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Burundi: local firms beneficiate from a small market and language barrier

Pailles, Mauritius/London. The president of Burundi's accountancy professional body, Frederic Gahungu, told International Accounting Bulletin that local firms thrive thanks to the small size of the market and language differences in the region.

Gahungu, who heads the Ordre des Professionnels Comptables du Burundi (OPC) met with International Accounting Bulletin at the African Congress of Accountants (ACOA15) in Mauritius.

He said that some of the international accounting organisations have established a presence in Burundi, like Deloitte which set up an office there at the beginning of 2015. But most of them still operate in Burundi from the neighbouring East African countries, according to him.

However he said this is beneficial for the 16 to 20 local Burundian firms. "Because Burundi is the only French speaking country in the East African Community, when auditors come from the neighbouring countries, they partner with the local firms to overcome the language barrier," Gahungu said.

Equally when the local firms are approached by large clients in Burundi and they don't have the capacity to deal with the size of the assignment, they partner with the international organisation's offices in the neighbouring countries, he continued.

Despite a relatively small market and the absence of a stock exchange, Gahungu said the local firms have still plenty of opportunity in audit.

"We partnered with Burundi revenue authority, and all financial statements filled with them, around 6,000, have to be certified by a professional accountant," he said.

Equally banks, insurance companies, large enterprises and non-governmental organisations have to be audited, he added.

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Burundi's profession on tenterhooks amidst country's turmoil

African accountants are slaves to a greed they don't understand: PwC's Sehoole

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