H.E NGY Tayi, Secretary of State of Ministry of Economy and Finance and Chairman of the National Accounting Council (NAC),
Representatives of training institutions, students, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen;
It is my honor to deliver the welcome remarks and introduce you to a new Accounting Technician Qualification program (ATQ). I am representing UNDP’s Resident Representative, Nick Beresford, who is unable to be here due to an invitation by Prime Minister Samdach Hun Sen to attend the launch of Cambodia’s National Strategic Development Plan this morning. Nick would very much have liked to be here and regrets his inability to attend.
Today's event marks remarkable progress in the joint effort 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), to establish the ATQ program in the country.
As you know, Cambodia has achieved outstanding economic performance with an average growth rate of 7% per annum in the last 20 years. At the same time, it’s economy is also becoming more integrated regionally and globally, as the country has become a party to ASEAN, WTO and a number of trade agreements. Such regional and global economic integration, and an increasing demand among local small and medium businesses for accounting technicians, has required Cambodia to urgently increase the number of skilled accountants, as well as upgrade its accounting standards to the level of its neighboring countries and international standards.
At this juncture of the country’s development trajectory, having duly qualified accounting and auditing professions is critical to promote private sector and SME development, investor confidence, public financial governance and sustainable growth.
There is a serious shortage of skilled accountants for private sector firms, especially small and medium enterprises in Cambodia. According to the Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025, only 0.02% of micro-enterprises, 3.89% of small enterprises and 24.11% of medium enterprises had adequate book-keeping. 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 difficulty for micro-enterprises and SMEs to hire professional accountants given the limited number of skilled accountants in the market.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
The lack of accounting professionals is a concern for sustaining economic growth; however, it also presents a fantastic chance to create and provide better quality employment for young Cambodians. Tapping into this opportunity, UNDP initiated a partnership with NAC, KICPAA and ICAEW to develop and introduce this internationally recognized accounting technician qualification (ATQ) training curriculum for young men and women in Cambodia, including those who completed high school or employees are looking for a chance to upgrade their skills and employment ladders.
The qualification will be available in English and Khmer to support uptake by colleges and students across Cambodia. 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 of time; produce at least 500 more trained accountants by 2021 for Cambodia’s economy; address urgent needs of SMEs which are a cornerstone of economic development; and leverage the services of capacity development institutions serving the accounting industry. In this and other ways, the ATQ will contribute to realizing the objectives of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Policy 2017–2025.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen
On this occasion, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to the National Accounting Council, the Ministry of Education, and the Department of Training and Vocational Training, for their continuous engagement and substantial input to ensure the success and sustainability of ATQ implementation – especially, the effort of these institutions to ensure the ATQ is relevant and harmonized with the country’s qualification framework.
I would also like to thank KICPAA and ICAEW for their committment and technical role in designing and rolling out the ATQ. I thank CamEd Business School, Pannasatra University (PUC), the University of Economics and Finance (UEF), ACLEDA University, the Cambodia Accounting Club, employers and students for their participation and support to the implementation of ATQ.
This is just the beginning of ATQ implementation. More work needs to be done to improve employment prospects for young Cambodians and raise the standard of the accounting profession in the country. In addition to ongoing support from government counterparts, KICPAA, ICAEW and teaching institutions, we do need and welcome more engagement and participation from employers and students. For ATQ, being valued and supported by employers and students is an indicator of the success of the program.
Finally, I would like to congratulate everyone for arriving at this critical stage, and hope today’s gathering will lead to many interactions and an exchange of information about the program.