12 April 2011
Professor Bhimani delivered the keynote address titled “Globalisation Trends: Implications for Management Accounting in East Africa” at the Makerere University Business School Accounting and Finance Research Conference in Kampala, Uganda on 12 April 2011. His talk focused on the power of technology to transform East Africa’s management accounting practices and knowledge base. In his address, he noted the potential of carefully crafted accounting changes to positively impact enterprises and in the process to help reshape the region’s economy , social structure and business professionals’ profile as agents of change. Professor Bhimani noted the rapid changes being effected within some developing countries via emerging technologies enabling them to leapfrog long term structural economic changes which advanced economies have had to invest into over the past five decades. He commented on the capacity of advanced digital technologies to remove the need for institutionalized structures which require intense investments. He discussed the ability of mobile banking technologies such as M-Sante to bring to the commercial fore individuals who traditionally have been economically marginalized. He also identified key challenges including the growing global value of transparency and accountability. Professor Bhimani noted the essence of further investments into governance systems and the adoption of international standards to enable resource rich countries like Uganda to engage in the fast pace of growth witnessed by many emerging economies. But he warned against the wholesale adoption of Western precepts of management and business organization where these were antithetical to Ugandan and East African value systems. He highlighted the need to preserve contextual modes of operations and styles of professional inter-relationships which have emerged over a long period of time to successfully contribute to growth in East Africa. Professor Bhimani noted the challenge of identifying enabling modes of organizational management precepts from foreign contexts and embedding these in a positive manner within East African businesses and administrative settings. Accounting change, Professor Bhimani noted, is one approach to creating a positive environment for Uganda to further its economic engagement with other countries in a balanced manner. This is because, if thoughtfully designed, it can enhance the visibility of performance and growth and therefore enable the trajectory towards a sounder economic and social base to be assessed and better managed.
Professor Bhimani with the Professor Charles Omagor (Dean) and Dr Stephen Nkundabanyanga (Head of Accounting Department).