Saudi Arabia financial standards lead Arab World
Saudi Arabia leads the Arab World in financial best practice and should represent the region at the international level to guide accounting and reporting standards, says one of the Kingdom’s top accountancy experts.
Dr. Ahmed Bin Abdulla Al Moghames, Secretary General of the Saudi Organisation for Certified Public Accountants (SOCPA), will challenge the misperceptions of accounting ethics in Saudi Arabia, and address the local challenges of international financial convergence in a speech to the World Accounting Summit in Dubai later this month.
Dr. Al Moghames said: “People think that accounting in Saudi Arabia is weak, and that our standards come from nowhere. But those who don’t know can’t judge. Our local standards are based on US, IFRS and British best practice, and where there are no local rules we follow IFRS.”
He said: “Our peer review programme implemented in coordination with the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants is the only one of its type in the region - and SOCPA adheres to the values of the International Federation of Accountants.”
The five-day World Accounting Summit will bring together more than 300 leading international and local accounting experts, regulators and standards setters at the Al Murooj Hotel, Dubai from May 27-31. The successful regional implementation of the global benchmark for accounting and reporting, IFRS, will be a key topic.
Dr. Al Moghames supports demands for representation of emerging markets on the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), which oversees IFRS. “If there is representation for the Arab World, it should come from SOCPA,” he said. “We share the same views and the same language, which is a big obstacle for the implementation of IFRS regionally.”
Dr. Al Moghames has called on the IASB to address double standards in the application of international financial reporting standards. “Most countries that have adopted IFRS have not used it exactly as it is. But we are being asked to adopt it 100 per cent – this is a case of double standards. EU countries have adopted it but there have been changes, they want their own standards to be the base.”
Established by Royal Decree in 1992 to oversee the accounting and auditing profession in the Kingdom, SOCPA will embark on an 18-month review of procedures to assess the gap between existing standards and compliance with IFRS.
Dr. Al Moghames said: “If we see that new standards need to be issued or existing ones modified, we will do it. Addressing the obstacles will take time. It’s not just about standards, it’s also about how they are applied and who applies them – and nobody is looking at that. If you adopt IFRS 100 per cent without the right knowledge, it is of no benefit. There is insufficient training and professionalism in the Middle East, and standards cannot be applied without quality people and proper adherence to ethics.”
Agata Pawlik, Conference Director at IIR, organisers of the World Accounting Summit, said: “This year’s World Accounting Summit in Dubai provides a valuable opportunity to address the challenges of IFRS implementation in the Middle East. It also brings together board members from the IASB, the major accounting associations worldwide, advisors to multinational companies, and key users and writers of financial statements. Valuable workshops addressing IFRS for key verticals like real estate and the oil and gas sector will also be held.”
Taking place at the Al Murooj Hotel, the World Accounting Summit welcomes a wide selection of industry speakers including Robert Garnett, Chairman of IFRIC and Board Member of the IASB in the UK; and Richard Martin, Head of Financial Reporting at The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
Dr. Habib Al Mulla, Chairman of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA); and Abbas Ali Mirza, Partner, Deloitte Middle East, will also address delegates.
© 2006 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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