Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New online application process launched

At ACCA we strongly believe that only our exams should be challenging and demanding. Applying to be a student shouldn't be.

That's why we've been working hard to improve our online application process so it's easier for you to apply to take our qualifications.

Our online application process is quicker and more convenient than ever before. You can now:
  • apply online for the ACCA Qualification or Foundations in Accountancy suite of awards
  • upload all supporting documentation so the application process is now fully automated
  • save part-completed applications and return to complete them at a later stage
  • claim provisional exemptions so they know which level they can start their studies immediately after completing their application
  • track their application online
  • receive confirmation of their application within a shorter time period.
Apply Now:-

Askari Bank becomes ACCA Gold Approved Employer

ACCA seeks to recognise and reward leading organisations that offer continual learning and development support to ACCA trainees. Having partnerships with over 8,500 employers across the world, ACCA Pakistan recently awarded Askari Bank Limited with Gold approved employer status.
The approved employer certificate was presented to Mr M. R Mehkari, President and Chief Executive, Askari Bank Limited by head of business development at ACCA Pakistan, Haroon A Jan.  
Commenting on the support ACCA will extend to Askari Bank, Mr Jan stressed that the ACCA approved employer program will assist Askari Bank in building their human resource competency, align practical experience performance with their professional development, understand how to tackle key development issues of financial professionals and facilitate sharing of best practices between the two entities. He further emphasized that ACCA and Askari Bank should work in conjunction on thought leadership agendas focusing on current economic and financial issues.

ACCA seeks to work closely with approved employers for the progression of ACCA trainees in particular and the accountancy profession at large.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Board diversity: is gender the missing link?

Board diversity: is gender the missing link?
Discussion forum by ACCA Pakistan

ACCA Pakistan organised discussion forums board diversity: is gender the missing link? in Lahore and Islamabad.  The panellists of the forum included Mr Arif Masud Mirza, Head of ACCA Pakistan, Mr Khawar Saeed Ansari, Pakistan Corporate Governance Project Manager, IFC Pakistan, Ms Sarwat Aftab, Director International Affairs & Coordination, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Ms Shazia Syed, Executive Director, Unilever Pakistan, Mr Azhar Ali Syed, Managing Director, Tetra Pak Pakistan Limited, Ms Rahat Hassan, Chairperson, Competition Commission of Pakistan, Monis Rehman ,CEO, Naseeb Networks and Ms Shazreh Bano, Gender specialist. The discussions were 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. These discussions 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'.

The key recommendations emanating from the forums included aligned to international best practices introduction of achievable realistic measurable targets for ensuring professional competent women reach boards, making the corporate pipeline deliver by having an enabling organisational and board culture, executive search firms having codes that would compel them to actively search for women nominees for board positions, by having women networks, mentoring women and developing case studies around successful women role models. Cultural and social barriers could be overcome by education and awareness of the business case for women having an equal opportunity for career progression. The revised code of corporate governance by encouraging listed companies to have at least one woman independent director could be the enabling factor for having women on boards.
The participants of the forum were key personals from public practice, corporate and public sector.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011



ACCA Pakistan considers Pakistan's Federal Budget 2011 to be aiming for increasing the tax base by acknowledging the need for rational, fair and equitable taxation. The devolution of certain significant budgetary decisions to provinces last year and with agriculture being a provincial subject, the provincial budgets to be announced shortly would assist in assessment of effective utilisation of the funds. The budgets would also outline provincial education, health, social development priorities for future as well as their willingness to think of out of box revenue raising measures which are extremely essential for socio-economic-entrepreneurial development of the provinces. ACCA suggests that the accountability, transparency and efficient record keeping of funds usage by provinces would benefit from investment in financial reporting, accounting, auditing and financial management skills and knowledge.

With professionalism the theme of public sector reforms around the world, budget acknowledgement of the need for reforms in Pakistan's public sector provides an opportunity for consideration of the need to
seek professional expertise in areas of taxation, auditing, corporate governance, financial reporting and financial management. Similar to last year, the salaries of federal government employees have been
increased. As the perceived outcomes of the salaries increases is improved efficiency, performance and motivation; development and communication of performance measures in annual reports or website
would help taxpayers appreciate the utility of the salary increases and the improvement in services offered to general public. It is of benefit to society, individuals and businesses if there is a clear link between tax take and its pay back benefits.

With the international focus on stakeholder aligned sustainable business model, focused and professional regulations envisaged by the budget should discourage ticking the box approach to regulations and instead focus on simplicity of regulations creating a business culture where probity and openness of business operation and disclosure is rewarded. In context of taxation laws the burden of tax should not fall unfairly on taxpayers who play by the rules and pay their fair share.

In the absence of social welfare schemes for underprivileged population and declining social development funds, poverty alleviation through creating an enterprise friendly taxation and business environment require serious consideration. The translation of the resolve to unleash the potential of youth entrepreneurship in new
creative cities into action is urgently needed given that more than half of our population is under the age of 30 and not all of them are educated or employed. The time taken in the planning and the creation of the creative cities could be utilized by the potential entrepreneurs business management, marketing, social media, accounting, financial management and auditing skills and knowledge building. With water management as a budget priority, tax benefits to water effluent treatment plants and encouragement of carbon credits schemes could have sent a strong message to international buyers and businesses about Pakistan's resolve to environmental stewardship, this may have created a competitive advantage for businesses.

ACCA considers the phasing out of the federal excise duties and the withdrawal of exemptions and concessions as the right step in the direction of simplification of taxation system. The implementation of the resolve to widen the direct tax base by inclusion of a large number of tax payers through strict enforcement is essential for creation of a perceived fair taxation system. Urgently needed enterprise growth would be assisted by increase of tax credit in establishment of listed companies and allowance of BMR expenditure as a deduction. For simplification of tax laws, monthly submission of withholding tax statements and mandatory filing of income tax returns and statements where income is between Rs. 300,000 to Rs.350,000 can be dispensed with. ACCA endorses rationalization of sales tax regime by reduction of general sales tax rate to 16%, withdrawal of certain exemptions and streamlining of procedures.

A budget document is a planning document which is manifestation of a government's annual revenue and expenditure expectations. The public as stakeholders have the right to know how effectively the budgetary forecasts and expectations have been achieved, how transparently the resources allocated to different expenditures have been utilized. The federal budget maker's vision of a fair rational enterprise taxation system would benefit from more accountability, transparency and probity of the budgetary exercise and utilization of funds as well as effective implementation of the budgetary plans and projections.