By:Thandiwe Kubere

Lesotho Institute of Accountants (LIA), on Friday, inaugurated the 46th council in Maseru- introducing the incoming president as well as the council members. This annual event, held at Avani Maseru, follows the elections of the LIA council at the Annual General Meeting.

Among other duties, LIA is mandated to regulate the accountancy profession, broaden beneficial opportunities in the industry and further enhance education and training to the registered members of LIA. The council also has the obligation to regulate the accountancy practice in Lesotho. The mission is to develop, enhance and effectively regulate the accounting profession in Lesotho through: Provision of internationally recognized relevant education and training programmes, as well as ensuring compliance.

The Chief Executive Officer of LIA, Mr. Lethola Mokete, enlightened that the council is selected after every three years, and those who fill the seats are expected to be an oversight body of the institute, further working closely with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, as well as the Auditor General to expand the opportunities in finance and accountancy industry. He said, “These are the people who you have given the mandate to make sure that they take the accounting profession to the next level in the current information age.

“Today we are going to celebrate the leadership of this institution. We do not really recognize the amount of time, commitment, and effort put in to the institute. So today is for us to be grateful for what they do and celebrate with them”, he said.

The outgoing President, who was also the first women president, Mrs. ‘Matumelo Ralebakeng, expressed her gratitude for the support and trust she got throughout her work journey at LIA. She passed her appreciation to accountants for having granted her an opportunity of become the first female president of the LIA after 45 years since its inception. “I don’t know why it had to be me and I thank God for the opportunity.” She further noted that they recognize the government’s support in their professional initiatives and believes this will enhance their contribution towards the development of this country’s economy.

 “I wish to thank everyone who ensured that the work of the council was made easier. I specifically wish to thank yourselves accountants. In the past year or so, we had started seeing numbers increase in our events and this gives us hope as leadership, that accountants are starting to understand and really participate as well as show support in the initiatives of this profession”, she said. She highlighted that the outgoing council served their term diligently because mostly the council serves voluntarily, without much financial recognition. “We dedicated our time, resources and knowledge. Today I will be joining the most prestigious body in the accountancy profession, called the forum of past presidency from the LIA.”

She further highlighted that there were three outstanding members of the council and commended them for willingly serving with outmost dedication, further awarding them with gifts. Starting with the council member in the General accountant category, he awarded Mr. Qothelo Qothelo, secondly she acknowledged Mr. Moshusaitsane Moshoeshoe, and lastly, outgoing council member representing technician accountants Ms. Lindiwe Lebone.

The incoming President of LIA, Mr. Khosi Mokone, assured that they will take over the projects which were already started by the past council and promise to make good use of limited resources of LIA. He declared, “One ethical principle of our code of ethics, which we all subscribe to, is competence and due care. There must be value creation to clients and employers as a result of delivery of work by our members. And this should be an outshining factor between those who are members of the institute and those who are not.”

He highlighted that the importance of the accountancy profession since the establishment of the institute in 1977 has been centered on ensuring protection of public interest, and to a large extent, for the advancement of the country. He deliberated that nowadays, when the country is faced with constant worry of fraud and corruption, this value added institute will prove as great help.

“It is therefore critical, as the members of the institute to achieve this mandate. I therefore, would like to take this moment to appreciate the opportunity that has been given to serve this profession as the president. I stand before you to make a pledge that I will diligently lead in this accountancy profession to my best ability, for the benefit of its members, employees, generation, but most importantly for the advancement of my country. Where I will fall short, I will reach out to leverage on the wisdom of my predecessors, past presidents, and you members”, said Mr. Mokone.

On behalf of the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Hon. Lejone Mpotjoane, commended the outgoing council for their remarkable work and leadership. He further encouraged the incoming one to be zealous and work even harder. He highlighted that accountancy knowledge is still a major need in the country, especially when Lesotho is presently challenged with fraud. “Ladies and gentlemen, it is time that we review our service level standards. And our service level standards should be agreed by the customers. It should not only be of convenience to us as the servants, but it should be for the satisfaction of our clients.

LIA, as the local body which governs the accounting profession, refers back to the continental and regional institutions. Giving her remarks, the CEO of Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA) Alta Prinsloo declared it an honor to participate in the inauguration ceremony.  She enlightened that PAFA’s vision is sustainable value creation for the citizens of Africa. “We achieve this by strengthening the influence and capacity of the accountancy profession to enhance trade, the economic services and trusted institutions. She indicated they do this though their 46th member organizations in the 45 countries of Africa, including Lesotho Institute of Accounts. “Professional Accountants have both the public interest responsibility and a transformative opportunity to bring change”. For this reason, PAFA, assures all professional accountancy organizations in Africa adopts strategies that supports professional accountants with people, planning and prosperity.