About 5000 Accounting Officers from various public sector institutions are to benefit from the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) Accredited Certification Training programme.
The year-long programme has nine modules, ranging from January to December, and will equip participants to prepare and present financial statements on accumulation basis as required in Regulation 208 of the Public Financial Management Regulations 2019 L.I 2378.
It is organised by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD), and sponsored by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The programme will be implemented on an e-learning platform provided by the PricewaterhouseCoopers.
It is expected to provide a hands-on practical training to Public Sector Accounting Officers in the preparation and presentation of IPSAS compliant financial statements.
Speaking at the launch of the IPSAS Accredited Certification Programme, the Acting Controller and Accountant General, Kwesi Kwaning-Bosompem, said the training would be facilitated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG).
According to him, in order to ensure transparency, public accountability and quality financial reporting, the government had implemented various Public Financial Management Reforms.
These reforms he postulated had over the years been grounded in the Public Financial Management Reforms Strategy and developed to serve as a National Strategic document to aid the development of the country’s Public Financial Management programmes.
To this end, the goal of the strategy was to establish efficient, transparent and accountable resource mobilisation, allocation, management and utilisation of resources to meet the country’s development agenda.
He said a key progamme under the capacity work stream was the IPSAS Accredited Certification Programme for the public sector accounting officers, auditors and other stakeholders to enhance their capacity in the preparation, presentation and audit of accrual basis IPSAS financial statements.
Mr Kwaning-Bosompem further disclosed that until 2012, Public Accounts had been prepared in compliance with General Accepted Accounting Principles and in accordance with financial laws of Ghana.
He said the financial statements were prepared on cash basis; however, realising the shortcomings on cash-based accounting, the modified accrual system of financial reporting was adopted.
“This invariably affected our Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability ratings,” he said.
Mr Kwaning-Bosompem said it was, therefore, a relief that the Ministry of Finance approved the adoption and implementation of IPSAS, which ensured Public Accounts were prepared on Accrual Basis, in line with international standards.
He said IPSAS would inherently improve fiscal transparency and accountability in the public accounts.
“The increasing use of public financial information both locally and internationally places greater responsibility on public sector accountants to disclose adequate information in their financial statements to aid interpretation, comparability and understandability,” Mr Kwaning-Bosompem, added.
He believes an enhanced public financial information would support decision making across the public sector and also guarantee consistency of financial information.
Mr Kwaning-Bosompem said the adoption of IPSAS would improve the quality and comprehensiveness of financial information reported by public sector entities to provide credibility as well as acceptance.
An Economic Governance and Public Financial Management Specialist, Dr Hamza Bukari Zakaria, said at the Swiss Embassy, SECO lent their support to the country’s Public Financial Management Reform, adding that the focus was to aid Government in the implementation of accrual-based IPSAS.
“We conceptualised the operation as an additional financing through a single donor trust fund to an active World Bank project financed by an IDA loan of $45million,” he said.
He further noted that accrual-based accounting systems enabled the production of financial information that provided a comprehensive and accurate view of government financial performance, financial position, and cash flows.
He said in contrast to cash-based accounting, accrual accounting recognised transactions as underlying economic events occurred, regardless of the timing of related cash receipts and payments.
Dr Zakaria said the launch of an IPSAS certification programme complemented and reinforced the collective resolve to institutionalise IPSAS in continued professional development of public sector accountants.
“I wish to reiterate the continued commitment of Switzerland’s support through SECO to PFM reforms in Ghana,” he added.
The IPSAS was adopted in 2014 and approved by the Ministry of Finance with the CAGD assigned to take responsibility for the implementation process to aid in adequate financial reporting.
It is a set of standards issued by IPSAS Board of International Federation of Accountants to regulate and guide the preparation, presentation and disclosure of general purpose financial statements in the public sector across the world.