Govt, accountants discuss new accounting system

HARARE - Local and global accountancy experts will meet in Harare with government representatives next week to discuss the implementation of the accrual-based International Public Sector Accounting Standards (Ipsas) as part of efforts to improve efficiency, transparency and accountability.

The three-day round table meeting, slated for March 20 to 22, 2018, is being organised by the Public Accountants and Auditors Board (Paab), which has a statutory mandate to regulate and oversee the accountancy profession in Zimbabwe.

Since 1923, central government, urban and rural local authorities and government entities have been using the traditional cash accounting system.

But Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa directed the public sector to migrate to an accrual accounting framework beginning January.

Paab is government’s implementing agent and reports to the Finance ministry.

Paab secretary Admire Ndurunduru told The Financial Gazette that the meeting is expected to come up with an implementation strategy and roadmap to fully operationalise the plan.

“The goal of the event is to discuss the public financial management (PFM) reform programme in Zimbabwe and progress made to date,” Ndurunduru said.

“We will be getting input and develop the roadmap for the implementation of the accruals-based accounting system. The objective of the round table is to provide senior government officials with the context of the migration to accrual accounting as part of the wider PFM reforms in Zimbabwe.

“As a result of the migration to accrual accounting, the round table would provide an opportunity to identify the main obstacles to be addressed, and to agree on the actions necessary to take the next steps on the journey to implementation of accrual accounting based on Ipsas,” he said.

The event is expected to attract over 300 delegates and will feature speakers both local and from around the world.

Chinamasa is expected to give a keynote address on transparency and accountability in the new era.

The shift to the accrual-based Ipsas, which recognise transactions within the period that they occur, is part of a wider PFM reform in the public sector.

The new accounting system, aimed at contributing to better use of public funds, will also allow better public service performance.

Under the accruals accounting system, revenues and expenses are recorded when they are incurred, not when cash is exchanged.

The migration is the result of calls for greater accountability, increased transparency, governance and more informed decision-making.

Under the cash accounting system, some liabilities and assets are not covered, meaning that the system does not give a true picture of government performance.

Adopting a high-quality accrual-based accounting system is also expected to result in development of better management information systems, which should in turn contribute to better decision-making and better use of public money.

Also expected to address the meeting is chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda, Accountant-General Daniel Muchemwa, Auditor-General Mildred Chiri, chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee Pauline Mpariwa; representatives from the donor community, International Public Sector Accounting  Standards Board, the Chartered Institute of  Public Finance  and Accountancy, the International Federation of Accountants, and Ed Olowo-Okere, director at World Bank Group, responsible for financial accountability and reporting — Governance Global Practice.

The auditor-general of Ghana, Daniel Yaw Domelevo, the accountant general office in the ministry of Finance in Tanzania, Willard Yohana Kalulu, and George Higgins from IDG Consulting in South Africa, who is the author of the research paper Ipsas implementation: Current status and challenges, are also expected to grace the occasion.

Other participants will include change management experts as well as representatives from central government, urban and rural authorities, and discussion challenges in their jurisdictions.

— The Financial Gazette

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