The Syllabi Integration Program (SIP) is a project of the LICPA to improve the quality of accounting education in the Liberia by integrating the syllabi for the LICPA’s two credentialing programs into the undergraduate Accounting curricula of participating tertiary institutions. The LICPA intends to collaborate with all tertiary institutions in integrating the SIP into their undergraduate accounting curricula.
The Accounting Technician Scheme, West Africa (ATSWA) which has three levels is integrated into the first three years of the undergraduate curriculum, with each level of the certification program aligned respectively to the freshman, sophomore, and junior years of undergraduate course work. Students therefore take Part 1 of ATSWA certification examination at the end of their freshman year, Part 2 at the end of their sophomore year, and Part 3 at the end of their junior year. Upon satisfactory completion of all levels, students are awarded the ATSWA certification by the Association of Accountancy Bodies of West Africa (ABWA) and admitted into the LICPA as Associate Accounting Technicians (AATs), as well as become eligible for waivers from the first two levels of the full CPA certification program which also has four levels, along with a waiver for one of the subjects at the third level.
The remaining two levels of the full CPA certification program are aligned with the first and second semesters of the senior year of the undergraduate curriculum. Students therefore take Part 3 of the full CPA certification examinations at the end of the first semester of the senior year and Part 4 at the end of the second semester. Upon successful completion of the full CPA examinations, students become eligible for enrollment into the LICPA as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), and also for admission into the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana (ICAG) as chartered accountants (CAs), Ghana.
The LICPA CPA certification program is actually the professional credentialing program of the ICAG, which the LICPA administers in Liberia, in collaboration with the ICAG, under a collaboration agreement signed by and between the sister Institutes in July 2010.
To date three universities have signed up for the SIP, namely Adventist University of West Africa (AUWA), Cuttington University (CU), and Stella Maris Polytechnic (SMP). The undergraduate curricula at these universities have been revised as explained above. SMP is the first to roll-out the SIP which began in September 2013. The first batch of their students is expected to take the ATSWA Part 1 examinations in the SIP in September 2014. AUWA and CU are expected to roll-out the SIP in the ensuing academic year. Considerable work has also been done with the University of Liberia (UL) in adopting the SIP, which has now advanced to the approval stage. Other universities have also expressed interest in the SIP.
Because Liberia has not had a history of professional accounting exams, the major challenge of the SIP is the limited resources to hire qualified instructors. The USAID funded Governance and Economic Management Support (GEMS) project has provided funding to hire four tutors for one year. The LICPA is actively engaging with the Government of Liberia, development partners, and private sector actors to raise funds for this very important project, and welcomes any organization or entity interested in partnering in this endeavor.