UNDP: New initative to address shortage of bookkeepers by 2021

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN) - Cambodia plans to produce 500 more skilled accountants to address the Kingdom’s shortage of bookkeepers by 2021, said UN Development Programme (UNDP) Cambodia deputy resident representative Sonali Dayaratne on Thursday.

Dayaratne said this at the launch of the Introducing the Accounting Technician Qualification
project which is a joint programme between UNDP Cambodia, the National
Accounting Council (NAC), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of
England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Kampuchea Institute of Certified
Public Accountants and Auditors (KICPAA).

Since Cambodia’s economy is becoming more integrated
regionally and globally, there is increasing demand among local small-
and medium-sized firms for accounting technicians.

This, she said, demands that Cambodia urgently increases the number
of skilled accountants and upgrades its accounting standards to
international standards so it can compete with neighbouring countries.

“There is a serious shortage of skilled accountants for
private sector firms, especially small and medium enterprises in
Cambodia. This is a barrier for enterprises accessing finance,
government assistance or new technology.

“This is consistent with the findings of a quick survey by UNDP
Cambodia among employers, which revealed that there is a difficulty for
micro-enterprises and SMEs in hiring professional accountants given the
limited number of skilled ones in the market,” Dayaratne said.

Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state and Chairman of
the National Accounting Council (NAC) Ngy Tayi said at the launch of the
programme that the future is bright for prospective accountants since
there is already strong demand among local SMEs.

“Cambodia’s accounting sector will get stronger as we produce more
skilled accountants – this will also build more trust among investors in
our accounting and financial reporting systems.

“That will help ensure businesses and industry have proper corporate
governance for monitoring their performance and operations,” he said.

Dayaratne said the lack of accounting professionals is a concern for
sustaining economic growth. However, it also presents a palpable
opportunity to foster and supply quality employment to young Cambodians.

“Tapping into this opportunity, UNDP initiated a partnership with
NAC, KICPAA and ICAEW to develop and introduce this internationally
recognised accounting technician qualification training curriculum for
young Cambodians, including high school graduates and employees looking
for a chance to upgrade their skills and climb up the corporate ladder.

“The scheme is expected to increase youth employability in Cambodia
through opportunities for students to be trained as skilled accountants
at a low cost and within a short period.

“It will help produce at least 500 more trained accountants by 2021,
address the urgent needs of SMEs, which are a cornerstone of economic
development, and leverage the services of capacity development
institutions serving the accounting industry,” she said.

According to the Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025, only 0.02
per cent of micro-enterprises, 3.89 per cent of small enterprises and
24.11 per cent of medium enterprises in Cambodia had adequate