A team of 40 trained CPA members deliver free sessions at schools, libraries and churches around the country via three key programs. (Renatta Mohammed)

Accounting | Financial Literacy

From budgeting to retirement planning, financial literacy programming helps Barbadians build life-long money management skills

CPA Canada’s free sessions are educating adults and young people to set them on a stronger path economically

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As Barbados moves into a time of economic restructuring and transformation focusing on sustainable and inclusive growth, increasing financial literacy among Barbadians is a timely endeavour. 

CPA Canada’s Barbados chapter, which was launched in November 2016, is doing just that by bringing financial literacy programming to hundreds of adults and student on the island.

“We have taken what CPA Canada financial literacy programs offer and are educating our community,” says Felicia Sue, who is a director of the Barbados chapter and also chairman of its financial literacy program.“Many people have been dealing with financial challenges and as a result the program is relevant to what is happening in our economy.”

A team of 40 trained CPA members deliver free sessions at schools, libraries and churches around the country via three key programs: adult sessions focus on being a good financial role model and retirement planning; primary school sessions (8-10 years old) educate on savings and bank accounts; and secondary school sessions (11-14 years old) speak to budgeting and expenses.

Budgeting and expenses workshop for the first forms at St. Michael’s Secondary School (Renatta Mohammed)

“It helps them to think more about being financially prudent, and especially how they should manage their finances,” says Sue. “Children and young people get into good habits of spending and saving early, which benefits society in general.”

Sessions are adapted so content is culturally relevant and relatable to the audience. For example, when teaching primary students about cash flow, a case study involving the daily fare paid on Private Service Vehicles they take to school is used as an analogy.

“The attraction of the program is that something often presented in a complex language is now from an everyday perspective,” says Oliver Jordan, chairman of the CPA Canada Barbados Chapter and a partner with PwC Eastern Caribbean.

The workshop had 150 students participate, along with three CPAs (Renatta Mohammed)

Overall, feedback has been positive with more sessions being requested. Sue believes that there has been a shift in participant’s attitudes towards saving and spending of money. “The adults found that there was something to be learnt and were fully engaged in the hour-long sessions,” adds Sue. “The students liked that they were interactive, and the teachers were so impressed that they always request a repeat.”

Moving forward, Sue hopes to see more lives being transformed and set on the right path economically with the help of these sessions. “The objective down the line, is to see people change their lifestyles, as it relates to financial management and it would be because of the seed that CPAs would have planted to get them to do it,” she says.

For Jordan, increasing the number of financial literacy sessions being offered and targeting more of the population is also a top priority for the Barbados chapter.

“Expanding the program further is a great opportunity for us,” he says. “Building awareness is not just for financially literacy, but also for the CPA brand.”

FOR MORE

You can be part of the financial literacy program. Learn out how you can become a CPA Canada volunteer for the Barbados chapter or find other opportunities closer to home. You can also request a financial literacy session for your own organization.