Accountants urged to improve service delivery



MASERU – The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Lejone Mpotjoane, has said that there is need to improve service delivery in the country, especially within the accounting institutions. He made the remarks last week Friday at the Lesotho Institute of Accountants (LIA) inaugural gala dinner where he was the guest of honour.  Mpotjoane said service delivery is the cornerstone of the country’s development, and all should play their part, including accountants.

In many institutions, he said, accounting officers often delay customers and even advise them to seek assistance at certain times, for instance, at 2 p.m. He urged them to do their work at all times to assist customers and not when they feel like it. Mpotjane said it is time that accountants reviewed their service level standards, which should be agreed upon by the customers. “It should not only be for the convenience of the civil servants but also the satisfaction of our clients. Therefore, we should improve our service level standards at all the institutions that we serve. Accountants are charged with controlling the financial resources of all the institutions that they are responsible for.

“In Lesotho, there is a high rate of fraud and corruption that we see in government and private institutions and this corruption is being enabled by accountants,” Mpotjane said. He said LIA is one of the few professional institutions in the country strengthening issues of governance, adding that they were called during the national reforms and they still need to be recalled, along with other sectors, because of their significance.

Managing Partner at HLB Chartered Accountants & Consultants Lesotho, Robert Likhang, who was also present said there is need to professionalise careers so they can contribute meaningfully towards development. He told Public Eye in an interview that there is also a need for continuous professional development. “An important thing is ensuring that we professionalise the different careers. Professionalising means hard exams are passed, ethical standards are set, and there are mandatory continuous professional developments going beyond just technical skills but business skills, people skills, and leadership skills.”

He added: “In Lesotho, we have a highly professionalised accounting profession, and members are subjected to compliance with the highest level of global standards of ethics. If members violate the standards, they would lose their membership in the profession and certifications.”

Employers must therefore be aware of the importance of employing someone who is regulated by LIA, according to Likhang. He further showed that it is the employer or client’s right and obligation to hire a professional accountant to deliver services of technical quality with the requisite ethical conduct and behaviour. Likhang noted that the title “Accountant” is sufficiently protected such that no one should claim to be a professional unless they are a member of LIA, adding that engaging a service provider or employee who is not professionally regulated is the highest risk an employer or client can take.

LIA held the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on September 24, where the 46th Council of the Institute was elected. Incoming President Kosi Mokoone pledged to diligently lead the office he has been appointed to. He said he will make smart use of resources to drive the institution forward. Accountants will work on extending their availability to support the government and remain a key link between members of the institution and non-members.

The Lesotho Institute of Accountants (LIA) was established by the Accountants Act No. 9 of 1977 with a mandate to regulate the accounting profession in Lesotho. To this end, LIA provides for education and examination as well as training of professional accountants and registration into membership thereof.

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