Auditing Boost in Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine -- Parliament’s attempt last week to shove through legislation necessary to making Ukraine a credible World Trade Organization candidate was a colorful mess – we’re informed that a full five microphones were broken during all that brawling around the Rada speaker’s podium.

Fight in the Parliament of Ukraine between deputies of the progovernmental fractions and oppositions

But some good did come out of the spectacle. In particular, the Rada passed a law that will allow qualified foreigners to perform auditing work in Ukraine. This is a small, healthy step for the country.

In reality, nothing much is expected to change in the short term. Western auditing firms – and Western auditors – have been a presence in Ukraine for a long time. They’ve gotten around legal restrictions by using native Ukrainian employees as, in effect, front-men on auditing jobs, and through other means. But parliament’s move sends the right signal. For one thing, it eliminates yet another of the command-economy obstacles to Ukraine’s assuming its place in the world community. For another thing, it makes it easier for Western auditing practices to disseminate themselves through the Ukrainian market. Ukraine has a lot to learn from Western auditors, and this will make it easier for it to do so.

As good as this move is, Ukraine still hides behind other self-defeating obstacles. One of them is the dumb law that mandates that companies who want to hire a non-Ukrainian must prove that no native exists who can perform the job as well.

This silly law should be scrapped, because it’s bad for Ukraine. Bringing foreign professionals into Ukraine – it hardly needs saying – is good for the country. It raises industry standards and injects new energy and ideas into the mix. That Ukrainians have been legally discouraged from working alongside their most advanced Western colleagues in various fields is self-destructive. Shouldn’t a country in fact want top quality people working in its economy, no matter where they’re from? Isn’t so much of the intellectual and economic vitality of the West a function of its embrace of outsiders who have something to teach it?

The sooner the Rada scraps these ludicrous measures, too, the better. Too bad legislators won’t be back at work until September.

Source: Kyiv Post