Minister with responsibility for Energy Senator Darcy Boyce is advising against the wholesale acceptance of international regulations imposed on Barbados and the region.
Boyce suggested to prospective accountants that not all standards were suitable for regional economies, stating some must be modified to ensure they are more appropriate.
Addressing the annual students’ breakfast accountant forum at the Radisson Aquatica Resort, Boyce argued that some of these regulations did not deal effectively with issues of entrepreneurship in small economies.
“When we as accounting professionals or students look at the standards that we have to apply, we have to be very conscious of what those standards are propelling us to do and we have to appreciate how we accept those standards and how we have to make the case, justification for somebody not following all of those standards,” Boyce said.
“This is not a call for us to abandon them, it is a call for us to be conscious of the shortcomings of them particularly in our economies and our companies and to make our voices heard by whatever means we have in the profession so that more attention is paid to the needs of small companies in small economies. We are training people not to accept, hook, line and sinker what comes from other agencies, but to examine it and question it and to modify it as may be more suitable for our economies. To do other than that would be unprofessional.”
His call comes as the administration continues to struggle with issues of accountability, given the latest Auditor General’s report, which questions cost overruns, late payments by Government to contractors and the method of accounting used.
Boyce, a trained accountant, did not speak to those issues. However, he extended an invitation for the studying accounts to consider pursuing jobs in the public sector.
“It does not have to be at the political level, but there ought to be several opportunities in government for professional accountants and lawyers and others. If you take away debt service, each ministry probably deals with something like $200 million worth of expenditure. And $200 million of expenditure that is a reasonable size to be passing through a business. So I make the point that we must not sneeze at government; we really ought to be pressing hard and making the case for top level accounting professionals to come into government and to practise in government as they would practise elsewhere because government is not nickel and dime business, government is big business. So it needs to have some of the best professionals working for government,” Boyce explained.
He also advised the attentive audience to pay close attention to the changes in business cycles, and to be constantly innovative in order to keep their firms fresh and at the forefront.
During the forum, which focused on the future needs of the industry, the students called for ethics, good governance and greater accountability both in the private and public sectors.