The Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) last week launched its 2013-2016 strategic plan aimed at amongst others, addressing the organisation’s long term sustainability.
It also aims to ensure that BICA positions its qualification and brand; increase the number of BICA members and professional accountants in the country as well as improving the services that the institution offers.
Addressing stakeholders at the launch, BICA president, Tshegofatso Modise said that amongst major challenges facing the institute is the shortage of human resources to implement the strategy. “The current BICA pass rates are low, primarily due to the compulsory requirement to study and work simultaneously as well as the calibre of the current student pool and other challenges in the delivery of the qualification. There is a high compliance to standards burden as a result of an onerous regulatory framework. This situation is expected to worsen going forward as the trend towards increasing regulation continues,” said Modise.
There were also indications that BICA is currently over-dependent on its strategic partners, other service providers and the government. Further, it will not be easy to position the BICA brand to compete against more established competition. BICA will not be able to effectively compete if it does not attain reciprocity for its qualifications.
Gazette Business also understands that the organisation has not done enough research to adequately inform its understanding of its clients’ needs and it does not get enough support from non-practice firms. Further, the institute is negatively affected by government’s slow turnaround times such as decision making, disbursement of funds amongst others.
As part of the objectives that will drive the strategy, Modise said they aim to increase the total number of professional accountants from the 2010 target baseline of 1, 000 to 1, 455 by 2016. “It is still a far cry from what the country needs. However, next year we want to have the first batch of graduates. We are also looking into increasing our revenue and be self sustainable and not rely on government,” she said. In addition, she said they are looking at starting an accounting technician qualification, and as such they have engaged relevant stakeholders as to how to go about it. The new strategy follows the close of the 2010-2013 strategy that was built on establishing a BICA qualification, Governance and Capacity, Standards, Codes and Procedures and Continuous Professional Education initiatives.
Following the passing of the Accountants Act 2010, the BICA introduced its own professional accountancy qualification, the BICA qualification with effect from 1st April 2011.