At the recent World Congress of Accountants (WCOA) which took place in Kuala Lumpur Conference Centre, Malaysia over 900 Nigerian Accountants attended the congress that attracted about 6,500 delegates from 157 members and associates of IFAC in about 123 countries.
The WCOA is an international forum for accounting professionals to debate the issues affecting the accounting industry. The congress is held every four years. The theme of the 2010 edition of the congress which was “Accountants: Sustaining value creation” was held under the sponsorship of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).
About 800 of the Nigeria’s delegates in attendance came from the public sector. It is estimated that participants from Nigeria must have spent over N430 million for their logistics. Each registered delegate paid $900 registration fee ($800 early payment), $1551 air ticket for economy on Qata air ($3,500 business class; $1,650 on Emirates economy), $56 for airport transfers and about $100 per person per night (for about 4 nights) for accommodation in the city centre. About $2,607 was spent per person excluding feeding and other luxuries. Some of the delegates arrived in Kuala Lumpur two (2) days before the events and left two (2) days after.
A Nigerian who also attended the congress, Gbenga Okubadejo told the Economic Confidential that the events had in attendance prominent players in the business world across the globe. The WCOA 2010 served as an excellent platform for exchange of ideas on issues and challenges faced by the global accounting fraternity and the wider business community.
This year conference, according to Okubadejo, came in at the time the world expects accountants to act more in the public interest to sustain the values they have created. According to him the Accountant and the Accounting Profession exist on the societal license given to them by the society and are therefore required to act in the best interest of the public and not just serve the interest of a sectional group. Professional accountants operate in all facets of the global economy creating value and upholding business integrity in both the private and public sectors. In a world demanding short term solutions, professional accountants are challenged to sustain long term growth.
Mrs Elizabeth Adegite, Past President, Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa (ABWA) and Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) 2009 – 2010, presented a paper on ‘’strenghtening the Accounting Profession in Emerging Economies’’ in one of the sessions.
The programme ended on Thursday 11th, 2010 with a dinner with all delegates expected to be in casual dress or in their native attires. It was easier to see Nigerians in attendance in their different attires. One would have wondered if it was a Nigerian show. The congress also provided unique perspectives on reviving faith in Islamic finance in sync with Malaysia’s position as an international Islamic finance centre.
What is unclear is whether Nigeria’s delegates would be able to create and sustain value for the money expended for the congress.
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