President Maithripala Sirisena conferred the National Honours 2019 Sri Lanka Sikhamani on Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala for distinguished services of a general nature in honour of the outstanding services rendered by him to the Motherland. The ceremony organised by the Presidential Secretariat was held at the BMICH on 19 August.
Prof. Lakshman R Watawala is an eminent Chartered and Management Accountant who has been at the helm of key State institutions and private companies for over four decades.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants of UK, Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka, Chartered Global Management Accountant, AAT Sri Lanka and Institute of Chartered Professional Managers of Sri Lanka.,
He founded the Association of Accounting Technicians of Sri Lanka in 1987 to provide a technician level qualification to meet the shortages of accounting technicians in Sri Lanka estimated by the Asian Development Bank study in 1986 which stated that Sri Lanka required 12,000 accounting technicians by the year 2000. As at date 35,000 have passed the final exams and qualified as accounting technicians. AATSL have registered a total of 332,000 students for its examinations. AATSL obtained the membership of IFAC and CAPA.
The AAT Sri Lanka was started with zero capital but it has been built to an institution which today has its own land and head office with assets of over Rs. 795 million, a turnover of Rs. 275 million per annum.
Prof. Watawala also set up the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka (CMA) in 1999 and launched it on 3 June 2000 paving opportunities for a vast number of Sri Lankan students to acquire a professional qualifications in management accountancy at an affordable cost. CMA was incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 2009 and obtained the membership of IFAC, CAPA and SAFA.
He was the Founder signatory to the formation of the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) in 1984 its 1st Vice President and 2nd President in 1986 and currently serves on the Board of Directors of SAFA. In the State and Government sector Prof. Watawala has served twice as Chairman and Director General of the Board of Investment, Chairman of People’s Bank, People’s Merchant Bank, Ceylon Leather Products Corporation, State Mining and Mineral Development Corporation, National Insurance Trust Fund and Advisor Finance Ministry.
In the private sector he was Finance Director Rowlands Co. Ltd., Founder Chairman of Korea Ceylon Footwear Co. Ltd., 1st Chairman Pan Asia Bank, Former Director Richard Peiris & Co. Plc, former Director DFCC, Deputy Chairman Gestetner Ceylon Plc., Director Lanka IOC Plc, Lakehouse Printers and Publisher Plc, SLT Campus.
In the professional management field Prof. Watawala set up the Institute of Chartered Professional Managers and served as the President of the Association of Management Development Institute in South Asia (AMDISA).
He is also a Past President of the Organization of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka when the OPA conducted the first Career Fair during his presidency.
He has served on the Councils of the University of Kelaniya, Open University of Sri Lanka and the Board of the Institute of Computer Studies of the Colombo University. He was appointed Adjunct Professor, Swinburne Graduate School of Management, Australia and Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants Sri Lanka inducted Prof. Watawala to its Hall of Fame in 2013 in recognition of his services to the profession and the public in an illustrious career spanning over four decades covering the private and public sectors.
Prof. Watawala is an old boy of S. Thomas’s College Mount Lavinia where he captained the school hockey team and was the Head Prefect. He served his articles at Turquand & Co-Chartered Accountants (now Ernst & Young) and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1972.