PNG ACCOUNTANTS TOLD TO CLEAN UP THEIR ACT

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 28, 2000 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---Accountants have been challenged to provide the best and most honest advice to their employers in an effort to free the country of corruption.

The challenge was issued by the president of the Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry Alan McLay, who officially opened the Papua New Guinea Institute of Accountants Lae branch conference.

Mr. McLay said the country was riddled with too many crooked dealings and that accountants were morally obliged to advise their organizations on how to honestly manage their finances.

"Look at your daily newspaper to see what is going on," McLay said. "I believe that all of us have a responsibility to try to rid this country of corruption and illegal dealings, both in business and in the government. We may not succeed but we must try."

He said because accountants deal with their company’s finances, they would be the first to identify shady deals within the company.

Mr. McLay said accountants are morally obliged to advise against dishonest dealings, although it may jeopardize their jobs.

He said the accounting profession has changed from being "dull bean counters without many original ideas.''

"Well, this image has changed in recent years. A bolder accountant has evolved with a more suspicious mind, one who has become more a business manager, a professional adviser and a consultant; a person one can take on as a business partner, rather than a person who is there as an evil necessity," Mr. McLay said.

The changes are due to the advancement of information technology, he added.

"Much of the accounting software available today, even the simplest packages, has taken over as the office accountant. An office clerk with appropriate skills can operate these packages. Therefore, the accountant has time to distance himself and apply his knowledge to broader issues," he said.

"In a sense, accounting is like being a good detective. Armed only with a pencil, paper, and a laptop computer, the new breed of accountants are dispelling the traditional image of the profession as being dull bean counters," he said.

The two-day conference attracted more than 200 participants from both the private sector and government.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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