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Contrôle de gestion bancaire et réglementation prudentielle dans la Communauté Economique et Monétaire de l'Afrique Centrale (CEMAC. Cas de Ecobank Cameroun

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par Fabrice BATCHAGNA
CESAG (centre africain d'études supérieures en gestion) Dakar Sénégal - Master en banque et finance 2005

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During the past fifteen years several transformation affected the banking sector in CEMAC zone. First of all the banks which were own by governments for a great majority have been privatizes. So much so that the sector is now in the hands of the private sector.

Another major breakthrough is that the international environment in banking and finance has change tremendously from fixed monetary rate to a floationg rate. Also there are new regulations to be followed by banks.

All these factors led to the increase of the risks involved in the banking sector. Now banks are obliged to produce adequate results in order to satisfy their shareholders. This in creases risks in management. Also they are face with international as well as local regulations which they must observ. There is a banking commission which has been put in place in order to control the banking system.

Faced by all these new challenges measures were put in place both by the banks and governments in order to tackle them. In the banks management tools as well as technology is more and more utilized in order to reduce risk. One of these management tools is management accounting which is a means that can help the banks achieve their strategy and control their risks.

The government on its side put in place new regulations and bodies to help it stabilize the banking system. There is as we said the banking commission for central African States (COBAC) which was put in place in 1990 in order to regulate the activities of banks.

We ask ourselves whether a link could be found between these two functions that is: management accounting and prudential regulation. The reason behind this research is that we once heard a management accountant of a Senegalese bank complain that the banking commission was disturbing their business with all its regulations. Puzzled by such a remark we are asking ourselves whether some truth could be found in such an affirmation by a person of such great experience?

In order to solve the problem we put in place a plan of action which divided the work in two parts: the first part was concerned by what the relationship between the two groups was supposed to be according to famous authors. The second part focuses on real life situation notably at Ecobank Cameroon.

In the first part we dealt with the review of literature in which we identified what authors in the domain have written. In this part we understood that management accounting was design to help managed the decentralization of business organisation. In fact some firms had grown quite big and required special management tools such as management accounting in order to be control adequately; that was the point of view of Anthony.

We also identified the regulatory system in the CEMAC zone. We discovered that it is separated into two separate parts: the first one is constituted by authorities from the various countries of the CEMAC zone. They set on banking laws and rules which are applied in all the member countries. Meanwhile the second one is constituted by the local authorities of each country. They are taking care of the banking profession welfare. We also try for the first time to identify the possible links and divergence between the two concepts. We discovered briefly that even though some converging points could be found, there were also many point of differences between the two. In fact from this first evaluation we came to the conclusion that despite everything these two concepts had a same source which was banking risks.

In reality be it management accounting or prudential regulation, they are both measures design to control risk in banks. We should not forget that banking is a very risky business. That is the reason why in order to better understand the two concepts of interest to us; we decided to identify those risks. The study of banking risks made us realize that although it is quite easy to pronounce the word, in reality it is not very clear to define it. We saw that risk could be define according to the bank's capacity of managing the business; according also to the ability of customers to meet their engagements towards the bank ; according to the economic environment in which the bank is operating and finally according to the micro and macroeconomic environment.

We also saw that two groups have focus on the subject; the first one was constituted by practising bankers while the second group was constituted by theorist. Then having an idea on what risk in banks could refer to, we started to study measures that were put in place to tackle risks in banks. We then saw that regulations existed both at an international level as well as at a local level. We noticed that governments through out the world were concerned about the issue of securing the banking system. Which is why ratios such as the Cooke ratio were put in place by the leading country of the world? These ratios we noticed though put in place by the leading countries were followed by all the other countries and local banking authorities were there to insure that these ratios were well applied.

In CEMAC, we noticed that the banking authorities did not fail to follow the rest of the world by abiding to the respect of international ratios of solvability. Though they did so with a local touch. Other measures were put in place by the banking commission of Central African States in order to measure and control risks in the zone. But at no point those measures came into contradiction with what was decided by the Bale committee.

We there after try to see whether a link existed between those measures and management accounting in banks. We came to the conclusion that there was apparently a strong link .This is so because management accounting is the function generally in charge of risk measurement and reporting in the bank. Since prudential regulation required that banks should report to the banking commission concerning risks; it is obvious that the two had a lot of connections. In fact management accounting and the banking commission are supposed to be communicating on various issues related to risks the bank. Management accountant ought to be answerable to the commission on any problem related to the risks control in the bank.

So, obvious was the link that we decided to understand a bit more what management accounting was all about.

Again this study led us to discover that there is not a standard type of management accounting; but instead various types. These types varied according to the organisational culture; values and management styles. However, we saw that no matter the form it took, an organisation needed a management accounting department in order to manage appropriately. In fact, management accounting is an instrument that is used by organisation in order to achieve their goals and measure their costs adequately. It is concern with putting in place the budget in the business and making sure that it is followed and respected by the various teams. In order to achieve this aim, we discovered that the budget first of all required the participation of all the members of the organisation; the reason was that they were the one to put into action the figures in the budget. So they had to part take in its elaboration in order to feel concern. Thereafter management accountant had to divide the organisation into small profit centres, cost centres and so forth that could help it control the activities adequately. These activities had to be measured and a reporting made. To be able to do so, management accounting required a good management information system that could provide real time information. Information on the activities of the business has to be available on a daily basis so that management accounting can analyse the operation of the business and detect possible risks or drawback that could disturb. They provide feedbacks to field workers who are able to monitor their activities. This is a great means to reducing risks exposure in a bank.

We saw also that the management accounting profession was faced with innovatory instruments. Some of these instruments such as the benchmarking were somewhat more helpful than others. However we came to the conclusion after studying them that they did not affect the link between prudential regulation and management accounting.

Also we try to imagine what future was deserved to management accounting in terms of perspectives. We saw that many directions could be envisaged. One of these directions was focus on the amelioration of the reporting styles in organisation. In short it is said that the actual standard of reporting is too financial and doesn't provide enough social informations. So the next types of reporting may be more a mixture of financial and sociological factors such as the goodwill of the organisation, customer satisfaction and so on.

Having seen what management accounting was all about and analyse the possible links between it and prudential regulation; we wanted to see whether such links existed in real life situation. In order to get the answer to this question we observ during a three month internship at the management accounting department of Ecobank Cameroon what relationship existed between it and prudential regulation.

Ecobank Cameroon is the Central African branch of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, a fifteen year old West Africa dynamic bank. The branch was opened in 2001 and has faced an exceptional growth last year in term of positioning. Barely after four years of operation, the bank has opened three agencies already; which is remarkable given the competition among banks in the country. At Ecobank Cameroon we noticed that the management accounting department is named financial control or more commonly call fincon.

Fincon we noticed play the role of both the financial management department as well as the management accounting department. As the management accounting department we saw that it plays effectively the role we described previously that is , put in place the budget , and follow it up to insure that it is well applied in the bank by the various departments. But apart from that role, what interested us was the link between it and the prudential regulation. Our interest was not deceived as we noticed that they both had several contact mainly through reporting made by the first to the latter. In fact regulations required fincon to measure the risk of Ecobank Cameroon and report it to the banking commission. And so on various datelines.

So, at the end we came to the conclusion that there is a link between the two concepts. So much so that management accountant ought to follow closely the prescriptions of the banking commission so as to preserve it. In fact respecting regulations is not a bad idea in the sense that it made the bank more safe and manageable. Also last but not the least, it preserve banking stability in the country and so throughout the world.

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