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04.04.2007 Business & Finance

Financial Integrity

Public concern about white-collar crime puts a responsibility on all those who have something to do with public expenditure to sit up and work in the interest of the nation.

It is interesting that as the Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Professor Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa, was advising accountants to work assiduously to ensure that they did not encourage financial crimes, the Finance and Economic Planning Ministry was making an effort to control public expenditure.

Such work will depend on the integrity of our accountants and auditors who will take steps to encourage good financial governance.

This means that they will not allow their subordinates to flout regulations on financial administration with impunity.

Our compatriots who were not given enough education shudder to think about the way some educated people try to use their pen and knowledge to commit white-collar crimes.

Indeed, when they hear those pieces of news, they ask themselves whether that is all what education is about β€” to use knowledge to fleece the public.

The ease with which accountants and auditors exploit any slight weakness in the systems of their institutions and companies to cause financial impropriety should be deplored in no uncertain terms.

Sadly, the practice knows no boundaries. Some international institutions have been manipulated for personal gain. The example of Enron, the energy giant, and the likes are a clear pointer to how some could use their professional skills to milk others.

If even in the advanced countries, with all their sophistication, professionals can hatch heinous strategies and bring a giant firm to its knees, then it would be easy for professionals in the developing world to do same or even worse.

Professor Adarkwa put it succinctly when he submitted, β€œIt is incumbent on you as professionals to ensure that every conduct of yours at any particular level of organisation of state does not amount to cheating the system.”

It is our considered opinion that professional accountants and auditors should help propel the determination of the country to become the financial hub of the West African sub-region. They have an enormous role to play in that direction.

It is no secret that as a nation we have produced efficient accountants and auditors who have been the toast of international organisations.

We want to see professional accountants and auditors who are keen on promoting good financial governance and who will resolve to give of their best as their supreme contribution towards national reconstruction.

Delays in detecting financial crime and the late preparation of reports must belong to history through diligence to make the nation the beneficiary.

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