The impact that the move to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) will have on businesses in Saudi Arabia was tackled at a high level panel discussion organised by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) in Riyadh.
With just over a year to go before all listed companies are required to report their business performance under IFRS in 2017, and with all non-listed businesses expected to follow suit a year later, ACCA bought together business leaders at a critical time to look at where businesses should be in their preparations and of which issues they should be aware.
Anis Motorwala, ACCA’s Head of Business Development, Middle East & North Africa, said: “The clock is ticking for all businesses in Saudi Arabia who may need to make significant changes to the way in which they report their business activities. Many businesses have already begun work on tackling the conversion to the new standards, but others may still have plenty of work to do. We wanted to not only show business leaders where they should be in the convergence journey but also to offer advice.”
“ACCA was the first body to incorporate IFRS into its qualification 20 years ago, which means that our qualified professionals are well versed in the standards. We also believe that the adoption of global standards will further enhance business opportunities for businesses in the kingdom as it enables potential business partners and clients around the world who already use IFRS to more easily understand the figures they see,” he added.
“To further support the transition to IFRS ACCA has developed a Diploma in International Financial Reporting a globally recognised study program which is available to all professional accountants and auditors which gives them a greater understanding of the standards,” said Anis Motorwala.
Delegates at the event at the Courtyard Marriot Hotel, Riyadh, heard from Zubair Baloch – Financial Controller of Al Marai and Sami Abu Suraih – IFRS Conversion Project Manager of Saudi Electricity Company about how their companies were preparing for IFRS, along with Muhammad Asif Iqbal – Director Accounting Standards, SOCPA, Kashif Zafar – Senior Director Audit, KPMG and Manoj Shah – Partner PwC Advisory about the work being undertaken by SOCPA and the big accountancy firms. The discussion was moderated by ACCA member Taha Ali, a Senior Manager in PwC’s Capital Markets and Accounting Advisory team.
Asif Iqbal said: “Alhamdulillah SOCPA is very much on track towards achieving the project timelines of the landmark project for transition to international accounting and auditing standards which was initiated in 2012. SOCPA under the dynamic leadership of Minister of Commerce and Industry and Chairman SOCPA Board, H.E. Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al Rabiah, is working very closely with all stakeholders like other regulators, accountancy firms, corporate world and the international standard setters towards achieving this challenging task.”
In summing up the event Taha Ali told delegates that it was critical that they choose sustainable accounting solutions, that they manage and educate stakeholders early and that they do not delay the conversion process. “The key message is act now,” he said.
Dur Hospitality Company CFO Yaser AlQuhidan said: “We are very pleased to host this significant event as it discusses a very critical subject that will have huge influence on the company’s operating in Saudi Arabia and will leverage the existing standards to international standards to ensure growth, transparency and sustainability. All companies are preparing for the transition to the IFRS standards and this workshop gathered business leaders from all sectors to benefit from ACCA Experience.”