DFID drafts in UK accountancy skills to boost international development

Top accountancy institutions will provide expertise and skills to developing countries to enable growth.

The UK’s top accountancy institutions will be deployed to developing countries to help them better manage their finances and improve their business environments, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.

Chartered accountants working for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), who set standards for professional financial advice across the UK, will join the UK’s Investment Facility for Utilising Specialist Expertise. This DFID-funded programme provides developing countries with access to UK expertise to help them create the infrastructure and environment needed for growth.

ICAEW and CIPFA will be the first chartered accountancy bodies to join the network. On request from individual countries like Yemen or Somalia, their staff will be deployed on short term assignments to train officials and assist with developing and implementing policies to improve transparency, public financial management and financial accountability.

Justine Greening said:

“Our accountancy profession is world class, and these ground-breaking partnerships will allow countries in the developing world to benefit from the very best expertise Britain has to offer.

“If we are going to end aid dependency through jobs, that means governments and businesses having access to good quality people and standards to create the right environment for investment.”

The announcement coincides with a meeting between Justine Greening and the top 5 accountancy institutes to discuss how they can cooperate with DFID in the future.

Set up in 2012, IFUSE currently works with 14 UK government departments and public bodies to deliver short term, targeted expertise on issues identified by our partners in-country. Past examples of its work include experts from the Office of Fair Trading training officials at the Competition Commission of Pakistan on issues from public procurement to mergers, and HMRC supporting officials at the Tanzanian Revenue Authority to make it easier for citizens and businesses to pay their taxes.

CIPFA’s Chief Executive Rob Whiteman said:

“Good public financial management is the foundation of financial stability and economic growth no matter which country you live in. Getting this right globally will have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of individuals and on the business environment across the world.

“This is why CIPFA is so excited to be joining the IFUSE network and to be lending its experience and expertise to this truly transformative DFID initiative.”

CIPFA currently works to improve financial management in 8 DFID focus countries, including Bangladesh, Tajikistan and Nigeria. In Nigeria, for example, CIPFA’s qualifications are being implemented to help the government to introduce internationally recognised public sector accounting standards.

ICAEW’s Chief Executive Michael Izza said:

“A professional accountancy body can help improve financial transparency, increase business confidence, incentivise investment and underpin growth. Government departments, regulators and businesses all need reliable financial information and the guidance of professional accountants. We realise that strengthening national accountancy institutes will contribute to economic growth and we are assisting our development partners to create a new generation of accountants so that their countries can evolve independently. ICAEW has been building financial capacity with the accountancy institutes for some years and understands the vital role they play in developing their countries economic architecture. IFUSE is an opportunity for our profession to give some practical and expert advice and guidance on improving financial skills and standards in business and the public sector.”

ICAEW has a full-time dedicated team for international development and has undertaken around 20 capacity building projects in 15 countries over 5 years, mostly in Africa and Asia. This work focuses on reducing capacity gaps in organisations while improving accounting and auditing practices in both the private and public sectors. Their overall goal is to strengthen transparency and improve the climate for investment.

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