The Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA), an organization established under the Accountants Act to regulate accountancy profession in this country, is expected to start taking legal action and prosecute accountants who are involved in unprofessional conduct.
BICA confirmed recently that the association is seeking advice on how to take legal action towards companies and accountants who deliberately breach accounting ethics.
“We have approached Attorney General and the Police for advice on how we can take legal action towards accountants found in professional misconduct such as embezzlement of funds and money laundering. We are also waiting for Ministry of Finance to advice us,” said BICA Director of Training and Professional Development, Nametso Laletsang.
She stated that in its bid to fight misconduct in the accountancy profession, BICA has started registering accountants. “We have issues on embezzlement of funds where accountants are involved. With registration we will be able to trace and discipline, some through public notice of suspended and blacklisted accountants,” she said.
Laletsang stated that all accountants in the country are expected to have registered with BICA by December 2017 and added that with effect from next year legal action will be taken against any accounts found practicing without registration with the organization.
BICA Marketing and Public Relations Manager Oupa Gaofise warned that there will be hefty penalties for accountants who practice without registration. “They will be fined money not exceeding P500 000 or imprisoned for a period not exceeding 10 years,” he said adding that Accounting firms and other companies offering taxation services, management consulting and financial management are also expected to register. “The intention is to also remove fly by night accountants in the profession.”
BICA has indicated that in addition to ensuring compliance with ethics, registration is expected to empower accountants in the country. “BICA is known for assessing and certifying accounting professionals to exacting high standards. This means that your BICA registration proves your abilities and competencies which is an important advantage in securing employment. It also serves to reassure clients who might require your services.”
Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA) has also indicated that efforts are underway to amend BAOA Act to ensure registration of auditors and audit firms which covers audit reviews and financial reviews.