In an effort to help emerging and developing economies Universal Accounting Center has developed a new division (Universal Accounting International) to development the certified bookkeeping infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is a daunting undertaking and one that we are excited to do.
The Challenge that is faced in these emerging markets is large and demanding
Sub-Saharan Africa’s opportunities are vast, and its challenges persist. Home to the world’s largest free trade area and a 1.2 billion-person market, the continent is poised to create an entirely new development path harnessing the potential of its resources and people, according to the World Bank. However, several challenges remain and are holding back the economic progress of Sub-Sahara Africa, which include:
- The availability of good jobs has not kept pace with the number of entrants in the labor force
- The gender gap is keeping the continent from reaching its full growth and innovation potential
- 416 million Africans still live in extreme poverty
Despite the challenges, Africa is viewed as a demographic juggernaut in the 21 st Century, as a result of its rapidly growing youth population. By 2030, it is estimated that one of every four people aged 15–24 will live in Africa, according to the United Nations. This demographic trend has ushered in a new era of rising demand for higher education and study abroad, across the African continent. The number of students in sub-Saharan Africa leaving their countries for higher education is growing quickly, from 296,395 in 2012 to 374,425 in 2017, a 26% increase, according to ICEF, an international education consultancy.
As capital and investments are brought to the various countries in Africa the concern for corruption and fraud is great. To address this problem accounting standards are paramount thus requiring the need for quality training and certifications which Universal Accounting Center can offer.
A recent report from the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), supports projects considered to have the best chance of contributing to economic and social development on the continent, which is also focused on opportunities presented by the rapidly growing youth population. The report is entitled Creating Decent Jobs: Strategies, Policies, and Instruments, which concludes though Africa’s youth population is rising exponentially, many African graduates are failing to find gainful employment. The report’s key recommendations include:
- Investment in vocational training across educational institutions and industry
- Creation of more apprenticeships for young Africans and employers
- Identification through research skills shortages and mismatches in order to better prepare the labor force for jobs based upon market demand
To prepare Africa for the fourth industrial revolution and harness the power of its youthful populations, the AfDB has announced a major Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative with a goal of creating 25 million jobs for youth. By the “fourth industrial revolution,” Dr. Adesina is referring to the exponential growth of digital technologies, and the resulting impact on economic, political, and cultural systems. Such technologies include artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.
“What we [in Africa] do with that population of youth today will determine the future of work in the world. Africa must become the brimming workshop of the world — with a knowledgeable and highly skilled workforce that’s able to propel the continent into the fourth industrial revolution.” – Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President AfDB
Therefore with accounting being the backbone and the language of business, there is a demand for quality, well trained and certified accounting professionals which Universal Accounting Center is committed to providing.
Development of Human Capital through Entrepreneurship
The World Bank Group’s Human Capital Project is a global effort designed to accelerate the accumulation of human capital by encouraging more effective policies and investments. Human Capital is defined as the sum of a population’s health, skills, knowledge, and experience, which accounts for the largest share of countries’ wealth globally.
Human Capital Development allows everyone to reach their full potential and is increasingly becoming recognized as a primary driver of a nation’s economic growth. The World Bank places special emphasis on working with countries across Sub-Saharan Africa to help them meet their human capital goals. Investing in Africa’s people is central to ensuring the continent’s future prosperity and its full participation in global markets.
The AfDB Creating Decent Jobs: Strategies, Policies, and Instruments report illustrates the best practices in developing youth entrepreneurship and self-employment, which we view as critical Human Capital Development opportunities. The study’s key drivers to robust economic growth include:
- Effective training in entrepreneurship which combines core business administration skills such as accounting with softer entrepreneurial skills such as problem-solving
- Programs should clearly separate training and financing functions
- Self-employment should be treated as a different group than entrepreneurs, especially in low-income countries
- Better access to credit
The report also stresses the need to provide entrepreneurship and self-employment opportunities for the disadvantaged and under-served. The study’s findings determined that the majority of the entrepreneurship and self-employment programs do not exhibit statistically significant effects. The Project Proposal below illustrates proven methods to support the development of entrepreneurial and self-employment skills which are desperately needed to address the challenges and opportunities
presented by Sub-Saharan Africa.
