The power of great leadership

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By CPA Lennox Nelson Jalang’o

Leadership has been defined by many scholars in various ways. Peter Drucker defines it as the act of doing the right things. He differentiates it from management which he defines as the act of doing things right.

Oxford dictionary defines it as “The action of leading a group of people or an organisation.” It means therefore that leadership is about leading, doing right things, taking risks and pursuing new vision

While all these definitions are admissible, there is every attempt to relate leadership to a supernatural being, be it in Hindu, Islam, Christianity or any other religion. In Christianity set up, there is a belief that God created man in his own image and likeness to conquer and subdue the earth. That God wanted man to take leadership and continue with the creation as he enjoys his stay on earth

This points to the fact that at every given point in life, it is LEADERSHIP that takes people into the next level of growth, development and progress. It is leadership that creates and sustains a better life for the people. And in the context of our profession, it is leadership that visualizes, conceptualizes, initiates, implements and sustains a better professional life for its members.

Founded in 1978 after the collapse of the East African Community in 1977, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants leadership, under FCPA Stanley Mbugua, realized that it requires vision, strategy and proper oversight to make the Institute be the giant which it is today. 

The overall vision was for the Institute to remain independent and self-sustaining in discharging its mandate of training and regulating the Accountancy profession in Kenya. The leadership raised resources and acquired assets including parcel of land upon which it constructed its first offices and invested into accountancy training by setting up the then Kenya College of Accountancy, now KCA University in 1989

Over the years, the leadership has moved steadily, through its focus and courage, to implement the great vision by delving into prospects of building an ultra-modern office space, which, apart from accommodating the Institute, also offers an ideal environment for breading ideas and accommodating many offices and businesses. In turn, the revenues generated is directed towards subsidizing the cost of regulation and compliance over its current over 30,000 members

With the current major financial obligations now completed, there needs to be made new sets of vision that aim to take more pragmatic steps towards empowering the members. A motion on welfare tabled by CPA Lennox Jalang’o was unanimously adopted by the Annual General Meeting of members in 2015 and when it was finally approved in 2016, it merely took the direction of benevolence, to cushion members from the heavy costs of funerals and bereavements. 

While the idea was good, it limited the scope of welfare to benevolence. The other aspects of welfare such as mentorship, job placement, professional networking, attention during sickness etc. are yet to be adequately addressed.

A progressive organization like ICPAK obviously needs a stronger welfare for its members. The future generation of Accountants would be much more robust, secure and stable if a welfare remains alive to the following issues:

  1. Mentorship of accounting students towards a professional character. The professional character needs to be inculcated at the formative stages of career development and not at the time of admission into regulation. The Institute needs to re-evaluate Training Accountants Practical Experience Framework (TAPEF) and align it to students and young members
  2. Mentorship of young practicing Accountants into the field of regulation. The young practitioners need to be properly inducted, modelled and mentored into what the regulated environment actually intends for them. Passing of professional examinations and offering a competent professional service are two different dimensions altogether
  3. Job placement for non-practicing members. Non-practicing members need decent gainful opportunity, career progression, better working environment and remuneration. This will improve on the respect and dignity of Accountants in the ever-changing business world
  4. Networking opportunities for all members to interact and socialize with fellow members and leaders in all material spheres of leadership, responsibility, oversight and accountability
  5. A soft gentle gesture during low moments of sickness, job loses, temporary hiccups will go a long way in restoring back and caring for the old members  

In undertaking the above, the Institute may negotiate its way by either:

  1. Creating a department within its leadership that deals exclusively with welfare. This may complement the regulatory mandate and make members and stakeholders enjoy all services under the same arm pit.
  2. Creating and promoting registration of a professional welfare association to exclusively deal in welfare in the broader sense of the term. This may be managed by the Institute remotely, in the same way it does at KCA University
  3. Encouraging members to form themselves into a professional welfare association, guided by all the standards of best practice and ethics and pursue their aspirations independently

Many progressive organizations all over the world have been able to remain so on account of embracing new ideas and implementing stronger welfare schemes. It should be noted that numbers continue to play greater role in going concern and sustainability of institutions and organizations. Be it on religious niche, profit and non-profit making organizations, good numbers indicate confidence and prosperity.

The Catholic Church is doing quite well on the strength of numbers, the same applies to the Anglican and SDA churches. Apart from their main activity of praise and worship, they have effectively invested in education, health and even in hospitality sectors. Islam and Hindu religious organizations are not left behind. Their successful investment in education, health and hospitality institutions are clearly dotted across the Country. 

In the professional realm, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya takes the lead. With a solid investment in education through the Kenya College of Accountancy now KCA University, the Institute offers quality professional training at affordable costs. It has also constructed a magnificent structure that accommodates its offices and provides lease opportunity to many serious establishments on the available space. 

With over 30,000 members across its nine Branches and foreign chapters, it means that going forward into the foreseeable future, the Institute will be in a much better position to undertake its regulatory mandate while at the same time offer best members driven approaches on welfare scheme.

It remains our hope that the new team of leadership will consider this idea of improving on welfare in the broader sense and set up mechanisms of achieving the same in the best interest of members, the Institute and stakeholders

The writer is a firm promoter of ICPAK Welfare and benevolence and former ICPAK representative for Kisumu County.


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