Accountants (IFAC) has released a good practice guide to help
educational bodies in developing nations establish accounting
The guide provides a framework for institutes to qualify
technicians through education, training and the assessment of
skills and competence.
IFAC developing nations committee chairman Ignatius Sehoole told
The Accountant the shortage of technicians in the
developing world is far more acute than in developed countries.
“Throughout the developing world, there are still many areas
where technology is a luxury and, therefore, you still have a lot
of manual systems at the lower level,” Sehoole said.
“Even in areas where they have the top-level professionals, this
highly qualified professional often ends up having to do the
mundane work because there is no one at that level to do it.
“That is an unwise use of resources where you have a skills
Exacerbating the problem is the lack of professional bodies that
focus on technicians courses.
The UK has one of the most developed technician professions, led
by the Association of Accounting Technicians, an institute with
36,000 members and 65,000 student or affiliates across the
In other countries, established professional bodies provide some
level of support to the development of technicians but in a lot of
the developing world this hasn’t been the case.
“Generally when people set up institutes everyone wants to play
for the ‘A-League’ so they tend not to be looking at the
technicians side,” Sehoole explained.
Developing countries do not have a luxury of resources, so
institutes must be comprehensive, Sehoole said. This includes
covering the public, as well as private, sector.
Although the IFAC guide, The Education, Training and
Development of Accounting Technicians, provides a robust
framework for setting up a technician programme, additional help
may still be required in the implementation phase.
Sehoole is the former executive president of South African
Institute of Chartered Accountants and said a major hurdle in
education provision is cost. IFAC has started talking with
development funding agencies to assist in this regard.
Sehoole said the early signs are positive and technician
programmes are attracting interest from several IFAC member
“In [South Africa] we launched a technician programme last year
and it is growing like you can’t believe,” he said. As soon as our
neighbouring countries heard about this they asked for
There have been six enquiries about the technician programme
from countries in Southern Africa alone.
The guide can be downloaded from the IFAC website.