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The Chief Guest, Our own, Honorable Henry Musasizi, the Minister of State General Duties, Ministry of Fiance, Planning and Economic Development; and also Member of Parliament for Rubanda East, Rubanda District;

Mr. Keith Kalyegira, the CEO of the Capital Markets Authority,

Mr. Paul Bwiso, the CEO of the Uganda Securities Exchange,

Mr. Don Wanyama, the CEO of Vision Group,

The Chairperson of the Financial Reporting Awards Committee, CPA Stephen Ineget, and your team;

Former Presidents of ICPAU,

Members of the ICPAU Council,

CPA Derick Nkajja, Secretary/CEO of ICPAU.

Invited Chief Executive Officers from various organisations,

Participating organisations,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening and welcome to the 2022 edition of the Financial Reporting Awards.

World Accountants’ Day

Today’s Financial Reporting (FiRe) awards coincides with the World Accountants’ day. The 10th November date commemorates the day in 1494 that Venetian mathematician Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli published his critical work Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalita, which translates to "everything about arithmetic, geometry and proportion", and included analysis and documentation of bookkeeping practices. This publication was the foundation for further advancement of accounting and positioned de Pacioli as "The Father of Accounting". Happy World Accountants Day!

Congratulating the Winners

I wish to begin by particularly congratulating the winners of the financial reporting awards per category, for exhibiting high levels of compliance with the standards and for having the courage to subject their annual reports to scrutiny. To excel in financial reporting in times such as these is indeed honorable, and therefore, we celebrate you this evening.

Participating in the FiRe Awards is a win by itself for all entrants because one of the benefits is that you receive a feedback report through which you can identify areas for improvement.

By implementing the feedback, improvements in financial reporting are registered across various organisations, thus impacting the country, organisation by organization. Over time, we shall see improved financial reporting being entrenched in Uganda. Therefore, congratulations to all participating organisations. Indeed, you are all winners, as the FiRe Awards Chair often notes.

Importance of Good Financial Reporting

Our Chief Guest, one may wonder why do ICPAU, CMA, USE and New Vision come together every year to recognize and reward excellence in financial reporting? Why do we insist on compliance with the international standards?

To start with, good financial reporting is a key enabler of prudent decision making, and as a Country, the Government and other stakeholders rely on information to make decisions. Such information is best provided through the annual reports. This is why annual reports must be relevant, comprehensive and reliable, so as to faithfully represent the affairs of the organisation in a given period.  

Good financial reporting also facilitates comparability of data. The use of global financial reporting standards means that information from a Ugandan organisation can be analyzed by an overseas investor and compared with financial statements of similar organisations in various jurisdictions. With increasing globalization, this means that organisations can favorably compete for foreign funds markets. That is, providers of capital can be sourced from across the globe. Thus, the call for FiRe awards partners to regularly promote the awards.

The Setbacks

As we emphasize good financial reporting, we acknowledge some of the setbacks. Many small businesses in Uganda struggle with bookkeeping, often because they lack the will or skill to prepare financial statements. This means that many of these cannot be eligible to participate in the FiRe Awards. Without proper record keeping, such businesses will not pay the right amount of taxes, while others evade taxes, and hence the country’s narrow tax base predicament.

The Institute has often advised small businesses to use the services of accounting technicians, to help them with book keeping.

As our contribution towards recovering from the effects of Covid-19, in March this year, ICPAU introduced probono business advisory services through which small businesses are paired with accounting firms to provide them with the basics of accounting, assurance advisory, and other accountancy services. We thank the accounting firms for their participation in this initiative, and we encourage more SMEs to sign up for this support through the Institute. If more small business can get their record keeping in order, then we can have a basis of growing our businesses in particular and the economy in general plus having more FiRe Awards participants.

The theme

This year’s theme, Strengthening Environmental, Social and Governance Reporting is relevant in times as these when the world is experiencing more intensely, the effects of climate change. The call is for organisations to be deliberate about their ESG efforts. ESG commitment requires that good governance must take centre stage, so that organizational resources are steered in the right direction and accounted for properly. It means that organisations must show how they impact on the environment and their intentional efforts to reclaim and restore the degraded features of the earth, not forgetting the communities within which they operate.

As the lead for the accountancy profession in Uganda, we are inculcating ESG alertness in accountants through the learning framework. Both at Initial Professional Development, through the syllabus for the Certified Public Accountants course, and through the Continuing Professional Development seminars.

Internally, ICPAU is moving most of its services to online. We began with students’ registration, membership enrolment and now renewal of Certificates of Practice and firm licenses. Many other automation projects are in the pipeline. The Institute is also exploring avenues for Computer-Based examinations. All these are aimed at reducing the demand and usage of paper.

Honorable Minister, and guests allow me to emphasize one very important aspect. Accountants are best placed to lead on ESG matters because of the broad range of skills that we possess, and the central positions that we occupy in organisations. We should therefore use this position to guide regarding ESG decision-making, while also providing oversight through the audit function, to ensure that ESG decisions and policies are implemented. Once we fully assume this role, I am confident that there will be more effective ESG action in our economy which is a way of fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals.

Acknowledgement of Partners

Ladies and gentlemen, as I conclude, I must express my gratitude, on behalf of the Institute, to our partners, the Capital Markets Authority, Uganda Securities Exchange and New Vision for their partnership in organizing the FiRe Awards for twelve years now. We are grateful for your support and we hope for your continued collaboration. Not forgetting the sponsors and we call for many others.

Introducing the Chief Guest

Last but not least, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to remind you that we have another round of awards to give: the overall winners of the FiRe Awards. But before that, we have the honour of hearing from our Chief Guest, the Honourable, CPA Henry Musasizi, the Minister of State for Finance, General Duties.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, at this moment, I invite you to stand with me, as we welcome Honourable Henry Musasizi to address us.

Honourable Minister, you are welcome.