Accountancy leaders have been told slow progress has been made in public financial management (PFM) reform across 18 Francophone Africa countries.

This was the key message at the recent Public Financial Management, Strengthening Institutions and Accountability conference.

The leaders evaluated progress since last year’s PFM event in Dakar, Senegal, at which participating finance ministers pledged to support PFM reforms.

Despite these pledges, the profession heard that the quality of budgeting and financial reporting, parliamentary oversight and the effectiveness of internal and external auditing are still poor in the majority of these Francophone Africa countries.

Alta Prinsloo, International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) executive director, supported for the call made by the Fédération Internationale des Experts Comptables et Commissaires aux Comptes Francophones (FIDEF) to review the current accountancy profession model in Francophone Africa to ensure it meets the demand for public sector accountancy skills.

Under the current model professional accountancy organisation members in Francophone Africa are limited to professional accountants in public practice.

Prinsloo said: “Our message is clear. High-quality public financial reporting supports informed decision making, effective and efficient spending, quality public services, enhanced transparency and accountability, and—ultimately—increased trust in government.

She added: “The demand for accountancy skills necessary to produce high-quality public sector financial reporting is both a public interest obligation, and an opportunity for professional accountancy organizations in Francophone Africa.”

Delegates at the conference concluded that many more accountancy professionals are needed to be able to achieve the desired level of reform in the accountancy profession in Francophone Africa countries.

The conference, which was attended by development partners and accountancy leaders, was hosted by IFAC the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA), FIDEF), the World Bank, and the African Development Bank.