Abdul Baset Al Janahi, Chief Executive Office of Dubai SME
Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED), Government of Dubai, entrusted with the development of the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, has co-organised with the Arab Society of Certified Accountants (ASCA) and the UK based IFRS Foundation a 3-day Train the Trainer workshop on the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) for Small and Medium Entities (SMEs). The workshop was held in Dubai from 27 – 29 Sep.
Professionals in the Accounting and Auditing Trade, financial analysts in banks & government agencies, financial consultants as well finance executives of selective SMEs participated in the workshop which was inaugurated by HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, ASCA's Chairman. About 110 trainees from various countries in the region such as Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Yemen, Oman, including the UAE attending in the workshop. The workshop was facilitated by Paul Pacter (IASB member and Chairman of the IASB’s SME Implementation Group) and Michael Wells (Director of the IFRS Foundation’s Education Initiative).
The Workshop aimed at developing the capacity of regional trainers to provide subsequent training on the IFRS for SMEs in their own jurisdiction in addition to opening a door of opportunities for other stakeholders including standard setters and regulators to promote high quality implementation of the IFRS for SMEs.
The need to create greater awareness amongst SMEs to adopt proper financial reporting standards cannot be stressed enough. The financial crisis has shown how the lack of transparency in the financial system contributed to a credit crunch. The use of internationally recognised accounting standard contributes greatly to transparency in financial reporting and thereby improves SMEs access to finance.
In a survey of SMEs’ development needs in Dubai, it was found that more than half of established SMEs with at least 5-years of operation had unaudited accounts. Informal feedback gathered from banks also revealed that a vast majority of SMEs, even the medium, established SMEs do not adopt any financial reporting standards or even undertake basic annual audits of their financial books. This is indeed worrying, as it can be a major barrier to a SMEs’ growth in a sustainable way. Many SMEs surveyed revealed that they were prepared to pay to adopt some form of international reporting standard if the auditors had the right accreditation and did not charge excessively.
Hence, as part of Dubai SME’s development plan for the SME sector, it is initiating this critical initiative to train a pool of trainers who will then transmit the knowledge to others who will in turn train SMEs who are prepared to adopt proper accounting standards. This is the thinking behind holding the IFRS for SMEs train the trainer workshops in Dubai this week
The IFRS for SMEs is an abridged version of the standards suited for SMEs in different stages of growth. It is less onerous, yet maintains the key principles of the set of International Financial Reporting Standards that is used by listed companies. Dubai SME aims to promote such standards amongst SMEs in Dubai, to help them become more bankable and investable.
H.E. Sami Dhaen Al Qamzi, Director General, Department of Economic Development – Dubai, remarked “this is a significant milestone in Dubai’s SME Development agenda. Adopting a standard way of reporting financial accounts is crucial if our companies want to achieve new growth in global markets, as well as to raise external capital. The Dubai government supports such initiative for SMEs to voluntarily adopt such standards for their own good. I commend Dubai SME for initiating such a strategic initiative to create greater awareness of the importance of adopting IFRS amongst the SME community so as to enable their future development”.
H.E Abdul Baset Al Janahi, Chief Executive Office of Dubai SME, expressed “I am confident that over time, more growing SMEs will embrace IFRS to enable them to be more bankable and investable. The train-the-trainer programme aims to train the accounting, auditing, banking, finance and other related professionals on how to train SMEs on the IFRS for SMEs so as to increase the adoption rate amongst Dubai’s SMEs. All stakeholders will certainly benefit from this initiative – the end users who are the SMEs and banking, finance and accounting industry.
H.E. Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman of ASCA said in his opening speech "This event creates endless opportunities for all to benefit and provides an umbrella for interaction among trainers to share their experience, tackle common issues related to IFRS for SMEs. We thank Dubai for hosting such a great event."
"ASCA has worked effortlessly to promote the SMEs standards throughout the Arab world and has just recently finished translating of the training material and the presentation slides as part of its contribution and responsibility to the Arab professionals," he added.
Also ASCA finished the translation work of IFRS for SMEs
Michael Wells, Director of the IFRS Foundation’s education initiative thanked Dubai SME for most efficiently hosting this important regional training workshop and the ASCA for translating the IFRS Foundation IFRS for SMEs training material into the Arabic-language. He said ‘’I believe that this workshop is an important catalyst for improving SMEs’ access to capital in Dubai and across the region. Better access to capital supports greater growth in the SME sector and should unlock benefits for the whole economy.’’