monitoring officers. In partnership with approved training centres, practicing members offer training and employment, which is monitored by NIPA’s officers.
These officers have contributed to the success of the programme by ensuring regular visits are undertaken and that feedback is transferred effectively between trainees and principals. Once the programme has been completed, trainees not only become full members, but also have the opportunity to continue as employees.
Further opportunities await them, including the chance to further their role in academia, work independently, or become entrepreneurs. NIPA’s monitoring process has received positive feedback from trainees.
Rossouw highlights comments that suggest the procedures of NIPA’s monitoring officers allow trainees to concentrate on their work, along with motivating them to complete the practical elements of their training. This dialogue has the added benefit of ensuring that trainees feel secure in their career ambitions.
NIPA has expressed an ambition to meet Namibia’s national development goals. This includes developing member skills, such as the ability to detect, recognise, and prevent fraud. They have highlighted the requirement that businesses across all industries have for experienced accountants, not only to perform their own work, but also to use their knowledge to inform companies and third parties of relevant issues.
Rossouw also said the public should be educated via their accountants on tax compliance, along with general financial compliance and regulation issues.
There are further challenges facing the accounting sector. Internationally, she pointed out, there is a great need to regulate accountants and bookkeepers that manage public affairs. Currently, only auditors and professional accountants are regulated.
She said NIPA welcomes the current discussions led by the technical sub-committee on the draft Public Accounts and Auditors Amendment Bill. Part of its vision for skills and industry development is that NIPA seeks to advance all aspects of the theory and practice of the accounting profession.
It is also their intention to contribute to the development and enhancement of the profession and consistently provide services of high quality that are in the public interest.
Rossouw highlighted that cooperation between NIPA and educational institutions offering formal qualifications to students in the fields of financial accounting, management accounting, and taxation is vital to Namibia’s economic growth and ability to fulfil the country’s potential in a global marketplace.