Friday, May 27, 2011


Six accountancy bodies have written to David Gauke MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, to express their concern about the forthcoming mandatory requirement that all UK companies should submit statutory accounts to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in iXBRL format.
ACCA, the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT), the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (Tax Faculty) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) are concerned about HMRC's proposals for the 'transition' arrangements, which come into effect on 1 April 2011, and the fact that there are ongoing software problems.
'It's significant that the major professional bodies have come together to put the case for a deferral,' said Chas Roy-Chowdhury, ACCA head of taxation.
'We are all recommending that plans for filing are revised to recognise the adverse impact of delays in software availability and implementation problems.'
The joint letter says that these two critical issues will 'disadvantage a substantial proportion of UK businesses, with small to medium-sized businesses and their agents being hit the hardest'.
Roy-Chowdhury added that all the organisations are keen to work with HMRC on online filing, hoping that the letter will have an impact and that action will be taken.
'HMRC should take swift action to advise taxpayers and agents of refinements to the implementation plan, and should issue clear guidance on how the current problems arising from non-delivery or late delivery of software are being addressed,' he said.
'If HMRC continues with its 1 April deadline, it will impose a significant business cost on a large number of firms that will dilute, if not destroy, the message that iXBRL should be a positive long-term step for UK businesses.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Board diversity: is gender the missing link?

Board diversity: is gender the missing link?

ACCA Pakistan organised discussion forum 'Board diversity: is gender the missing link?' on 24 May 2011 in Karachi as gender diversity on boards has become an international discussion theme.

The panelists of the forum were Mr Arif Masud Mirza, Head of ACCA Pakistan, Mr Khawar Saeed Ansari, Pakistan Corporate Governance Project Manager, IFC Pakistan, Mr Asif Malik, Vice President Corporate HR & Life Sciences, ICI Pakistan, Ms Jehan Ara, President, Pakistan Software Houses Associations (PASHA), Ms Shafqat Sultana, President, First Women Bank Limited .The discussion was be moderated by Dr Afra Sajjad, Head of Education and Policy Development, ACCA Pakistan.

'As policy makers and business leaders are internationally considering a trend for more board diversity (including gender diversity), the examination of the business case for board gender diversity in the context of Pakistan merits consideration' explained Dr Afra Sajjad, Head of Education and Policy Development of ACCA Pakistan.

Mr Mirza, Head of ACCA Pakistan commented, 'Women constitute 43% of ACCA global membership and ACCA was the first accountancy body to admit women to its membership, in 1909. The discussion paper by presenting a business case for gender diversity based on the premises of fair access and routes to progression, endorses ACCA's core values of opportunity and diversity'.

Mr Asif Malik, Vice President Corporate HR & Life Sciences, ICI Pakistan said that organisations may like to build support programmes and provide access to role models (men and women), networks and mentors (men and women) to help women in middle and senior-level management to overcome perceived obstacles and to succeed in reaching board positions.

While giving her opinion, Ms Shafqat Sultana, President, First Women Bank Limited said that even though more women have entered Pakistan's paid workforce in the last decade, from the small number of professional, qualified and experienced women directors, it appears that there is a need for greater understanding of the potential business case for gender diversity on boards of publicly listed companies.

Ms Jehan Ara, President, Pakistan Software Houses Associations (PASHA) elaborated on the role of social media and information technology in creating awareness of the business case for having women on boards.

Mr Kanwar Anwar Saeed, General Manager Human Resources, Engro Fertilizers Ltd said that business leaders who are already championing gender diversity on boards within their organisations may be encouraged to assume an ambassadorial role, promoting the benefits of gender diversity on boards at public forums.

The participants of the forum were key personals from public practice, corporate and public sector.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Audit changes must be meaningful not superficial warns ACCA

Audit changes must be meaningful not superficial warns ACCA

International inquiries into role of audit raise concerns

ACCA, in a policy paper Audit under fire: a review of the post-financial crisis inquiries, addresses the issues which have been raised during investigations by the UK House of Lords, the European Commission and the US senate. In Singapore and elsewhere, regulators are also actively engaged in stakeholder consultations to assess how audit can be enhanced. The EC has promised legislative changes by the end of 2011.

Arif Masud Mirza, Head of ACCA Pakistan said: "Audit is under unprecedented scrutiny in the UK, Brussels and the US, following the global financial crisis. We have already had the European Commission promising that 'the status quo is not an option'. In this paper we examine the various proposals put forward in the course of these inquiries and set out some recommendations for positive reform. Audit plays a vital role in the global economy by instilling trust in company reporting and we believe it needs to be enhanced for the greater benefit of investors and business.

"But it is essential that the changes made add value and are not motivated by the need to be seen as 'doing something'. Any changes need to meet an appropriate public interest test. Some of the suggestions that have been mooted during the various inquiries, would be, we believe, ineffective and costly."

Several recurring themes have emerged from the various inquiries including audit concentration, going concern issues, joint audits, mandatory audit rotation and the effect of International Financial Reporting Standards. ACCA is concerned that the political imperative for visible change may result in the wrong measures being adopted.

