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Critical Perspectives On Accounting And Finance

Critical Perspectives On Accounting And Finance by John A. Brierley
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The Sudan Companies Act 1925 (hereafter the Act) was modelled on the UK Companies Act 1908. Despite the Sudan gaining independence from the UK in 1956 it has not been amended. One of the reasons for this has been the distraction of the Sudanese civil war which broke out in 1955 and, except for ten years of peace following the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement, has continued ever since. This has been exacerbated by seven different regimes (three civilian and three military) which have governed the country since independence. The common features shared by these regimes have been frequent changes of government, continuous cabinet reshuffles and high ministerial turnover. For example the Ministry of Economic Planning, which plays a major role in the management of the economy, has been led by 32 ministers since independence. The last multiparty democratic government, which came to office in 1986, saw four ministerial reshuffles in its three years in office with some ministerial offices changing hands on four occasions. These frequent cabinet reshuffles led to a lack of continuity in government which has been exacerbated by the lack of clear descriptions of ministerial posts, and of agreed policies or manifestos to be followed by the appointed ministers. Indeed, the lack of clear policies and strategies has made it the general norm in the Sudanese government’s history that every new minister starts his job by scrapping the policies adopted by his predecessor. This government instability affects the environment in which accounting and auditing operate and has contributed to the fact that no amendments have been made to the Act. Similarly, other acts established under British colonial rule have not been subsequently amended, these include the Bills of Exchange Act 1917 and the Insolvency Act 1929.

Furthermore, it has been argued that the establishment of a professional accounting body in the Sudan was necessary to develop accounting and auditing practice. To this end individuals who were members of professional accounting bodies outside the Sudan, notably the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in the UK, made several attempts in the early 1980s with the government to establish a professional accounting body in the Sudan. Due to the rapid changes in the political system during the 1980s these efforts did not come to fruition until the Certified Accountants Act 1988, which established the Sudanese Association of Certified Accountants (SACA). Article 4 of the 1988 Act sets out the functions of the council of the SACA, which includes the enhancement of the role of accounts in the commercial environment. This has not led, however, to any changes in the Act. Thus government instability and the lack of influence of the accounting profession has meant that the Companies Act 1925 has never been amended.

The Act was introduced to assist the formation of private and public limited liability companies, and provide rules for the governance of their operations and financial affairs, but today it is out of date. The objective of this paper is to illustrate the outdated nature of the Act’s provisions relating to accounting and auditing and offer suggestions for updating the legislation. The paper is divided into three sections. The first section discusses the Act’s accounting provisions, the second section discusses the Act’s auditing provisions, and the third section provides a brief discussion of necessary changes to the Act.

Previously published in: Managerial Auditing Journal, Volume 17, Number 3, 2002

Emerald Publishing Limited; Read online
Title: Critical Perspectives On Accounting And Finance
Author: John A. Brierley

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