The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Rwanda (ICPAR) has graduated another batch of 66 Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and Certified Accounting Technicians (CAT) adding to its goal of bridging existing gaps in professional careers.
The ICPAR, a Professional Accountancy Organization that aims at producing a critical mass of qualified professional accountants for the national and regional market.
The organization released the 25th final examination results for both CPA and CAT candidates during a press briefing held in Kigali, this Friday, December 22, 2023.
This number brings the cumulative total of 433 candidates who have completed the two courses (CPA and CAT) which are held in three examination cycles conducted in April, August and December every year.
Amin Miramago, the CEO of ICPAR said this year’s examination witnessed an increase in appetite to acquire professional skills with 2,009 candidates registering for the courses.
These were made up of 1,637 CPAs and 372 CATs compared to 1,155 (1,050 CPAs and 105 CATs) registered in August 2023 sitting.
Hence, there was an increase of 56% and 254% of CPA and CAT candidates respectively compared to the August 2023 sitting.
This increase in registration was due to increase in student applicants from Higher Learning Institutions (HLIs) in Rwanda.
“We are glad that at least Higher Learning Institutions have recognized the importance of professional accountancy qualifications and they are actively encouraging students to take up those exams henceforth when they graduate they can qualify as professionals within their own rights and take it up from there,” Miramago said.
He stated that these numbers are expected to increase every year in order for ICPAR to contribute to the country’s need for more professional certified accounts but also create job opportunities since the demand for certified
accountants is high at a time when more investment in private and government domains is increasing in the country.
While there is no formal study to show the skills gap in Public Finance Management (PFM) in the private sector, the net total number of registered taxpayers register stands at 292,156 as of end June 2022 which shows the need for certified accountants and technicians.
On the other hand, research on government budget entities done by the World Bank a couple of years back shows that there is a gap of 8,441 for CPAs and CATs in government.
As a way of addressing this gap, ICPAR plans to reach at least 10,000 certified accountants in the next ten years with at least 1,000 certifications (and members) annually to reach that target.
The plan, according ICPAR officials, is to create awareness, partner with more universities to have early enrollment, increase the number of examination sessions to four instead of three per year to allow more time to complete required exams.
ICPAR assures that anyone with a CPA or CAT has a competitive advantage to get a good paying job (with a 90% employability chance) and the shortage of these professionals calls for a need to reexamine the career needs assessment to create ready needed jobs as Rwanda increases investor appetite and the economy keeps growing with more tax payers.
ICPAR thanked the Government of Rwanda (GoR) for supporting the youth through sponsoring higher performing students from Higher Learning Institutions to undertake CPA qualification and all PFM staff that are expected to be CPAs and CATs.
“This is the right step towards building a competitive knowledge-based economy that will boost Public Financial Management (PFM), the Kigali International Finance Center and other initiatives,” the press statement read.
CPA Francis Bazatsinda, the Vice Chairman of the Education Commission stated that currently they have 2,500 active students (with an increase of 43% year-on-year) and despite the demanding courses, they have graduates every two years, on average.
The total number of registered students also increased from 5,112 (in 2022) to 6,207 in this year but also most importantly tuition providers and accredited tutors and examination centers increased 63%, 113% and 33% respectively.
This year’s examinations were conducted at Kigali Independent University (ULK); University of Kigali (Musanze campus), University of Rwanda (UR-Rusizi Campus); East African University Rwanda (EAUR -Nyagatare) and University of Rwanda (UR-Huye Campus).
CPA Straton Nyirindekwe, the ICPAR Education Manager revealed that the overall average pass rates for November 2023 sitting stood at 56% and 48% for CAT and CPA respectively compared to 55% for both CAT and CPA in August 2023 sitting.
Jonas Barayandema, the Ag Dean of the School of Business, College of Business and Economics at the University of Rwanda said that they are engaging graduate students to opt for CPA courses as an additional package to create a competent labor force in future.
“We encourage students during orientation and when it comes to examinations, we give the first priority to CPA courses. This shows how important they are in one’s education and career path,” Barayandema said.