The development of the accounting professional in a postcolonial context: evidence from Sierra Leone

Kaifala, Gabriel Bamie (2016) The development of the accounting professional in a postcolonial context: evidence from Sierra Leone. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Despite increasing interest in the development of the accountancy profession and constitutive professional bodies in ex-colonies, little is known about the development of professional accountants as individuals. Similarly, although the continuing influence of the legacies of colonialism and imperialism on the accounting professionalisation trajectory in ex-colonies has been recognised, little attempt has been made to theorise such continuing colonial intervention as a postcolonial condition of accommodation and resistance, with implications for the development of professional accountants. This thesis fills this vacuum by employing four aspects of the critical lens of postcolonial theory – local-global nexus, psycho-existential complex, postcolonial hybridity and diaspora - to gain an insight into the development of accounting professionals in ex-colonies with specific reference to Sierra Leone. Specifically, it examines the current model of accounting professionalisation adopted in Sierra Leone and implications for the development of professional accountants in the country; investigates the historical and ideological legacies of colonialism that shaped and continue to influence the professionalisation trajectory in Sierra Leone; explores the perceptions of Sierra Leonean chartered and aspiring accountants of their professional identity in terms of their professional development within Sierra Leone; and explores the lived experiences of Sierra Leonean chartered and aspiring accountants in the diaspora and the diaspora effect on accountancy in Sierra Leone. The empirical evidence presented here emanated from two sources: a web-based survey and semi-structured interviews with Sierra Leonean chartered and aspiring accountants both within and outside the country at the time of the study.

The model for developing professional accountants in Sierra Leone comprises a partnership between the local professional body, ICASL, and the British-based global body, the ACCA. A postcolonial analysis of the empirical evidence reveals that an unintended consequence of this model is that the local is co-opted within the global while the global becomes increasingly localised. The analysis also shows that the presence of a perceived global body ‘inferiorises’ the local body to the point of undesirability among local chartered and aspiring accountants. Thus the partnership has to date done little by way of developing ICASL’s capacity to ensure the development of a localised profession and professionals. Instead, it produces, within the Sierra Leone accountancy space, professional hybrids that at once pose as global as well as local accountants. This has significant implications for the local profession because many of the hybrid professional accountants who could potentially drive the local profession forward end up in the diaspora, which leaves the local profession in a weaker state. Also, given the established link between a robust accountancy profession and sustainable economic development, such professional diasporisation could negatively impact on the country’s economic development. In sum, Sierra Leone has failed to establish an accounting professionalisation model that develops professional accountants (through contextualised professional education and training) that meets the specific accounting needs of its growing economy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Professionalisation, postcolonial theory, chartered accountants, aspiring accountants, Sierra Leone.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Paisey, Professor Catriona
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Rev Gabriel Bamie Kaifala
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7518
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2016 10:28
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2019 09:48

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