Accounting Education in Latin America and the Caribbean

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1 REPARIS A REGIONAL PROGRAM Accounting Education in Latin America and the Caribbean Henri Fortin, Program Manager, CFRR THE ROAD TO EUROPE: PROGRAM OF ACCOUNTING REFORM AND INSTITUTIONAL STRENGTHENING (REPARIS)

2 Accounting Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Preparing the Next Generation to Deliver High Quality Accounting The LAC context Recent trends in higher education in LAC Tertiary accounting education in LAC: SWOT analysis Innovations and success stories A way forward 2

3 GDP current (US$ bn., 2007) Latin America and Caribbean (LAC): Key figures Population 550 mn. GDP current US$ 3.7 trn. GDP Growth ( ) 4.8% Market capitalization US$ 300 bn. FDI% GDP ( ) 4.3% Common features 10% Language 9% Culture Legal tradition Some regional institutions Marked differences including in economic performance 8% 7% 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% Chile Nicaragua Mexico 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 GDP per capita (US$, 2007) 3

4 The LAC Context: Financial Depth 4

5 The LAC Context: Ease of doing business Doing Business 2011 Getting Credit Protecting Investors Paying Taxes Enforcing Contracts Trading Across Borders Ease of Doing Business Rank Mexico Peru Macedonia, FYR Colombia Montenegro

6 Other trends Political stability Regional integration e.g., CAFTA State-owned enterprises are still important Pension funds Growing middle class Emerging regional champions More recently: financial stability 6

7 LAC Corporate Financial Reporting Frameworks Accounting standards IFRS adopted in most countries for listed companies Local GAAP in the larger countries but future uncertain Strong appetite for the IFRS for SMEs Financial sector: prudential focus Auditing standards: mostly ISA Independent oversight of statutory audits almost non-existent Growing demand for high-quality corporate financial reporting 7

8 Recent Trends in Higher Education in LAC Demand for university education increasing rapidly since the 1980s Demand satisfied more and more through private enrollment Quality of education has become less homogeneous Ex-ante or ex-post evaluation is challenging Undergraduate degree in accounting is still the only substantive requirement to become a licensed accounting or audit practitioner Private Enrollment in Latin America and the Caribbean Private Enrollment as % of Total ( ) Brazil Colombia Chile Dominican Rep. El Salvador Argentina Peru Guatemala Costa Rica Paraguay Ecuador Costa Peru Rica Ecuador Honduras Dominican Rep. Guatemala Honduras Mexico Bolivia Mexico Bolivia Nicaragua Cuba Cuba Venezuela Panama Panama Uruguay >40% <10% 10-20% 20-30% 30-40% >40% Brazil Chile Colombia El Salvador Venezuela Nicaragua Argentina Paraguay Uruguay 8

9 Tertiary Accounting Education: SWOT Analysis Strengths Strong tradition in certain leading universities Close ties with accounting professional bodies Large region, conducive to a critical mass of knowledge and expertise Common language Weaknesses Outdated curricula Quality assurance arrangements Faculty compensation Command of English language Negative perceptions in the business community Opportunities Flurry of new standards require continuing education Accounting (financial reporting) has acquired a higher profile internationally US accreditation of foreign universities Free-trade agreements with the US allowing for mutual recognition Threats Widening gap between high- and low-performing universities Vocational education as an alternative New competition by specialized universities Off-shore training 9

10 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) CPD Hours Required Per Year Argentina - Brazil 32 Chile - Colombia - DR - Ecuador - El Salvador - Honduras - Haiti 35 Jamaica 65 Mexico 40 OECS 30 Panama - Paraguay 50 Peru 20 Uruguay - Source: LAC ROSC A&A review Refer to discussions at the EduCoP meeting in Chisinau (April 2010) 10

11 Constraints to Offerings in International Standards 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Lack of student interest Lack of qualified professors Lack of university interest Lack of financial resources Lack of literature in local lang. Lack of literature in English Other 11

12 Success stories, innovative approaches Mexico: Certified Public Accountant ( CPC ) Developed in by the Mexican Institute Endorsed (and required) by Mexican financial supervisors and tax administration for audits of supervised entities and large taxpayers, respectively Professional Mutual Recognition Agreement signed in 2002 with the US Unique case in LAC to date, a model to follow 12

13 Success stories, innovative approaches Panama: Specialized Accounting University ( UNESCPA ) Est. in 2004 by the Panamanian Institute to fill a void Project supported by the leading audit firm in the country Bachelor degree in accounting and master s degrees Approximately 250 students, of whom 60 are candidates for the bachelor s degree Most professors are practitioners from large audit firms Relies on donations from the international audit firms One of the top [accounting] programs in the region, and the strongest in Panama (Borgonovo 2009) 13

14 Which way forward? Supply side Modernize curricula, improving approaches to teaching Higher standards for faculty credentials Improving compensations Greater emphasis on English language proficiency Panama example Common base curriculum at regional level Demand side New accounting credential incl. credible qualifying exam (following the Mexican experience) 14

15 Thank you Falemnderit Мерци Merci 15

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