Project Rationale: Accounting is the fundamental backbone of sound businesses. Trained bookkeepers help to ensure the accounting processes are followed and can help businesses to achieve financial viability through sound fiscal management. In addition, bookkeepers trained in the day-to-day application of accounting principles can help to reduce corruption and ensure there are competent accountants available to businesses on the rapidly growing African continent.
The positions that are created through this endeavor will help to stimulate the huge potential economic growth of Sub-Saharan Africa through entrepreneurship and self-employment opportunities in the accounting field.
Project Objective: To train African bookkeepers in proven accounting principles to provide the foundation for economic growth. To introduce best practices in the day-to-day application of accounting for small & medium-sized businesses in Africa. It will be delivered through a combination of an intensive hands-on “train-the-
trainers” program to provide local instructors the confidence and competence to teach effectively and live classes to local students.
Project Goal: The goal is to train 200,000n full-charge bookkeepers in Sub-Saharan Africa, who will then certify others for a total of more than 500,000. The project will support Human Capital Development through entrepreneurship and the creation of self-employed and program participant owned accounting organizations in Africa.
The project would ultimately be expanded to cover all 54 countries in the African continent over a 10-year period.
Project Length: 10+ Years
“Special importance would be given to enroll women in the program. Our goal is to provide learning and career opportunities for them and that at least 50% of the participants will be women.” – Jay Amaran, Formerly of the World Bank
Universal Accounting International, Inc. has been established, which includes highly experienced member organizations to spearhead this initiative. The consortium includes a leading provider of accounting and bookkeeping training services, international education, personalized learning, and former World Bank leadership.
Participating organizations include:
- Universal Accounting Center, the largest bookkeeper training company in the world
- LPI Learning, a leading provider of global education, personalized learning, and creative problem
- Fundware, one of the oldest businesses in Africa, with a footprint in 45 of the 54 nations
On the African continent, Universal Accounting International, Inc. plans to establish offices in Accra, Ghana and Nairobi, Kenya, as well as an African based Call Center to support this initiative. Additional country offices will be opened across Africa as the accounting training program is expanded. Over time, we plan to bring Public, Private and Tertiary partners into the consortium to support this initiative.
Local African University Partnerships
Universal Accounting International, Inc. plans to establish partnerships with universities in Africa, which will provide local training sites for this program. Universities with exiting accounting & bookkeeping courses will be targeted initially for this program, which may be expanded to future accounting specific training centers led by former trainers and students over time.
Through this university network, we will offer a package that will enable participants to move from manual bookkeeping to computerized bookkeeping, and then from desktop computerized bookkeeping to cloud-based bookkeeping. In time we will create a new category of bookkeepers we refer to as “e-Bookkeepers”.
The program will initially be offered in the following ten countries (in alphabetical order): Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Niger, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In the first phase, the training will be in English. Based on need, in time the same program can be offered in other languages as well.
*In addition to providing local facilities and academic credibility, we hope to offer Dual Course Certification, sponsored by Universal Accounting and the Local University.
The Training Program
The accounting training will be offered at two levels:
- The Accounting Leadership Training Program will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, the headquarters of Universal Accounting.
- The Local Certified Bookkeeper Training Program will be at the partner university premises in respective countries.
We propose to train 2,000 Leadership Trainers in Salt Lake City throughout this project. In turn, each Leadership Trainer will train at least 100 Local Certified Bookkeepers for a total of 200,000+ competent bookkeepers. This is accomplished as each returns and teaches on average 4+ classes with 25 students each for an
average of 100 certified professionals per trainer entering the local workforce. Each e-Bookkeeper will become employed and or start and build their own bookkeeping business. This will create a total of 200,000+ certified bookkeepers over a period of 10 years.
It is expected that these 200,000+ individuals will then find employment as full-charge bookkeepers and or start their own self-employed businesses. We are confident these self-employed program participants will further extend the reach of the program to also include another 500,000 individuals.