Arif Mirza concluded: "Policymakers and legislators have had every right to ask tough questions of auditors in the aftermath of the financial crisis. We believe enhancements to the role of audit can and should be made. But the changes which ultimately arrive as a result of all the inquiries need to bring real benefit and not be costly tinkering."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


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If you're thinking about career choices - then take a look at our 'Why Accountancy' video. Or maybe you're already an ACCA student in which case you won't want to miss our live or on-demand 'student engage' interviews. For our members we encourage you to watch the 'Fit for the Future' video or get involved and join the AGM live!

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HEC recognizes the ACCA qualification as being equivalent to a Masters degree

HEC recognizes the ACCA qualification as being equivalent to a Masters degree

The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan has granted equivalence to ACCA qualification to a Masters level degree. A circular issued by HEC states that ‘HEC recognizes the membership of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) after completion of professional qualification and other requisites including training and required professional experience as equivalent to M.Com. degree awarded by Pakistan universities on the following terms and conditions:

i) There will be no exemption awarded to incomplete qualification of ACCA.

ii) Initial admission in ACCA programme must be after having 12 years of education (intermediate level, A-level or equivalent certification from IBCC Pakistan.’

ACCA members, students, learning partners and stakeholders have hailed HEC decision calling it a major milestone in Pakistan’s professional accounting education pursuit of international recognition and excellence. Arif Masud Mirza, head of ACCA Pakistan commenting on the recognition said, ‘This is bold step by the HEC and shows that HEC is very much in touch with the changing demands of the highly skilled labour market, the mobility needs of our young members and their education aspirations generally. This is a rational step purely based on the academic merits of the ACCA qualification, I believe it will go a long way in promoting young professionals from Pakistan, increasing their employability and in the long run contributing to the social and economic development goals of Pakistan.’

Dr Afra Sajjad, Head of Education and Policy Development, stated: ‘ACCA Pakistan is dedicated to the growth of the accounting profession in the country. Essential to this is the provision of high quality tuition. In partnership with our Approved Learning Partners, through engagements, capacity building and awareness raising, ACCA aspires to bring professional accounting education in line with international benchmarks. Setting regional standards of excellence and this recognition from the HEC will add as an incentive to achieve this aim. Both ACCA and HEC share values such as integrity, opportunity, accountability, innovation and diversity, values which are very much needed if we are to rely upon our well trained young professionals to play a leading role in business and economic growth.’

The Chief Executive of ACCA, Helen Brand, offered a congratulatory message to the ACCA Pakistan community and added that: ‘This HEC recognition is evidence of the quality, rigour and integrity of the ACCA Qualification and the international standards to which it is set. This recognition will inspire ACCA members to play a greater role in both the economic and business growth of Pakistan.’

Record numbers sit ACCA exams

Record numbers sit ACCA exams

Results from ACCA's December 2010 exams session reveal that a record 205,000 individuals sat papers, with more than 6,000 taking a major step towards full membership.

Candidates around the world took more than 397,000 papers, with 6,420 students successfully completing their final ACCA exams and a further 2,926 students completing the Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) exams.

'We are delighted to see students successfully completing their examinations and demo

nstrating those skills demanded by employers in these challenging times,' said Clare Minchington, ACCA executive director - learning and products.

'ACCA is committed to developing professional accountants who can create value within business - and this is a good time to be qualifying as an ACCA member.

'Recent research by ACCA shows that CEOs expect demand for finance specialists to rise, with more than 70% seeing a need for more specialised finance roles in the future. The skills at the top of the CEO's wish lists - financial analysis for business decision making, risk management/internal control, and budgeting and financial forecasting - ar

e all fundamental elements of the ACCA Qualification.

'Regarding exam performance, we were pleased to see that performance in the Fundamentals Paper F7, Financial Reporting has improved as a result of the package of support put in place for this paper.

'We congratulate the students who have now completed their ACCA exams and we look forward to welcoming them to ACCA membership on completion of their practical experience requirements and professional ethics module.

'We would also like to congratulate those who completed the CAT exams,' Minchington added.

December 2010 session ACCA Qualification pass rates

  • Paper F1, Accountant in Business, 70%*
  • Paper F2, Management Accounting, 60%*
  • Paper F3, Financial Accounting, 60%*
  • Paper F4, Corporate and Business Law, 44%
  • Paper F5, Performance Management, 41%
  • Paper F6, Taxation, 44%
  • Paper F7, Financial Reporting, 47%
  • Paper F8, Audit and Assurance, 38%
  • Paper F9, Financial Management, 40%
  • Paper P1, Professional Accountant, 51%
  • Paper P2, Corporate Reporting, 51%
  • Paper P3, Business Analysis, 48%
  • Paper P4, Advanced Financial Management, 33%
  • Paper P5, Advanced Performance Management, 35%
  • Paper P6, Advanced Taxation, 44%
  • Paper P7, Advanced Audit and Assurance, 34%

December 2010 session CAT pass rates

  • Paper 1, Recording Financial Transactions, 65%*
  • Paper 2, Information and Management Control, 61%*
  • Paper 3, Maintaining Financial Records, 61%*
  • Paper 4, Accounting for Costs, 60%*
  • Paper 5, Managing People and Systems, 51%
  • Paper 6, Drafting Financial Statements, 63%
  • Paper 7, Planning, Control and Performance Management, 39%
  • Paper 8, Implementing Audit Procedures, 37%
  • Paper 9, Preparing Taxation Computations, 58%
  • Paper 10, Managing Finances, 41%