…targets immediate expansion and improvement of standards
BUSINESS consultant Robert Likhang, was recently appointed the new president of the Lesotho Institute of Accountants (LIA) and says his immediate target is to increase membership, improve standards and the relationship with the stakeholders during his one-year term of leading the organisation.
Mr Likhang, who is also the board chair of the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA), was officially unveiled as LIA president last Friday after being elected at the organisation’s annual general meeting held on 30 September.
Upon election, Mr Likhang who founded and operates RL Consulting, aptly coined his office tenure ‘the year of increases’. He succeeded current government secretary Moahloli Mphaka.
“It is the year in which we should experience increases in membership, improve professional standards, relationships and organisational strengthening while pushing to advance efforts that my predecessor has started,” Mr Likhang said.
“We are soon to go into a retreat as council to entrench these increases into our strategic plan and policies.”
He said they would seek to engage what their stakeholders find what they want and not just impose things on them.
On increasing membership, Mr Likhang said: “We will implement procedures for recognition of prior learning, without reducing the standards and as thus obtain more people into membership starting with lower levels of Technician and General Accountant. While we increase the numbers, we will need to retain them and to that effect, we shall increase and strengthen membership benefits and welfare.
“We will offer technical support (especially preparing our members for the fourth industrial revolution) and negotiate supplier benefits offered to our members.
“Reputation and brand equity are critical to a professional accounting body and a professional services regulator. We are going to improve professional standards in the areas of ethics, standards for public accountants, registered auditors and tax advisors.
“Our firms will be better regulated and quality assurance will be strengthened. We will work with the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO), the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) and the Association of Bankers among others to ensure that our members provide reliable information and advisory services. We are glad to have just recruited a new and able technical manager and have just reconstituted a professional standards & quality assurance committee,” Mr Likhang said.
Mr Likhang added: “The Accountancy profession may undoubtedly be a supreme profession for economic growth and financial accountability, however the economy cannot fully grow without other professions”.
“We will increase talks and forge relationships with other professional bodies for instance the association for engineers and the Law Society among others.
“We plan to lead corporate governance in Lesotho and work with any groupings in that regard as well as spearhead integrated reporting along with all interested parties. Our relationship with government will take a bigger leap, in fact we will forge to participate in the national reforms programme.
“My immediate past president (IPP) Mr Mphaka has led interventions with government by offering training to Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament (PAC) and these advances will continue. We are glad that LIA participates in other national structures such as the LRA (where we are ably represented by Councillor Lefu Mokaoane), Auditor General advisory Board (where we are represented ably by Councillor Leboela Lebete and vice president Sebehela Selepe).”
He said they intend to establish new relationships with other stakeholders among them the Central Bank of Lesotho, the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation.
He said they are in talks with the LRA to ensure a better regulated relationship to ensure the promotion of tax education, use of our members as tax agents and advisors.
“We shall extend the increase of relationships to students, institutes of higher learning (CAS, Private tutorial companies, Universities), the past presidents forum (which the IPP Mphaka will be a liaison) the media etc.”
Mr Likhang said they are also working to strengthen strong governance systems within the association and the secretariat while the council will maintain an oversight role empowering the secretariat with the authority to operate “effectively unrestricted by short-termism and micro management of the president and council”.
“To achieve this, we must believe in our people at the secretariat, recognise them and empower them. The institute is as strong and as powerful as the secretariat, they are not pawns in the game of chess but they are queens and kings that determine the future. We are thankful for the selfless efforts of our small secretariat despite inadequate rewards due to our limited resources,” Mr Likhang said.