Turnkey and Proven Training Model
The program utilizes a turnkey approach to train accountants in Africa, beginning with one nation and then replicating the model in additional countries.
- Utilizes proven and cost-effective accounting certification training model by Universal Bookkeepers International
- Local training in Africa to be delivered in a classroom setting, which will be provided by a partner university in each nation
- Partner universities will also help to provide trainers for the program through their faculty, alumni and student networks. The goal is to hire 10-20 trainers in each country.
- Trainers will visit the USA for the “Train the Trainer” program, which will include a 2 night New York Stopover and one week in Utah with the Universal Accounting Training team.
- Training will be conducted in English initially and will include instruction and Dual Certification (US & Local) in Bookkeeping, QuickBooks, and “Profit & Growth Expert”, etc. accounting programs, which can be completed in 4-8 weeks.
- The face-to-face “Train the Trainer” Accounting Leadership Training Program will be over 7 days. It will be held at Salt Lake City for 15-20 participants per group.
- African based Local Certified Bookkeeper Training will take place at the partner university locations and will be instructed by select individuals that completed the Accounting Leadership Training Program.
The program is set to be launched in 2020 and will be funded by a combination of grants, sponsorship, & self-funding.
Accounting & Bookkeeping Programs to be Offered
- Color Accounting, CA – designed to make it easier to learn the fundamentals of accounting. It is an augmentation to the process that you know so well and is in no way a substitute or replacement for traditional accounting. We use color to augment how financial statements are presented, and the graphical format that results (the BaSIS Framework) helps the learner to visualize the Balance Sheet and Income Statement in a more memorable way. There is neurological evidence that most people “do colors” better than lefts and rights and ups and downs. The BaSIS Framework explains how the Income Statement connects to the Balance Sheet. This umbilical-like relationship, once seen, is hugely memorable, and something that even accountants may not have truly ‘got’ when they studied. There are other more subtle reasons, such as how the colors reinforce the inherent ‘duality’ that exists in accounting, etc. The utility of colors in this system is profound enough to have garnered patents for its inventors
- Becoming a Professional Bookkeeper, PB – In accounting, the Professional Bookkeeper™ designation represents a person who is proficient in the day-to-day practical application of the accounting process in small to mid-sized businesses. This demonstrates the accountant’s expertise and commitment in this profession while providing quality service for their employer or client.
- Becoming a QuickBooks Specialist, QS – The Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide to QuickBooks is designed to teach anybody how to use QuickBooks. The Universal Accounting ® QuickBooks Training Course has been designed to meet the needs of small businesses. Learn how to set up a company’s accounting books and build its accounting system from scratch, just like you would in real life. All other “how-to” QuickBooks courses begin with an existing company and its accounting data and use that data to teach you the program. In the Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide to QuickBooks, you create several company accounts and put in their accounting data from scratch. You then work with this data so you get the complete picture of real-world QuickBooks use.
- Becoming a Profit & Growth Expert, PGE – Learn what the short, mid and long term needs of the business are to build a thriving business that has value. Based on complete financial reports see what can be done to know proactively help the business owner make more informed business decisions while addressing the most common issue faced by small businesses, Cash Flow.
*Instruction to be provided locally (mirroring the quarters/semesters of the sponsoring local universities)
Ongoing Support and African Based Call Center
To ensure the program’s successful implementation, ongoing support will be provided for accounting, bookkeeping and software utilized in this training program will be provided to all participants. Multi-layer support will be offered, which will include e-mail, chat, phone and online options. The African based Call Center will field initial requests which may be escalated to Universal Accounting International and our consortium partners if needed.
Online recorded training modules are available to participants to help to refresh their exposure to accounting and software training as needed.
For more information please contact Universal Accounting Center directly at [email protected] or call 801-341-2427
To help as a sponsor and provided the needed funding for this project please contact Universal Accounting Center directly at [email protected]
To enroll and become a beneficiary of this project and enroll with Universal Accounting Center contact us at [email protected]