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Some key challenges facing Kenya:

  • the threat of political instability
  • a rapidly changing demography
  • the quality of public sector administration
  • fluctuations in government revenues
  • a high propensity to natural disasters
  • high levels of unemployment.

Additionally one of the most pressing challenges for Kenya’s economy is the need to improve corporate governance in the private and public sectors, including state corporations.

A corporate governance crisis

Too often, Kenya’s public and private sectors are failing to take advantage of the core competencies of professional accountants such as:

  • effective financial management, reporting and planning
  • effective use of resources
  • revenue generation
  • data analysis
  • high standards of corporate governance.

Weak corporate governance sits behind many of the failures in financial reporting. 

A contributing factor in this corporate governance crisis has been the use of poorly skilled bookkeepers and unqualified 'accountants' in roles that should be reserved for professional accountants, qualified through a rigorous training and examination process and membership of a reputable accountancy body, such as ICPAK and ACCA.

An evolved set of skills

In addition to a core set of professional skills, there is now a growing need for accountants to have 'softer' skills, such as communication skills, as well as being equipped with the knowledge and skills to address the latest business challenges, such as:

  • cybersecurity
  • use of social media
  • proficiency in e-procurement.

If professional accountants are to thrive and add value in the future, they will need to develop the skills and competencies that economies and organisations demand. Those in and around the accountancy profession must plan for the expected, the unexpected, the predictable and the unpredictable.

Lead ACCA author Narayanan Vaidyanathan.

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