Professor Stephen Adei, a leadership and governance expert, has called on institutions and professional bodies to act without restraint in weeding out experts and consultants who do not uphold the ethics of their professions.
“People are just clamouring for titles without having to work for them. We must be rigorous and define what constitutes an expert, and deal with those who fall foul of it,” he said at a thought-leadership breakfast meeting to mark the 20th anniversary celebration of Morrison and Associates – a tax, auditing and accounting firm – which came off in Accra.
The former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration noted that even though the economy, generally, does not have enough experts, some sectors have an adequate amount – only there is a challenge with maintaining professional ethics.
“These days, it is becoming dangerous to tell who is a good expert because of charlatans parading all over; including fake pastors, accountants and doctors,” he bemoaned.
The National Accreditation Board (NAB) sometime last year cautioned persons who have been conferred with honorary doctorate degrees, especially those from questionable and unaccredited international institutions, to desist from using the title ‘Dr.’ since it is wrong to do so.
The NAB noted that it is currently seeking legal backing to prosecute institutions and persons behind the award of fraudulent honours.
Why you need an expert’s advice
Speaking on the topic ‘A good business never neglects to take expert advice’, Professor Adei noted that it is cheaper and more cost-efficient to seek the advice of experts instead of undertaking a project on one’s own assumptions.
“Experts are the cheapest expenditures individuals and businesses can make. What many people do not know is that if you do not use experts, it will always cost you more; and also they tend to bring industry-wide experience.
“They [experts] bring independence, so that also helps you. Even if you are the best of managers you are not able to look into every detail or sector, and therefore the expertise comes in to fill gaps and cut down the glitches,” he urged.
He explained that three things define who a true expert is: the person has gone through rigorous knowledge acquisition and training; he/she has gone through a defined pattern of experience; and thirdly the person upholds professional ethics, including honesty, credibility and integrity.
He lauded Morrison and Associates for upholding all professional ethics in auditing the books of clients, which has seen the firm grow from a small one to one of the biggest auditing firms in the country, with international partners.
“This is where I think Morrison and Associates is top of the pile, in addition to its desire to help young and small companies to have good systems. The company is ready to help a start-up for free till they grow up. That is very unusual considering accounting and auditing firms I know of,” he added.
M&As ‘Ps’ and ‘Cs’
Herbert Morrison, the firm’s founding partner, explained that what has brought Morrison and Associates this far is its strength and foundation in God, the pursuit of transparency and integrity, and the commitment of staff who make sure they deliver quality service.
“Whatever you do, you must do it as unto the Lord. We want to work to deliver expert advice so that God is glorified,” he said, adding that the cardinal principles of the firm are rooted in ‘Ps’: principles not personalities, profession not politics, performance not promises, position not possession, private not public.
“Then there are my ‘Cs’ of competence, commitment, comportment, communication and common sense,” he added.