KPMG, Shasat UK Launch Academy To Plug IFRS Skill Gap

KPMG Nigeria and Shasat (UK) Limited have launched the Africa IFRS Academy (AIA) to address the shortage of skills and to offer world class international financial reporting standard (IFRS) training to Nigerian and African accounting professionals as well as top management personnel, just as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has once again called for greater compliance to globally accepted financial standards among stakeholders.

Speaking at the launch which held at the Southern Sun Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, Wednesday, Sarah Alade, CBN’s deputy governor, economic policy, while commending KPMG and Shasat UK for setting up the academy, stated that the move would help address one of the major challenges to compliance among Nigerian and African business entities by breaching the skills gap and ensure that the continent was abreast of global best practices.

“Attempts at standardizing financial reporting have become universal with many countries jettisoning their national standards for the IFRS. The IFRS Foundation in 2014 completed a research on the use of IFRS around the world. Of 129 countries reviewed, nearly all made a public commitment to IFRS.

“More than countries surveyed and two-thirds of G-20 members have already adopted IFRS for most or all publicly listed companies while many of those jurisdictions permit IFRS for at least some of those listed companies,” Alade said.

She explained further that global investors were more attracted to markets that they could understand, trust and have confidence in. For this reason, she added, countries that adopt internationally accepted accounting standards were at an advantage over those that do not.

She traced the Nigerian banking crisis of 2008 to a weakness in financial reporting and disclosures, hence the need for compliance to the global standard set by the IFRS.  She added that to address the weaknesses within the banking system and the economy, the CBN has since been at the vanguard of initiatives that enhanced full disclosures and financial reporting practices in the nation’s banking system.

Emphasizing the need for adopting the IFRS standard, Alade stated that there was “no gainsaying that adoption of IFRS has had a salutary effect on the safety, soundness and stability of Nigeria’s banking system,” while adding that a key challenge for Nigerian companies was the shortage of skilled personnel within the local environment to drive the implementation of IFRS.

The CBN deputy governor, while appreciating efforts that have been made by stakeholders to bridge capacity gaps, added that there was still much work to be done to ensure that “personnel at all levels are better abreast of regulations.”

She implored all members of the financial community to “leverage on the resources provided by the academy to enhance their understanding of IFRS so that we can continue to reap the benefit of the implementation of this very important global financial reporting standard.”

The panel discussion session which was moderated by Tola Adeyemi, partner & head, audit services, KPMG, saw contributions from Rashidat Adebisi, CFO, Mansard Insurance plc; Demola Odeyemi, executive director, GTB; Olumide Oluyinka, head, consultancy services, KPMG; on the benefits, challenges and system development issues in respect of IFRS compliance and adoption.

Agnes Lutukai gave a presentation of “IFRS 9: Game Changer in Accounting for Financial Instruments” while Oluwafemi Awotoye and Sunil Kansai handled the formal unveiling of the AIA website. Seyi Bickersteth, national senior partner and chief executive officer at KPMG Professional Services Limited, gave the vote of thanks.