THE ROLE OF THE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE PROFESSIONAL IN AN ECONOMY IN RECESSION (2)

By: Sunday Okegbola

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Moreover, an economy in recession needs entrepreneurship development in order to increase the economic activities that will contribute to increase in its productivity and wealth creation. Increase in productivity and wealth creation will in turn save such an economy from a looming or sudden crash and even possibly bring it out of the entire crises. Entrepreneurship development however needs the professionals in the field of accounting and finance if it will achieve its desired goals in the economy. “It is acknowledged that the decline and eventual collapse of entrepreneurship development is attributable to poor or no record keeping and non-preparation of accounts, hence mass entrepreneurship failure” – Mainoma and Aruwa (2012). Financial records and accounts are important as they are to be used by professional accountants and financial analysts to provide necessary and important information to the various economic stakeholders.

Another important role played by the accounting and finance professional in an economy in recession can be seeing in the area of international relationship with other external economies. Issues like when to open the border, what to open it for and who to open it to are best tackled by economists, and the professionals in the crucial aspect of the economy “accounting and finance” are of course economists themselves. Other issues in this regard include, but not limited to: analysis of balance of trade and balance of payment, opinions on government external borrowings, bilateral agreements and multilateral negotiations. All these issues have great impact on economic performance and so make accountants and financial analysts, indispensable professionals.

Even in the midst of recession, an economy must at every point in time, know its status in order to decide on how to improve. This status is normally shown in national income accounting as results like GDP, GNP, NNI, etc. often reveal the true image of an economy as to its strengths, weaknesses, per capita income, able but idle human resources, and so on. These results as presented by accounting and finance professionals help economic planners in carrying out their duties. Also, if these results are rightly used, the level of employment, industrial activities and productivity in the economy can be increased, which in no time might bring about a positive turn around for the economy.

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to see a country running all its businesses smoothly without the element of public debt, especially the developing countries. While experiencing economic recession, the government of a country must strive to use necessary strategies to ensure that the weight of debt incurred does not discourage her but instead, should use the same debt in running her businesses in such a way that the economy could be pulled out of recession. However, this can only be achieved via an effective public debt management handled by experts – accounting and finance professionals. Adebisi I. (2005) in his book ‘Public Sector Accounting and Finance’ presented the main objective of public debt management to be; ensuring that the government’s financing needs and its obligations are met at the lowest possible cost over the medium to long run, consistent with a prudent degree of risk. Definitely, prudency and risk management cannot be far-fetched from the qualities of accounting and finance professionals, and this makes them fit for public debt management.

Furthermore, in order not to worsen the case of economic recession, government revenue and expenditure must be handled with due care. Those saddled with the responsibilities of determining, collecting and spending government revenue as spelt out by the constitution, cannot carry out their responsibilities successfully without the help of accounting and finance professionals. This is because professionals in the field of accounting and finance also include tax administrators, and it is a proven fact that tax itself represents a greater part of government revenue. Simply put, accounting and finance professionals, apart from being effective in providing information, analyzing economic indices and participating in economic planning, they also play a vital role in administration of policies in every aspect of the economy.

Environmental factors sometimes contribute to the strength of economic recession. In Nigeria for example, bad road network, flood and other disasters caused by industrial activities have significantly affected the smooth operations of economic entities, therefore increasing the impact of recession on the economy. This is actually a problem which would not have risen had all business establishments show concern for the environment in which they operate. The field of accounting and finance has for long emphasized the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Respecting the opinion of the accounting and finance professional as regarding giving back to the society and/or the economic environment will not only make the environment better for various economic activities but also help the economy to survive the threat of recession.

Recently, there has been an increasing reliance on technology as electronic method (including the use of internet) is being adopted and used in almost all spheres of life. Although, this reliance has brought about many success stories and improvements in economic activities, but all these positive results have always come with serious and dangerous acts and side effects such as increase in fraudulent practices which has shut down some business organizations. Thanks to the professionals in the field of accounting and finance who make necessary efforts to curb the use of technology (especially computers and the internet) against the progress of economic operations. This they do by developing automated and computerized accounting system, which includes electronic data processing audit i.e. audit of computer operations. This means that these professionals update their methods as new methods are being employed in carrying out economic activities, and this is needful for an economy in recession in order not to allow its situation to get worse.

The role of the accounting and finance professional in the area of investment appraisal is also very important to an economy in recession. People tend to be discouraged to invest at a time when recession had already hit an economy, however, successful investments based on the appraisal of such investments made by accounting and finance experts are capable of encouraging others to invest in the economy (even foreign investors can be attracted). These investments include investment in the financial market and the capital market, and it is a clear fact that accounting and finance professionals are key players in these markets. Improvement in the performance of financial and capital market will therefore lead to reduction in the burden of recession on the economy.

CONCLUSION

It should be noted from the foregoing that, the field of accounting and finance cannot be totally separated, following the bridge of dichotomy as a result of the recent notion about the two fields. According to Adefiranye (2008), there has been a shift when one compares the traditional accounting system with the modern accounting system; Accountants today are no longer mere reporters of past events but contributors to the growth and development of the organizations – whether profit oriented or not. Therefore, the two fields are seeing as one in modern time as they are being studied as one course in several higher educational institutions and the professionals in the two fields are nowadays believed to have the same expertise.

However, it can be deduced from this discourse that, surviving economic recession by an economy significantly depend on how much it embraces the role of the accounting and finance professional and how much it allows him to play his role in the economy. As a matter of fact, the role of the accounting and finance professional in an economy in recession cannot be over-emphasized. After all, the service rendered by the accounting and finance professional is a service to humanity and to the society at large.

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