With the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) Council elections drawing close, a new team of leaders are set to steer the institute for the next 3 years 2020 - 2023. We caught up with CPA Gloria Tuhaise Wakooba, one of the aspiring candidates and here is what she shared with us;
Our reporter: Hello CPA Gloria how do you do?
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: Am well how do you do.
Our reporter: Who is Gloria by the way?
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: (Laughs a bit Hmm). Gloria is the person u see in front of you now.
Our reporter: You are chicky, OK tell us where you went to school, what did you study, what do you do, your life and hobbies!
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: You Guy you are not easy. Okay Gloria is a jovial person, u can call me a nurturer I love to share and improve others with whatever knowledge I have. I went to Mary Hill High School for O and A levels and studied B.COM at MUBS and MBA at MUK. I am a certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC). I am also a Chartered Accountant. I completed ACCA in 2003 and Joined ICPAU in 2009.
Started my Working Career at MUBS as a Teaching Assistant and later joined Ministry of Finance as an IFMS Accountant in 2002. I worked as an Internal Auditor at Bank of Uganda (BOU) between 2004 and 2007 before Joining East Africa Development Bank (EADB) under the Young Professional Program. I worked at EADB till April 2011 mainly in Finance Department as a Financial Analyst before returning to BOU as a Principal Internal Auditor in 2011.
I have worked in Procurement and Disposal Department of BOU as a Deputy Director since January 2014 todate. I am also a member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supplies UK (MCIPS).
Our reporter: Wow! That’s a rich CV! But wait, I always hear people calling you Musomesa Gloria, are u also a teacher?
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: Yes, in my free time I am a tutor! I teach Financial Reporting, Financial management and Audit papers of CPA mainly and ACCA. I also do research in finance and accounting related topics, and I put together simplified yet comprehensive reading materials for students pursuing the CPA course. I have done this for over 15 years initially at MUBS, MUK and now privately.
Our reporter: Wow that’s terrific! How do you compare teaching and working in a formal setting?
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba. The two are complementary I must say. Remember I teach Financial Reporting, Financial management and Audit; therefore, I draw a lot of relevance from my work experience while preparing the students. I also counsel and mentor them career wise.
Our reporter: Now tell me more about your desire to Join ICPAU Council.
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: What exactly would you want me to tell you?
Our reporter: I mean what motivated you to stand for Council?
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: First and foremost, I'm a CPA member in good standing, I believe I have great ideas which I think can actualise well if I am at the decision-making helm of the council.
Having been an active member of ICPAU over the years, am passionate sharing knowledge. I have been part and parcel of the career development and professional coaching for thousands of CPA students and members. I therefore wish to utilise my zeal to serve on Council and add to the breadth of knowledge to propel ICPAU further, by adding on the works built by Council and management over the years. I would like to add contribution to the practical experience training for members especially those with not enough work experience as well as continue the struggle for accountant’s space safeguard. I bring on board a diversity of experience from accounting, auditing, procurement and Supply chain as well as public finance.
Our reporter: Tell me more about this. What exactly should the voters expect from you?
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: May be let me first explain this. ICPAU has more immediate stakeholders than just those eligible to vote. And for the great of accountancy, especially the ICPAU of tomorrow, some key targeted actions are needed. In the Annual Report of 2019, the Institute has over 2,500 active members and more than 10,000 students. And more will join. That shows that the CPA brand has been built well by the leaders who steered ICPAU in the past.
Now the Students, who are the majority by far, happen to be the future of ICPAU membership. Yes, we are preparing them for exams and we are having engagement seminars for them but that mainly targets their exam approach and corrections.
I have a strong desire to add a few more initiatives to what has already been done. We could improve mentorship of these students more by arranging student centred professional development and knowledge sharing sessions, targeted at more focused shaping of behaviour and conduct. For instance, monthly student webinars on communication say with superior, writing a job winning CV, ethical conduct and etiquette at work, social media etiquette, answering interview questions, being diverse in career, and so each month they can be gathered online and hold a 2 hour session for them using the rich knowledge of the members of ICPAU. This will help shape the Future leaders of ICPAU even if currently they are in pipeline. This is important so we can build a holistic person from scratch.
Our reporter: The institute is not doing this now?
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: Get me right, career guidance outreaches to learners at universities, other tertiary institutions & even schools are done frequently and regularly. In addition, ICPAU provides study packs, examiners reports, students’ engagement seminars to guide on preparations for exams, and conducts training of trainers courses for tuition providers to help them support the students.
Furthermore, the institute provides practical experience training guidelines and an online documentation platform.
