Saudi Best Practices Lead Arab World
“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,” Dr. Al Moghames told AME Info.
Dr. Al Moghames continued, ”Our peer review programme implemented in cooperation with the American Institute of 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.”
Abbas Ali Mirza told AME Info, “There has been substantial progress on IFRS implementation in the UAE in the last couple of years, but this has been the result of best practice rather than the legal framework, with the exception of banks in the UAE which are required to follow IFRS under the direction of the Central Bank.” Mirza is a partner at Deloitte & Touche and new Chairman of the Auditors Group of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Concerning double standards in the application of international financial reporting standards, Dr. Al Moghames said, “Most companies that have adopted IFRS have not used it exactly as it is. But we are being asked to adopt it 100 percent – 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.”
SOCPA is scheduled to begin an 18-month review of procedures needed to assess the gap in existing standards and IFRS compliance. Dr. Al Moghames told AME Info, “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.”
Dr. Al Moghames told AME Info, “If you adopt IFRS 100 percent 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.”
The SOCPA was established in 1992 to oversee the accounting and auditing professions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Over 300 important international and accounting experts, regulators and standards makers local to the Mid-East will be attending the World Accounting Summit. A key topic of the summit will be the successful implementation of IFRS, the benchmark of global accounting and reporting.
Shabnam Rawal said, “The World Accounting Summit has broken new ground for the regional financial standards industry by gathering the world’s most respected experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities of accounting convergence openly, robustly and in the context of Middle East economies,” according to AME Info. Rawal is the Group Director for Conferences and Training for the summit organizer IIR Middle East.
If there is representation for the Arab World, it should come from SOCPA, Dr. Al Moghames said. “We share the same views and the same language, which is a big obstacle for the implementation of IFRS regionally.”