The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, and the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana (ICAG), Mr Christian Tetteh Sottie, have called on professional accountants to use their expertise to halt the rot that has bedevilled the financial management systems of the country.
While Mrs Justice Wood called on accountants to use their expertise to provide financial leadership at all levels that they found themselves, Mr Sottie said: “The rot and indiscipline in our society these days require that we place emphasis on a set of professional knowledge, skills, values and attitudes.”
He added that “as custodians and keepers of the nation’s purse, we (accountants) cannot afford to disappoint the citizenry”.
He also stated that considering the spate of impropriety going on in the country, professional accountants had the immense role of enhancing transparency and accountability in corporate governance in both the private and the public sectors.
“We would have failed our nation if we did not,” Mr Sottie said.
The two made the call at the 2016 Presidential Luncheon of the ICAG in Accra last Friday.
It was on the theme: ‘Effective governance in organisations: The role of the Chartered Accountant’.
The annual event has been institutionalised to create a platform for professional accountants to interact with their employers and clients in a congenial atmosphere free from the encumbrances of office work.
Mrs Justice Wood said sound corporate governance and issues related to sound financial discipline, including institutional and individual integrity, transparency and accountability, were crucial to socio-economic development.
She added that good governance in both the private and the public sectors was critical to engendering sustainable socio-economic growth and national development.
“Thus every individual who has had the privilege to lead an organisation as the chief executive officer, Chief Justice, in my case, minister, Member of Parliament, senior manager or board member must be interested in the rudiments of effective governance and grow his or her knowledge and expertise in the subject over the time,” she explained.
The Chief Justice said while it was true that every organisation had its own internal dynamics and culture which provided the context and background for its operations and conduct, there were general governance principles that could be applied by all organisations with guaranteed success.
Dilating on the theme, Mr Sottie said the need for effective corporate governance was underlined by the necessity to protect and enhance shareholder value, achieve an institution’s obligation to employees and secure the interests of all stakeholders in the corporate environment.
That goal, he said, was to guard against all manner of abuses capable of leading to corporate scandals and financial crises that could threaten corporate relationships.
“It is my view that professional accountants have a key role to play when it comes to the composition of boards, accountability and reporting, enterprise risk management, sustainability issues and independence,” he said.
Mr Sottie said as the world moved towards global market economies, with investments and operations crossing borders to an even greater extent, professional accountants needed to broaden their global outlook in order to understand the context in which businesses operated.
The Chief Executive Officer of NABS Business Consulting, Nii Apai Adumansa-Baddoo, who delivered the keynote address, said standards of corporate governance were determined by the measures which institutions took, whether voluntary or not, to improve on the way they were directed and controlled by the legal, financial and ethical environment in which they worked.
“The corporate governance framework should ensure greater transparency in corporate business, as well as the timely and accurate disclosure of all material matters regarding the corporation, including the financial situation, performance, ownership and governance of the company,” he added.