My suggestion is that we can take this a step further as i have proposed above, a coach mentor like kind of approach to help expand their mindset and their potential. Call it kind of handholding the future CPAs so that not only will they have finished exams when the course is done, but the inner man in them will have been specifically targeted and shaped to face tomorrows challenges, and be better leaders.
Engage them closely outside exam but professional world focus...
A few entities if requested by ICPAU could take them up for some training as accounting and finance volunteers to gather experience.
Our reporter: Oh, I now get it. Seems you are focusing on a wrong audience because students don’t vote. Hope you are aware?
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: (A little agitated) What do you mean? Students are the future leaders of the institute! Please note Council is for the good of all stakeholders. My philosophy is aiming at starting from the inputs to the future council members. Call it moulding, and it’s a process. Am just saying that lets add something for this section also. Obviously, there are much bigger things.
Our reporter: Bigger things? Tell us more please...
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: Yes, the law which our predecessors worked very hard for provides great opportunities for accountants to safeguard our space. That is very great and may God bless ICPAU. I have another suggestion which is doable at minimal cost or no cost once the ever-willing CPA volunteers rise up in support. Now some employers are still stuck in the past and have not yet appreciated that from S.6 someone can pursue CPA and yet when they complete, their competency levels and abilities are even better that a bachelor’s degree. So, these kinds of members have had some challenges even getting shortlisted for jobs.
Now if we engaged in targeted sensitisation of and collaboration with say Human Resource Association of Uganda, heads of key public and Private institutions, Public Service, either through delegated visits or well prepared awareness messages with the help of National Career Development Centre (NCDC) and Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES), such members frustrations can be resolved with time. This is vital so that employers should not ask why someone has a Masters and CPA without a bachelor’s degree. Small things but could have a huge impact. Also, to explain further that all CPAs are accountants and not all accountants are CPAs. This should have a hand in enhancing the reputation of the institute.
Our reporter: You are really looking at muntu wawansi, I mean the less privileged, right?
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: (Haha laughs and adjusts her specs) Not really. Those are important matters and doesn’t cost much remember these are COVID times.
Our reporter: Okay go on...
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: Of course, we also have associates who have not yet been able to gain practical experience and those whose employers don’t appreciate the value of becoming a member in good standing and so they are not committing funds to develop them. The measures I have just told you of targeted continued dialogue with CEOs, UMA, and PSFU etc. wherever we can find the CEOs and make them appreciate the advantage of hiring a certified accountant can be of great help.
Our reporter: I see, seems ICPAU is big!
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: Yes of course. I was still continuing.
Our reporter: I’m sure you have more to tell us. Go on please...
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: I wanted to talk about continuous support to the members in practice both at firm level and even employees in day to day corporate world. ICPAU has made great strides in this area, research work has been undertaken and a lot of practical resources have been availed to help members in the field. Even during COVID a lot of guidance to members has been given.
This we should carry forward and more frequently given that with COVID, the world, methods of work, circumstances and technology are rapidly changing.
As council, committees, members and ICPAU at large, we should continuously research new innovative ways of work, new technological tools for Practitioners and employees and continuously engage the members so that the profession stays afloat and very strong.
Our reporter: Ok i get you! In your view why is ICPAU such a big and successful institute?
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: ICPAU has been blessed with visionary leadership right from inception. The institute owns quite a number of strategic assets in form of land and Buildings. I know COVID has disorganised cash flows, and some long-term developmental plans. But it’s not really a permanent condition. I hope that with my supply chain experience, and the ideas that the other members will bring on board, we can either engage a strategic partner, or seek a grant, or devise other means of developing the ICPAU land in Lubowa into a state-of-the-art income generating project.
Our reporter: Whats that thing you would want to fix immediately at ICPAU?
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: But you guy, fixing means somethings are broken. No there’s nothing to fix... Like the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don't fix it! There are just few more blocks to add to the cornerstone and of course in every organization there are areas for improvement because only those who don’t work have no mistakes.
Let’s appreciate the role of ICPAU in advising on major issues, policies and regulations that impact the markets we serve as accountants. ICPAU has scored highly in this area and that makes me a proud member of the institute. This effort of analyzing government policy proposals such as tax laws, Budget etc i would like us to continue the zeal.
Our reporter: Any message to the voters reading this interview?
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: The vote is precious. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society, and we must use it. There’s no such thing as a vote that doesn’t matter. Every vote matters. I request that they vote me once voting lines open on June 30th 2020.
Our reporter: Thanks for your valuable time Musomesa.
CPA Gloria T. Wakooba: You are welcome my friend; you have really fixed me... (Laughs haha)