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International Financial Reporting Standard for SMEs Training Hosted by ADDED’s Export Support Division

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International Financial Reporting Standard for SMEs Training Hosted by ADDED’s Export Support Division

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
The Foreign Trade and Export Support division of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) began its three-day accounting training course. The attendees heard opening remarks from Dr. Adeeb Al Afifi, Director-Foreign Trade and Export Support and H.E. Talal Abu Ghazaleh, Chairman and CEO of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization and the Chairman of the Arab Society of Certified Accountants (ASCA). The number of attendees exceeds what ADDED and the event’s sponsors—National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Etihad Airways—anticipated. According to Dr. Al Afifi, Export Support received more than 130 inquiries regarding the training session and more than 100 registered. The training is being led by the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) Foundation, which is part of the London-based International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). The goal of the IASB/IFRS’ work for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is to develop an accounting standard that reduces the financial reporting burden on SMEs. Dr. Al Afifi explained the importance of companies using an internationally recognized standard, “Corporate governance and financial stability have been key topics globally for the last few years. Accounting is critical to this.” He added, “Properly maintaining financial statements that others can understand are vital for companies to be able to export and to grow. This is why we are hosting this event.”Accounting training will be part of the Export Capabilities Development Program currently being designed by Export Support. According to Mr. Chris O’Neill, Export Capabilities Program Manager, the IFRS SME standard will be part of the development program. The use of this standard was recommended, the program manager stated, “We consulted with a group of locally-owned and international accounting firms. It is the recommendation of these professionals that we are following.”Companies that do not have an accounting system in place with audited books are expected to attend future accounting training sessions. In his opening remarks, Dr. Al Afifi mentioned, “As Director of Foreign Trade and Export Support, my primary focus is on how the implementation of an accounting system by a company will affect its export development. However, the Department (ADDED) recognizes the broader impact it has on companies; ranging from expansion loans to making management decisions.”H.E. Abu Ghazaleh stressed the role of SMEs in the MENA region’s economic development within his opening remarks, “It is a fact that SMEs are the major employer and the major contributor to productivity. At least 80% of the workforce are employed by SMEs and contribute to 80% of the GDP. It is worth mentioning that more than 99% of the registered commercial entities are SMEs, employing less than 100 staff.  Hence is the importance of the IFRS for SMEs. In fact by doing so we are addressing the major users of International Accounting Standards i.e. the SMEs.” More than 100 people from eight countries registered to attend the three-day training. Mr. Paul Pacter, one of the IFRS trainers, observed, “We have completed around 25 three-day training sessions globally. This is one of the largest groups of attendees.” Approximately 50% of attendees are accountants with accounting firms, with other attendees being with banks, consulting firms, other for-profit companies, and government entities. Export Support expects those attendees from accounting firms that successfully complete the three days to train Abu Dhabi exporters as part of its Export Capabilities Development Program. ADDED, Export Support, and the events other sponsors are excited about the turnout and enthusiasm of the attendees. Dr. Al Afifi summarized the opinion of all associated with the event, “I think I can speak for the other organizations involved with this event, the Arab Society of Certified Accountants, IFRS, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, and Etihad Airways. This event will contribute to the development of entrepreneurship and SMEs in the Abu Dhabi and the region, as well as assist Abu Dhabi companies become more competitive exporters.”
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