Uncovering Potential in Botswana

I recently had the pleasure of travelling to Botswana, in Africa, to meet with members and partners.

Proper regulation of accounting and audit was introduced in Botswana at the end of the 1980s. The Botswana Institute of Accountants was then renamed the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) in 2011, and the Botswana Professional Accountancy Qualification was introduced.

Representatives from BICA were clear with me that they face a number of challenges, both internally and externally of the profession, in order to develop their qualification further and increase their reach.

If they are able to overcome these challenges, and improve the integrity of their branding, there will be scope to expand to other markets in the region, including Zambia.

I sensed a genuine commitment to ensure that Botswana’s future accountants were equipped with the skills for the challenges of today. BICA’s new technical director, Eddie Bayen, had some specific ideas relating to their training modules heading forward.

I also met with representatives from PWC, Baker Tilly and RSM, who gave me further insight into some of the challenges relating to training.

The quality of training, and thus of the students, has improved in recent years. However, there is still a strong focus on improving and diversifying the content of their exams.

PWC are currently undergoing a major digital transformation, which should assist with the efficiency of their programmes. Encouragingly, they appeared very favourable towards BICA students.

I feel there is a lot of opportunity in Africa; the continent will undoubtedly play a key role in our vision of a World of Strong Economies.

This was a fascinating trip; meeting with members is the highlight of my role, and Botswana was particularly insightful as it was slightly “off the beaten track” in the context of our profession, still working to build up its accountancy base. We have a duty to ensure our members get the most out of their membership and are provided the best support we are able to give them. These trips certainly instil in me a strong sense of the global community we are so fortunate to have, and I hope that my visits do the same for our members in these countries.