Windhoek-The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Namibia (ICAN) has implored the government to give the accounting and auditing professions the same priority as medical doctors, saying that these professionals are the lifeblood of commerce and industry. While it is an arduous process to become a qualified chartered accountant, ICAN is adamant that these professionals are imperative for a strong economy, hence the critical need to build local capacity to produce more Namibian accountants and auditors.
In 1995, mostly white males practiced as Chartered Accountants, making up about 90 percent of these professionals in the country. Today, white males make up only 45 percent of registered chartered accountants (CAs) in Namibia and the largest component of new trainees is black females. According to the Chief Executive Officer of ICAN, Koos du
Toit, he is proud of the transformation, which he said is the core agenda of the institute.
“Namibia is well-placed but if we want to get to the next level (of economic development) then we have to increase the number of CAs and we have to produce more CAs for the country,” said Du Toit.
ICAN is a professional accounting organisation established in 1990 and only members of the institute may use the Chartered Accountant designation. A CA is the highest professional qualification in accounting and auditing, which requires seven to eight years of study. Due to the lengthy study time, ICAN has embarked on a recruitment drive to entice more young Namibians to take up the profession.
Some well-known CAs in Namibia include O&L Chairman, Sven Thieme, Standard Bank Namibia MD, Vetumbuavi Mungunda, Nedbank MD, Lionel Matthews and Bank Windhoek MD, Baronice Hans.
Speaking to a first-year accounting student, Nadir Tjitendero, at the Namibia University of Science and Technology on why he has embarked on the lengthy process of becoming a Chartered Accountant, he said: “There was a programme at a local auditing firm and they explained exactly what chartered accounting is and the prestige that comes along with the title. I am also drawn to the fact that CAs can help businesses reach the best decisions and that you are not limited to an office job. I just like the idea of helping people and business to succeed.”
The number of resident CAs in Namibia has risen from 93 in 1995 to about 600 today. However, the ratio of CA to the population in the country is one CA for every 4,283 people, compared to Mauritius, which has one CA for every 464 people. This figure is crucial given the fact that CAs audit 100 percent of Namibian companies and they are critical to financial reporting, planning and investment.