• Register
Return to: Home > News > Met at the OEC’s Congress: Accountants without borders

Met at the OEC’s Congress: Accountants without borders

Rhuan Gunesh, a member of Accountants Without Borders, explains to Vincent Huck why some French accountants have launched an NGO to help with accounting issues and humanitarian projects in West Africa.

The Accountant: Can you explain what the association is about?

Gunesh:
Accountants Without Borders was created in 1992. We currently have 300 members, half of which are either professional accountants or accounting firms. We are based in the office of the French professional body and we’re very lucky to be supported by its president, Philippe Arraou.

Our main activity is to organise workshops with teachers or African institutes on the development of accounting. This has allowed us to develop some tools for accounting professors or professionals in Africa. These workshops are not courses but really an exchange of knowledge and expertise that goes both ways and where there’s a contribution from our African colleagues.

This is really our core activity. But we also have what we call “actions coup de coeur”, which are specific projects in various form. It could be financing a well in Burkina Faso, a reforestation project in Burundi, or helping to develop artisanal projects in Mali or Niger, or financing to buy stock to start a farm. We do this mostly in West Africa because it has the same accounting system as France so we as professionals can bring concrete solutions to our African colleagues.

TA: Looking at your core activity – the workshops – what are the topics discussed?

Gunesh: Topics include modernising the profession and looking to the future. The last one that we did was on IFRS. Today there’s no IFRS commitment in West Africa. There’s a framework called SYSCOA, another framework called the revised SYSCOA and the SYSCOHADA, which all form a bit of patchwork of accounting systems between the different countries. We did a workshop to understand how each country was looking at it.

TA: But how does it work in practice? Who are your local partners? Do they contact you or you contact them?

Gunesh: It often comes through the professional bodies, and we of course have a network of contacts. Our founders had at some point a firm in Africa, and therefore they have contacts there. It’s true that we don’t naturally think that an accountant would invest himself in humanitarian work but if you google ‘accountants humanitarian’ [in french], you’ll easily find us.

TA: Why create such an association because the French professional body and other accountancy bodies are involved in capacity building projects?

Gunesh: We the members are very happy professionally and want to bring something more to our job and that is probably what brings us together in this association. Members are drawn to the association for various reasons: it could be a passion for travelling, or passion about exchanging with other cultures, because we often believe that we’re the ones bringing something, but often it’s the other way around.

Top Content

    South Africa: sensing new opportunities

    It has been an interesting couple of years for the profession in South Africa. A number of high-profile scandals have brought the profession and the role of auditors into sharp public focus, brewing a distrust towards accountants and a large expectations gap. Joe Pickard reports.

    read more

    Ghana: a quest for consistency

    Ghana’s current economic profile would suggest a fertile landscape for purveyors of accounting services. But inconsistent approaches to compliance and application of standards – coupled with problems in the banking sector and consequent liquidity constraints – have created a challenging environment. Paul Golden writes.

    read more

    Drone technology: audit takes to the skies

    The movement towards a digitised era has already impacted the auditing profession in a number of ways, from blockchain to artificial intelligence. Now firms are taking to sky and using drone technology in their audits. Mishelle Thurai speaks to Big Four firms to find out more.

    read more

    SBC: a new alliance joins the market

    Jonathan Minter speaks to Paul Tutin, chair of founding firm Streets Chartered Accountants, about why the business and its European partners took the decision to launch their own association.

    read more
Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.