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06.12.2007 Business & Finance

PriceWaterHouseCoopers hosts forum on public accounting standards

By GNA

The Controller and Accountant General's Department (CAG) is developing a public sector accounting manual to enhance accountability and ensure that the preparation of financial statements in public institutions to meet common standards.

Mr Dan Domelevo, Director of Public Financial Management Reform Unit at the CAG department said the move was also to streamline the reporting procedure for various scattered funds currently outside the purview of the consolidated fund.

He was speaking at a stakeholders' forum organised by PriceWaterHouseCoopers, as part of its thought leadership initiative, to generate debate on International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).

IPSAS are a set of high quality, independently developed accounting standards aimed at meeting the financial reporting needs of governments, their related agencies, non-governmental organisations and international agencies such as the United Nations.

Already, Ghanaian private sector institutions have since January 1, 2007 begun the implementation of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which are now virtually accepted as common measure for international reporting, in place of the Ghana Accounting Standards.

The Institute of Chartered Accountant Ghana (ICAG), which is tasked with the responsibility of developing accounting standards, currently has none for the public sector.

Professor Ato Ghartey, President of (ICAG), said the decision had already been taken to adopt IPSAS for public sector accounting and strategies would be drawn for the implementation process to begin in 2008.

Prof Ghartey said collaboration among various stakeholders was needed now to ensure that any roadmap drawn was followed to bring the practice to bear.

Mr Charles Egan, Country Leader, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, said the adoption and implementation of IPSAS in Ghana would ensure effective harmonisation, transparency and uniformity in Public Sector financial reporting.

However, there was the need to scale the challenges of costs for training, systems development and accounting manuals preparation, availability of qualified accountants and readiness of governmental departments and agencies to implement IPSAS.

Mr Egan said to effectively deal with the challenges, there was the need for support and political will of governments and stakeholders and strengthening of regulatory bodies and standard setters such as ICA.

Besides, there must be recruitment and training of qualified staff in the Public sector and learning from experience of countries and organisations already implementing the IPSAS such as South Africa.

Mr Benson Okundi, a Partner in charge of Public Sector at PWC, said the preparation of transparent and understandable financial statements was an important way for governmental bodies to demonstrate their accountability to taxpayers and development partners and ensure the quality and credibility of financial reports.

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