The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) has been commissioned by the World Bank to lead a project to strengthen the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB).
The project is part of a growing “world phenomenon”, according to CIMA director of employer and strategic development Rick Sturge. CIMA expects it could provide a model for other World Bank initiatives with the institute in developing countries.
“This is a real pilot for us, but I think it’s going to become something that will become more important with the globalisation of accounting and the traditional geographic borders coming down, language borders coming down and work being moved all around the world,” Sturge told TA.
“There is a general requirement around the world to develop more finely tuned, value-creating skills, really up-skilling accountants and finance professionals in developing countries. [There is a need to] improve the overall governance aspects around financial reporting in different countries, but also to help support the development of those countries so countries that are creating value also have the sustainability factor. You need professionals with the right sort of skill to be able to manage the structure and help develop the countries as they move forward.”
Sturge expects future development projects with the World Bank to involve different models in different countries. “You’ve got countries like Bangladesh, where they’ve got existing bodies like our client, and the programme there will be to work with them and develop a roadmap. Other countries where [there are no existing accounting bodies will involve a] different model altogether, where you’re going in to create something… and we might need to work with other bodies to get the all-round skills to create that strength in the individual country,” he said.
Sturge suggested Central Asia and the Caucuses are regions where there are likely to be future projects. The project in Bangladesh involves a team of four CIMA staff assessing the structure of the ICMAB and the Bangladeshi profession. This includes working with the ICMAB council and its members to develop a picture of how the institute operates, how it structures its syllabus and holds exams, and how it encourages graduates to take up membership. The CIMA team will prepare a short report and produce a guide for the ICMAB that will provide advice on how the institute can develop.
One of the reasons Bangladesh has been chosen for the initial project is its growing economy. Sturge explained it is a big country with more than 150 million people. “I think seeing what we’ve seen in terms of inbound investment going to places like India and Sri Lanka, it’s natural that that part of the world is going to be taking more in – particularly outsourcing, for instance. [It’s estimated] the global market for that is going to be worth something like $1 billion in three years’ time, just in finance outsourcing alone, of which 70 percent is probably going to end up in India,” Sturge said.
“Now, at some stage you need to create more pools of talent elsewhere to soak up that sort of market, so I think if Bangladesh has the right skill set, companies are going to be interested in moving work there.”