The Kenyan National Treasury’s recent mandate that public entities should submit financial reports quarterly, rather than just annually, should be welcomed, argues Theuns Holtshousen, Business Leader, CaseWare Africa.
He believes the move will set the tone for greater financial accountability and effective use of financial data across the entire economy. In support of the move, CaseWare Africa has partnered with ICPAK (Institute of Chartered Public Accountants of Kenya) to offer preferential pricing of CaseWare software combined with training to be delivered in conjunction with the Institute.
“The Kenyan National Treasury’s move is highly significant and not just for the public sector,” said Holtshousen.
“Greater public-sector commitment to financial transparency will inevitably prompt the private sector to follow suit. The Nigerian Stock Exchange has made a similar requirement for companies listed on its board and this is likely also to raise the ante for the private sector across Africa.
“As important, the ability to submit credible financials quarterly without totally hamstringing finance departments will provide a burning incentive for the public service to pursue automated solutions.”
Automating the compilation of financial reports, and then the entire audit process, has numerous benefits for any organisation. Among the benefits is alignment with global accounting frameworks like IFRS and IFRS for SMEs in the private sector and IPSAS Accrual and IPSAS Cash in the public sector.
Other key benefits include transparency which in turn will reduce fraud opportunities and human error caused by the need to input data multiple times. Because data is inputted only once, there is one version of the truth and the data is highly credible. And because the process is automated, finance professionals can minimise the time spent on compiling financials and maximise the time spent analysing financial data, thus supporting smarter business decision-making.
In the public sector, specifically, automation will help to ensure that tax money is spent more effectively, something that will benefit the economy as a whole. Holtshousen says that the compliance agenda has become highly significant across East Africa and Africa, creating an imperative to pursue the efficiencies and transparency inherent in automation.
“Our long-term strategy is to complement the benefits of our global templates with meticulous localisation,” he said.
“We invest significantly in customising templates to accommodate local legislative requirements and currencies – a good example is the integration of the Kenyan Companies Act into our templates.
“Another key element is a strong local presence, bolstered by the support of our parent company, AdaptIT. Our Nairobi and Mauritius offices are fully set up to support customers across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia.”