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Smaller companies urged to use affordable accountants

ICPAU, Financial Reporting Awards. PHOTO via @ICPAU1

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) has advised smaller companies that cannot afford to hire expensive audit firms to prepare their accounts to make use of the cheaper auditors that the institute has certified.

Stephen Ineget, the chairman of the Financial Reporting Awards Committee, told reporters at the institute’s offices in Kamwokya that many small businesses had fallen prey to the unregistered and fraudulent accountants that end up misleading them.

Ineget was announcing the call for entries for this year’s Financial Reporting Awards -FIRE, organised by the institute. The awards aim at recognizing companies that prepare their accounts well, able to show their revenue and expenditure flows and growth trends.

But smaller companies are unable to participate because their reporting standards are wanting. He said the institute has listed up 200 accounting firms on its website that can help smaller companies prepare their books of accounts.  He said this year’s edition of the awards will focus on building integrated reporting amongst SMEs for sustainability.

The Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) has found that sometimes, small companies and taxpayers are disadvantaged by lack of the financial clout to query Uganda Revenue Revenue (URA) assessments before the Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT) because they can hardly hire an accountant or a tax lawyer to help them be prepared.

A company requires at least 5 million Shillings to get a good accountant to prepare its books. The established audit firms like KPMG, EY and PricewaterhouseCoopers-PwC can charge in tens of millions – obviously out of reach of small businesses.

This year, according to Mark Omona, the director standards and regulations at ICPAU, the government agencies have also been implored to submit entries.

This would help them to learn from the peers that participate in the awards and experts on how well they can prepare their accounts. Only five public government agencies participated last year.

Many government agencies are audited by the Auditor General but the institute says this would give them an opportunity to have external experts look at their books and advise them accordingly.

The deadline for submitting entries to participate in the awards is 30 September 2019.

ICPAU is a regulator of accountants in Uganda established in 1992 by an Act of Parliament, now The Accountants Act, 2013.

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