The Association of Chartered Accountants (ACCA) has inaugurated the ACCA Resource Centre at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) to assist in advanced training and education of finance and accounting students.
According to the Portfolio Head, East and West Africa, Norman G. Williams, the presence of the centre is important because it will go a long way to support the economic development of Ghana.
He said: “Basically we started talking about partnering with universities in Ghana to help them train and produce employable people. And so we looked at a number of critical areas and we realised that finance and accounting was key because of our own mandate in the markets to help produce finance professionals to support the economic development of Ghana.”
“So we didn’t want to just come in and sell ACCA qualification but also put in place tangible structures that will support that agenda”, he added.
The ACCA Resource Centre is furnished with a serene library stocked with relevant materials related to the course as well as past works of individuals.
He noted that after the research works are done and completed, the ACCA share some of the content with stakeholders. “We also work closely with the public sector. So if you take the controller and accountant general department and audit service, we work closely with them with a view to contribute to the development of the finance professional Ghana”, he said.
The centre also has a spacious computer laboratory area which provides access to computers and a conference room where events, seminars and conferences can be held for both academic and non-academic purposes.
Norman added that the ACCA is not just focused in the area of accountant qualification but it also involves thought leadership programs which include strategic and relevant areas such as corporate governance, integrated reporting, sustainability reporting, audit, SME and development.
Touching on the prospects of the resource centre, he said apart from the primary objective to support the University of Ghana Business School, the facility will go a long way to enhance the brand and market value of the UGBS.
He said: “In the end we hope to achieve two things for the setup of this place. The primary objective is to support the University of Ghana to produce employable finance professionals and that is why we are putting this facility in place. So basically, it is to support this institution because we need to bring ourselves up to global standards in terms of education.
“But there are others such as enhancing the brand of the business school. So if this facility is in place within the University of Ghana Business School, it has a tendency to contribute to its own marketability in terms of the brand association of ACCA and the University of Ghana Business School. I also think that it puts us in good standing to our stakeholders who are student members and faculty members. So in the end it is value added”, said Norman Williams.
He was was quick to debunk the notion that most students fail studying finance and accounting. He said: “It is a wrong impression to think that people fail massively in ACCA. The youngest chartered accountant in Ghana was 21 years old and she was a graduate of the University of Ghana which means that everybody can do it.”
He however noted that there are few obstacles that set in such as lack of tuition support. He said it is one major obstacle that contributes to the successful completion of the course and called on government and other stakeholders to come on board to provide the necessary tuition support.
He again noted that, there are online resources available to aid in the success of the course during studies adding that students can be in the comfort of their homes and offices to receive online lessons as well.
“Fortunately, we have four exams sittings in a year, relative to the previous periods where we used to have only two exams sittings in a year. So if someone wants to write two exams per sitting, then it simply means you have the chance to write two exams in March, two in June and the other four will be spread evenly for the month of September and December. This implies that within two and a half years, you can become a chartered accountant”, he said.
Since its inception in Ghana in2009, the ACCA has produced thousands of ACCA members of professional accountants. Currently, there are close to about 2000 members with 1600 of them being active members. In terms of students, there are over 7000 students who are active learning on the journey to become chartered accountants and finance professionals.